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How To Keep Moths Away from a Porch Light

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Keeping your porch light on during the evening can create a serene ambiance and enhance the security around your home. However, porch lights can attract a variety of insects, including moths, which can be a nuisance. This comprehensive guide will provide you with practical methods on how to keep moths away from your porch light.


To keep moths away from a porch light, you can switch to LED or yellow “bug” bulbs that are less attractive to moths. You can also use natural insect repellents such as citronella candles or oils, and plants like lavender, peppermint, or lemongrass. Installing a bug zapper or a dense screen can also help. Lastly, consider reducing the amount of light by turning off unnecessary lights or using motion-activated lights.

Why Are Moths Attracted to Porch Lights?

Moths, like many other nocturnal insects, are attracted to porch lights due to a phenomenon known as positive phototaxis. This instinctive behavior draws them towards light sources. The exact reason for this attraction remains unclear, but there are several theories:

  1. Transverse orientation: Moths use celestial bodies like the moon and stars for navigation. Artificial lights can confuse their navigational systems, causing them to spiral towards the light source.
  2. Ultraviolet (UV) sensitivity: Artificial lights, particularly those rich in UV, greatly increase moth attraction.
  3. Disorientation: Bright lights can disrupt moths’ natural ability to use light as a compass, causing them to fly towards the light source.
  4. Visual illusions: Lights create visual illusions of darker areas near their edges, which moths may mistake for safe resting spots.

Effective Methods to Keep Moths Away from Porch Lights

Here are several effective strategies that can help you keep moths away from your porch lights:

Change the Light Bulb

Switching to LED or yellow “bug” bulbs can significantly reduce moth attraction. These bulbs emit warm hues that are less visible to bugs, making them less attractive.

Use Citronella Candles or Oils

Citronella is a natural insect repellent. Lighting citronella candles around your porch area or applying citronella oil to the porch light when it’s turned off can help deter moths.

Install a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers emit ultraviolet light that attracts insects, including moths, and kills them upon contact. While this method may not be the most humane, it can be quite effective if moth infestation is a significant problem.

Natural Repellents

Natural repellents such as lavender, peppermint, cedar oil, lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme can deter moths. Place these plants around your porch or apply their essential oils to your porch light when it’s turned off.

Adjust Outdoor Lighting

Reducing the amount of light can help minimize the number of moths attracted to your porch. You can turn off any lights you’re not using or consider using motion-activated lights that only turn on when needed.

Install a Dense Screen

A dense screen can provide a physical barrier to keep moths and other insects away from your porch light.


Keeping moths away from your porch light can be achieved through a combination of various methods. While some methods may be more effective than others, what’s crucial is finding the strategy that works best for your situation. Remember, reducing the number of moths attracted to your porch light not only makes your outdoor space more enjoyable but also helps maintain the local moth population and the overall ecosystem balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are other insects attracted to porch lights?

Besides moths, many other insects are attracted to porch lights, such as mosquitoes, beetles, and flying ants. This is due to the same phenomenon of positive phototaxis that attracts moths.

How does a bug zapper work?

A bug zapper works by emitting ultraviolet light that attracts insects. When the insects come into contact with the electric grid inside the zapper, they are electrocuted and killed.

Are there any other types of lights I can use to deter moths?

In addition to LED and yellow “bug” bulbs, sodium vapor lights and lights with a pink, yellow, or orange tint can also be less attractive to moths and other insects.

Are there any potential drawbacks to using a bug zapper?

While bug zappers can be effective at killing moths and other insects, they can also kill beneficial insects and disrupt the local ecosystem. Furthermore, they can be a source of noise and may not be suitable for all settings.

Can I use any other natural repellents apart from the ones mentioned?

Yes, besides lavender, peppermint, cedar oil, lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme, other natural repellents include geranium, clove, and citronella. These can be used in the form of plants or essential oils applied to the porch light when it’s turned off.

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