If you think pest infestations are limited to the daytime, think again. Your indoor, porch, or patio lights attract lots of bugs— requiring you to get rid of them to enjoy your dinner and family time.
What is it about lights that make bugs want to hang around? The answer to this question holds the key to getting rid of them.
This article looks at the different bugs that get attracted to light and how you can control them to lessen the disturbance they bring with them. Keep reading.
Insect Types Attracted To Light
There are various insects in the ecosystem, but not all are attracted by light.
The moth is the most notorious insect on the list; however, several others also don’t mind hovering around your porch lights, such as
- Beetles- Both Flying and Non-Flying types
- Mosquito hawks
- Flying ants
Identifying these insects will help you know what bugs you’re dealing with in your home and how you can control them.
Why Are Bugs Attracted to Light?
Entomologists (insect scientists) have fronted several theories to explain why insects are attracted to light. For starters, insects flock towards the light, searching for food and a warm environment.
The science of organisms responding to light with motion is called phototaxis. Organisms can be positively or negatively phototactic.
When an organism is positively phototactic, it will move towards light or the direction the light is coming from.
On the flip side, negatively phototactic organisms run away from light. A good example here is the roaches which scamper for darkness when you switch on the lights.
For positively phototaxis insects, the common theory admitted is artificial light sources interfere with their internal navigation system.
For instance, insects like the moth would use natural light from the moon for navigation. The insects will align at a certain angle relative to the distant light source— a behavior scientists call transverse orientation.
Artificial light interferes with the navigation system of moths, changing their trajectory so that they fly closer to it.
The theory is surrounded by controversy, though, considering the existence of artificial light sources like campfires that would have wiped them off.
Unobstructed Light Theory
This theory suggests that insects can follow an unobstructed light source which indicates a clear path compared to paths with obstacles.
Female Moth Pheromone Theory
There is one more theory on insects and their attraction to light. This was postulated by a team of entomologists in the 1970s. The theory suggests that male moths mistake some light sources for female moths.
Surprisingly, it was confirmed that the infrared light spectrum produced by candlelight had similarities in frequency to the light produced by female moth pheromones.
The scientific research behind the information had made a previous discovery on pheromones that found they were weakly luminescent.
Summing up, the bugs cannot be blamed because the artificial lighting in your home is emitting photons that attract them.
Do You Have Other Insect Attractants In Your House?
Even though the light is our focus point today, there could be potential insect attractants in your house that make them flock over your light bulbs in the evening.
Houseplants have a penchant for housing bugs and insects of all kinds, which then navigate to your light bulbs once you switch them on in the evening. Many different bugs live on houseplants, such as tiny mites and the whitefly.
Should this be the case, consider getting rid of the bugs in your houseplants first.
Pets like dogs and cats that constantly move in and out provide an easy ride to insects inside the house.
Their fur is where these pesky insects usually hide.
Openings Around Doors And Windows Of The House
Small openings and cracks around your doors and windows let the bugs into your house. Check out the following pathways and fix them accordingly:
- Cracks around the foundation of your house
- Ripped patio door
- Caulk damage
- Common gaps and crevices
Bugs breed pretty fast once they find a conducive environment and could prove challenging to eliminate. Thus, you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
How To Get Rid of Bugs Attracted To Light?
We share some tips below to help you eliminate these pesky insects attracted to the light on your property.
You can use these methods standalone or in combination.
- Yellow or LED light bulbs
- Citronella candles
- Bug Zappers
- Incense sticks
- Soap And Sugar
- Garlic Repellant
- Remove organic matter
- Insect Mesh or Screen
- Insect repellents
- Tinted House Windows
- Light bait
We look at each of the methods mentioned above deeper.
1. Use Yellow Light Bulbs or LED Lights
The brightness of light bulbs usually attracts these pesky pests to your patio or living room. Turn them around with yellow light bulbs or LED lights.
These are less bright and attract fewer insects. In fact, using them helps conserve many insect species since many perish early by moving close to the traditionally used incandescent bulbs.
