Do Outdoor Lights Attract Bugs Or Other Animals?

Have you ever tried standing in front of a building or hanging around a door front that has outdoor lighting, at night? You may not be able to enjoy a night outside your porch or balcony without the outdoor lights on because of all the bugs, but you can control the swarm of bugs by using the right lights and taking a few simple precautions.

Outdoor lights attract bugs, and the bugs attract predators like bats, snakes, and spiders. You can try replacing your incandescent lights with LEDs for fewer bugs, and they’re less attracted to red, yellow, and orange bulbs. Screening in a porch can prevent any bugs swarming the enclosed lights.

Outdoor lights have their pros and cons. Safety and security are significant pros, but having the ability to draw insects and certain animals towards their brightness is a major turn-off. Read on to find out more about what to expect when you put in outdoor lightning, what animals will be drawn to them and how you can handle it.

Will My Outdoor Lights Attract Bugs Like Mosquitoes And Termites?

Termite queen flying at the bright lights

Not all bugs are attracted to light. However, some insects like mosquitoes, gnats, moths, and termites are. It’s thought that they’re drawn to wavelengths and heat from outdoor lights, although scientists haven’t determined a specific cause.

The heat from regular luminous bulbs with glowing filaments is more inviting to bugs than that of LED lights. This is because the latter doesn’t provide as much heat.

Furthermore, when you turn on a lamp, the area around the lamp draws the insects in because they sense the presence of food or a suitable place for them to breed.

Try LED lights

You may want to try LED lights if you want to change your outdoor lights from your regular ones. As mentioned earlier, they aren’t costly and don’t use much energy.

Getting them at first may be a bit expensive. Still, eventually, the less energy they take up helps save you from excess energy bills, unlike the regular fluorescent and halogen bulbs.

Bright white light or the ones with a shade of blue are most likely going to be surrounded by insects in no time, as they are the most attractive. On the other hand, red, yellow, and orange bulbs are highly unattractive to bugs.

If you want to purchase something not too bright or another option different from LED light, you can try these. You could even call a lighting professional to help you make the best choice for repelling bugs like termites and mosquitoes.

Other outdoor lights that don’t attract bugs include solar-powered outdoor lights and motion sensor lights. The former, as the name implies, are powered by solar energy and don’t need any electricity while the latter automatically turns on when it detects movement nearby.

Do Outdoor Lights Attract Spiders?

Spiders themselves are not attracted to light. Instead, they are attracted to the bugs that fly around the light. So you may still find spiders in areas of your yard with outdoor lights.

This is especially common during the fall because more bugs are out during this period, which implies that more spiders will be out for food.

Leaving your outdoor lights on either during the day or night would attract bugs to your screens and windows. This may lead them to access your home through any crack or space they can fit into. Spiders won’t be far behind the bugs, as they follow wherever their meal goes.

Another case that could attract spiders is piled junk. It was mentioned earlier that lights attract bugs and bugs attract spiders, but when spiders see a pile of garbage like papers, trash, or discarded metals in the direction of your outdoor lights, they’ve found the perfect spot to hide.

To be on the safe side, you could switch off your outdoor lights at night, get rid of all trash both within and outside your building, and seal up all cracks and tiny spaces that may seem appealing to insects.  

Do Outdoor Lights Attract Snakes?

Like spiders, snakes are attracted to insects, and animals (birds) are attracted to the lights. The light itself doesn’t bother snakes, but if you constantly have an army of bugs and birds around your light, you might find a snake joining the party.

These creatures serve as food for snakes, and snakes go wherever they can find food. Outdoor lights are not attractive to snakes, but if their food is in that direction, you’ll indeed find them there. The reptiles are fans of water and crowded spaces, which means you can find them in your backyard or fences. So when your outdoor lights go on, they have a better angle for hunting.

You may be thinking that your outdoor light could work as a repellent for snakes, but you’re mistaken. All reptiles, snakes included, do not fancy artificial lighting, and most times, they may mistake the light for prey.

This is why you need to reduce the likelihood of snakes finding a place to hide wherever your outdoor light is. You can do this by keeping your lawn leveled, taking care of garbage, or you could use reptile repellants in your yard.

Do Outdoor Lights Attract Animals Like Bears or Raccoons?

Swarm of insects attracted to a street light

Not likely. Lights often deter animals such as raccoons and bears because they get confused or scared by sudden lights. If the light is shining on food that’s been thrown in the yard, that might attract the mammals.

For bears, being attracted to light sometimes depends on the previous experience they’ve had with it.

Long ago, fire was used to keep animals, especially the dangerous ones, away. Now, lights serve the same purpose.

Bears and raccoons do exist in the woods close to suburban areas, but they stay clear of any well-lit areas because they feel exposed.   

Small mammals like raccoons can be found in urban areas, so there are lots of outdoor lights in such areas. If you want to keep any animal away from your outdoor lights, you should install motion-activated lights.

Outdoor lights don’t harm the creatures. It only exposes and scares them away. You could also look for ways to limit the presence of bugs caused by outdoor lights and try to get rid of any food/remnants surrounding your exteriors.

Larger mammals like bears are not easily scared of outdoor lights as they adapt quickly to stimuli such as lights, provided that they get no adverse effects from such exposure. Like smaller mammals, motion-activated outdoor lights work perfectly in scaring these animals. Although, you don’t need to leave them overnight to save your money and prevent light pollution.

The primary thing to note is to get rid of all food sources that may be around your outdoor lights. Having food in your yard with the outdoor lights shining down on that food, be sure to expect animals like bears or raccoons coming into your yard. And always remember that larger animals don’t scare easily, unlike the smaller ones.

Do Outdoor Lights Attract Bats?

Bats usually feed at night since they are nocturnal. They feed on bugs that are generally attracted to outdoor lights. Having outdoor lights on all through the night will make hunting easier for the bats and draw them towards the bugs that are by your outdoor lights.

Those who live close to vegetation or the woods will have to get used to flying bats at night. If you’re one of them and you don’t fancy bats coming close to your house, then you can install anti-bats outdoor lights as this will keep the bats away.

The type of outdoor lights that are perfect for scaring bats away is the ones that give off ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays are harmful to bats’ eyesight, and you can get such rays in LED lights, not the regular fluorescent ones.

Such bulbs must have the right features to produce only detectable wavelengths of light. Despite being sensitive to such lighting, there’s still the possibility of the bats hunting for the bugs that are attracted to your ultraviolet ray-producing outdoor lights.

Final Thoughts

Generally, light attracts animals, directly or indirectly. While some animals, particularly insects, are attracted to the outdoor light itself, other animals couldn’t care less – they’re only interested in their next meal (bugs). Other animals don’t even bother going near the lights.

Thankfully, we’ve stated what you need to do if you don’t want to deal with bugs and other animals that get drawn to your outdoor light.

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