How to Keep Bugs Away from Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting can be a beautiful and valuable addition to your home. Not only will it accentuate the unique features of your house and garden, but it can extend your living space to the outdoors. With winters seeming to get longer and the summer months getting shorter, it’s important to take advantage of the beautiful weather by stretching the hours you can spend outside. Unfortunately, in the summer outdoor lights draw insects, and who wants to keep shooing moths away instead of enjoying a cool drink and a warm breeze?
Good news! There are ways you can minimize the effect your landscape lighting has on these pesky bugs.
Bugs swarming around your outdoor residential lighting can be quite annoying when you’re trying to enjoy a quiet night on your porch or deck. There is no concrete reason as to why bugs fly right into lights, but the common theory is that bugs tend to be attracted to the brightest light in the sky, like the moon, but now modern outdoor lights confuse them. This poses an irritating and persistent problem. Rather than turn the lights off or poison yourself with bug killer, depend on Nite Time Decor to make lights less appealing to buggy visitors.
Luckily, there are ways to keep insects away from your landscape lighting. Read on to learn about what kinds of bugs will be attracted to your landscape lighting and how to choose lighting options that will minimize insect infestation.
What Kinds of Insects?
This is a brief list of the types of insects that will be attracted to your lights. Keep in mind that there are far too many to be listed here.
Unfortunately, with bugs come other pests as well. This infestation of bugs may seem like an annoyance to you, but to spiders, bats, toads, and other creatures a proliferation of insects equals a feast! To avoid a full on infestation, increase the cleaning frequency of the lanterns in your landscape lighting maintenance routine. This will help prevent these creatures from coming around more often.
Why Are Bugs Attracted to Lights?
Though different insects are attracted to lights for different reasons, here are some of the most common (though not necessarily scientifically accurate) theories:
a. Unnatural light interferes with an insect’s ability to navigate
This theory suggests that nocturnal insects, such as moths, use light sources like the stars and moon to navigate by aligning themselves at a certain angle relative to the source. Because unnatural light sources like lightbulbs are stationary and closer than the moon, the angle changes, so it’s difficult for the moth to keep itself on course.
b. Bugs think lights are food
Insects seem to be attracted to ultraviolet lights and certain flowers (food source) emit UV light.
c. Insects think a light means the path is clear
Some insects think that the light means their flight path is unobstructed. This could explain why certain bugs seem to purposefully fly right into a sizzling hot light bulb.
Why Do Insects Love Landscape Lighting?
While it is different for every species, there are a few theories. For some bugs, the bright light acts as an emergency signal. They fly towards it, rather than into the darkness, as an act of safety.
Other bugs use natural lights as a navigational source, which forces them to be confused by artificial lighting. As long as the light is far away, such as the moon or the sun, the light can be used to guide them. As soon as the insect gets close to the light, they become confused. This is why you see moths fluttering around your Burlington landscape lighting aimlessly.
Some insects may become night-blind. Their eyes have multiple lenses that don’t always adjust to the dark properly, which causes a dangerous situation if predators are near.
Here are our top 5 Tips to keep bugs away:
Change the Location of Your Landscape Lights
This one is fairly basic, but you can do things such as switching to spotlights and putting them away from where the bugs will annoy you. Consult with our residential outdoor lighting service to ensure that no matter where lights get moved, the illumination will still shine in an appropriate area.
Have Our Outdoor Lighting Experts Install Motion Lights
Installing motion lights may do the trick. Have Nite Time Decor install motion lights but put the sensor away from the lights. Just be sure that the area you want to light up gets lit! This way you, and not the bugs, will trigger your Oakville residential lighting to turn on.
Change the Light Bulbs in your Landscape Lights
Bugs tend to see very well in ultra-violet light – far better than we can. Thus they are naturally drawn to these types of lights. To keep the bugs away, try and avoid installing lights in the cooler light spectrum. Trying switching to a warmer, yellower light. Insects don’t see nearly as well in the yellow to infra-red spectrum. Since they can’t see yellow lights as much, they won’t be as drawn to them. It’s important to note that this won’t actively repel the bugs, but it will certainly reduce the traffic flow around your lights, especially if you have a persistent problem with May beetles, June bugs and moths.
Warm Colours Deters Insects
Warm light colours such as red, orange and yellow have the highest wavelengths. So naturally, you’ll want to use warm coloured bulbs in your outdoor lighting design in order to deter large swarms of bugs and insects. Yellow compact florescent bulbs, sodium vapour bulbs and halogen bulbs are lighting options that tend to decrease bug and insect activity.
LED Lights Keeps Bugs Away
LED lights are another great outdoor lighting option for keeping bugs away, as they emit little to no ultraviolet (UV) light. Insects and bugs are able to detect UV light, so having bulbs that emit no light and no heat will help keep bugs away. When it comes to LED lights, the lower the Kelvin (K) temperature, the more yellow the light will appear.
Be careful when it comes to incorporating large or low quality LED lights into your lighting design, as once the temperature reaches about 6,000 Kelvins, the LED will start to emit a blue tint that bugs and insects will pick up on.
Make Smart Purchases
Knowing which bulbs to use in your outdoor lighting fixtures will go a long way in keeping bugs and insects away from your illuminated outdoor space, but sometimes a good price may be hard to pass up. Just remember when shopping for new bulbs for your landscape lighting design that the cheapest option may not always be the best one. That’s not to say you can’t find reasonably priced warm-coloured bulbs and LED lights, but it’s important to think about how the lights you purchase will contribute to, or take away from, the overall look of your outdoor space.
Adjust your Landscape Lighting Timing
Timing is everything! When planning your landscape lighting maintenance, it is a good idea to make sure that you set your lights to turn on about one hour after sundown. There are some bugs that fly at dusk only, and you want to prevent them sticking around your lights when night falls.
Other Useful Lighting Accessories
While any of these alone will not do the trick, they can certainly help:
Citronella candles: mosquitoes dislike the smell of citronella.
Paint your porch ceiling a light blue: the colour may help keep wasps, mosquitoes and other flying insects away.
Ceiling fans: these can be a deterrent to flying bugs. Install them above your porch or balcony.
Bug zappers: these come in both electric and solar models. They can be a bit noisy and if you get an electric model, you’ll need to pay to keep it running. Put them in an area where you don’t sit frequently to reduce the noise and potentially the traffic flow.
When it comes to bugs and insects, there is no way to keep them away 100 per cent of the time. If one insect picks up on a light, others tend to follow in the same direction. But taking steps to minimize bug presence will certainly get you closer to having a less bugs in your outdoor space. For more tips on keeping bugs away read “How to Keep Mosquitoes Away at Night“. And if you care about insects, read this study on which outdoor lighting minimizes harm to insects.
Contact Nite Time Decor, We can Help!
For more information on outdoor lighting design and how to use the right bulbs in your outdoor space, contact one of our Nite Time Decor lighting design experts today! We serve homes and businesses throughout Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville, Halton and Hamilton, Ontario.