However, be mindful that LED lights cost a little more than the yellow and white bulbs. If you want to save money, you can cover your existing light bulbs with yellow cellophane.
2. Light Citronella Candles
Citronella candles have effective anti-bug properties. You can light them near your porch lights or bulbs the bugs love to circle.
The candle produces an aroma that masks human scents that the insects are attracted to. You should light the candles indoors, preferably because they deplete fast under windy conditions on the patio.
However, if you must hang out on your patio and the bugs are a menace, use the triple wick citronella candle. It can last up to 50 hours before depleting.
There are other equally effective products in the market which you could try, such as Geraniol and Linalool candles.
3. Eliminate Bugs With Bug Zappers
Bug zappers are handy in eliminating small bugs hovering around your patio lights. Install them at strategic places to have the maximum impact.
You also have the option of using the zappers indoors. Go for the silent types that make less noise.
Some bug zappers are portable and can be used around campfires.
4. Use Incense Sticks Indoors
Incense sticks release fumes that repel insects when burned. We advise using them indoors since they burn pretty fast outdoors.
Besides, the fumes have a lesser effect due to being carried away by the wind.
You could go for herb-based incense sticks, like rosemary. Besides repelling bugs, they are pretty safe and leave your house with a sweet-smelling fragrance.
5. Use A Sugar Solution To Trap The Bugs
A soapy solution kept in a shallow bowl lined with sugar can help you trap the bugs effectively. You need to keep it around spots frequented by them, such as your house plants and porch lights.
The bugs, once trapped, will find it difficult to escape owing to the stickiness of the soap.
6. Repel The Bugs With Garlic
Garlic can repel most flying insects, including the ones attracted to light. Prepare a solution using the instructions below and spray it on light covers for effectiveness.
To prepare the garlic solution, mix garlic juice and water in a ratio of 1:6. The amount will depend on the size or area of the light bulbs you want to spray.
Be careful while spraying so that you don’t end up causing an electrical hazard. Garlic solution keeps the bug away, but its potency dissipates over time.
Be on the lookout to see whether the bugs have begun hovering around your lights in large numbers. If that’s the case, it’s a signal the solution sprayed earlier is no longer effective, and you need to spray once again.
7. Get Rid of Organic Matter Near Your Patio Lights
Organic matter serves as an attractant to insects hovering around your deck or patio. This includes litter, compost, debris, or grass clippings.
It also serves as a breeding ground for the pests, leading to an uncontrollable population waiting to infest your house once the eggs hatch.
Clean up your yard regularly to avoid this situation.
8. Use Insect Screens
Some patios are uncovered, allowing insects an easy entry. The solution to this is to create tightly woven barriers.
For instance, a fine wire mesh works quite well against common pests such as moth flies. You could also go for the more expensive motorized retractable screens.
You want to combine this with other methods mentioned above, such as candle lighting and yellow lights.
9. Spray Insect Repellent Around Dusk
If the methods mentioned aren’t working yet, you can go for an insect repellent to eliminate the bugs. Insecticides are typically found in licensed dealer outlets within your locality.
They are better placed to advise you on what insecticides work best to eliminate the bugs.
10. Tint Your House Windows
Tinted house windows make bright white lights from a lamp or bulb appear dim, thus reducing their attraction to insects.
These help keep off the bugs around your patio or attract only a handful.
11. Use A False Bait
Another way to dispose of the irritating bugs is to lure them away smartly. They are attracted to light— use a different light source as bait to have them leave your house or patio.
Ideally, you should set this up at quite a distance from your house or porch. Use a solar-powered light source to save on energy and avoid disrupting your house’s electrical system.
Lights in your house or patio attract several insects, including the moth, fireflies, wasps, beetles, and flying ants. Several scientific theories have been postulated to explain the attraction, but some have drawn skepticism.
Whatever be the reason, these insects are pesky and will disrupt your peace time. Hopefully, the tips outlined above should help you get rid of them.