Outdoor Lighting – Keeping Insects Away

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.

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.
So, What Can Be Done to Keep Insects Away?
There are a few ways to minimize inviting insects to your party:

1. Decrease Ultraviolet Output

If indeed it is the UV that attracts the bugs, consider using LED lights. While they produce a small amount of UV radiation, they emit less than traditional bulbs.

2. Reduce Bulb Wattage

Bright lights seem to draw more insects, so installing a bulb with a lower wattage and therefore a softer light may help. If you do need a bright light, like in a security light, for instance, ensure you don’t place a seating area within the light’s reach.

3. Turn Your Lights On Later

While not ideal if you’re having a party, having your landscape lighting turn on at least one hour after sunset may decrease how many bugs are attracted to the lights. There are some insects that only come out at dusk, so turning them on later may alleviate some swarms.

4. Proper Light Position

Try to make the swath of your outdoor or landscape lighting as narrow as possible, highlighting only what needs to be highlighted. The more light is emitted, the more bugs it will attract.
Following these tips will help to minimize huge swarms of bugs, but unfortunately not completely eliminate them. The professionals at Nite Time Décor will help you position your landscape lighting properly to ensure you are able to make the most of yard.