What to do if your Porch Light Attracts Bugs


We’ve all done the race before. You arrive home at nighttime. The porch light is on, how nice! But, there’s something standing between you and the warmth of your home: A cloud of moths and bugs swarming your porch light. It’s horrifying!

No one wants to let a throng of buzzing insects into the comforts of a home. But keeping the light off is not necessarily the right solution since a porch light has several safety benefits. So, what’s a person to do? You came to the right place to find out.

Let’s start with understanding the problem in the first place. First, know that those bugs don’t want to be there any more than you want them to be. Rather, the bugs are sort of stuck, their navigational tools become confused by the bright lights. You see, many flying insects orient themselves in the world by using the sun and the moon to guide themselves while they fly from place to place.

When a porch light is on in the darkness of the night, the light mimics the sun and/or moon. But since it’s much closer than the sun, the bugs are drawn to it, and then they can’t get far enough away to reorient themselves. So they end up flying and spinning around in circles. The longer the light is on, the more bugs are drawn to it and more get stuck.

Now that we understand the issue, it’s possible to come up with a solution. Of course, the easiest things would be to take the bulb out of the socket and everyone can fly on their merry way. But since porch lights keep the front area safe and deter criminals, that might not be the best option for every household.

Another option is to change the bulb to one that attracts fewer bugs.

Since bugs are attracted to the light’s qualities that imitate the sun, it makes sense to find a bulb that is unlike the sun.

Therefore, look for low-heat bulbs. All lights are going to give off at least some heat in the form of ultraviolet radiation, which feels like the sun to little bugs. But in recent decades, lightbulbs have come a long way and now there is a wide range of options now available. LED lights give small amounts of heat, while incandescent lights of the past emit (very wastefully) around 90 percent of the energy they consume in the form of heat.

In other words, incandescent lights attract more bugs and are no longer the best option available for porch lights.

Another thing to consider is that bugs are more attracted to “cool” light than “warm” light. This has nothing to do with the point above, in that it’s not how much heat a light emits. Rather, it’s where the light falls on the colour spectrum.

Bugs and insects tend to be drawn to lights on the blue to purple end of the light spectrum, and less attracted to lights that land on the red to yellow spectrums.

Research shows then that the best possible porch light to dissuade bugs are energy-efficient LED bulb that emit “warm” colours like yellow, orange, and red. Be sure to avoid white LED bulbs for porch light. And in most, cases, the benefits of LED lights will outweigh the older incandescent models.

All this said, bugs will be bugs and no matter the precautions you take, insects might still find themselves caught in the bulb’s glow—disoriented, confused and unable to break away from the porch light. Sometimes, we just can’t beat nature.

If you live in Surrey or the Lower Mainland and have questions about your porch lighting, feel free to give us a call. We’ll help light the way.