Keep Outdoor Moths Away

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated July 26, 2008)

6

Outdoor moths can be more than a mere nuisance at night, hurling themselves against your patio porch light, and disrupting a summer night's outdoor party. While some moths are simply an annoyance, other species, such as the gypsy moth are destructive. Gypsy moths can strip trees completely of their foliage in one season, with their larvae boring into the wood, killing entire groves of trees over several seasons. In fact, the gypsy moth is now categorized as the worst pest to endanger hardwood in the eastern United States. Follow these guidelines to rid your yard of annoying moths, and eradicate your landscape of the destructive variety of moths:

  • Use yellow light bulbs instead of standard white bulbs in your outdoor light fixtures. Since moths seek the brightest light, they will fly to a neighbor's white bulb, leaving your yellow ones alone.
  • Use citronella oil, applying it to your outdoor lights during the day. By nightfall, the oil will have dried, and when you turn on the lights the citronella oil will heat as the lamp heats, keeping moths, as well as other insects, at bay. To be effective, citronella oil must be applied nearly each day during moth season. You can also light citronella candles and place them around your deck or patio.

If moths are severe, destructive to your trees, and utterly annoying, you may opt to kill them as they circulate around a porch or patio light. Follow these steps to kill moths:

  1. Set a dinner plate on an overturned bucket, or other platform high enough to sit directly underneath the porch light.
  2. Fill the plate with as much water as possible, and then squeeze dishwashing liquid into the water. The purpose of the soap is to enhance the reflective properties of the water, thus attracting more moths, so do not mix the soap with the water.
  3. Turn off all other lights at night except the one you've chosen to reflect into the plate of soap water. Since the plate's reflection is larger than the lamp's reflection, the moths will land on the plate, will become mired in the soap, and then drown.
  4. If you notice that gypsy moths have taken up residence in your trees with their tell-tale bag-like nests, you can contact your local cooperative extension for directions on how to chemically treat those areas, or find out if your area will be chemically treated for the pest by aerial treatment.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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Comments

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What is three more than 5?

2017-07-13 15:56:16

Linda

Are you meaning citronella torch oil? to apply to the light bulb?


2017-05-29 06:57:07

Pj

Tie a plastic bag near the light source thw moths will enter and wont be able to get out... Give it a try works amazingly.


2016-08-30 21:47:32

Deb

We have replaced the white outdoor lights with yellow. Unfortunately it has not rid moths, and or any other bugs. I have just hung out a bag of moth balls to see if that will help


2015-07-22 10:57:24

Mary Ann

I have same problem as Jan in Plymouth, MA. Hundreds of moths, eggs and larvae on trees.


2015-06-22 09:02:01

Jan

We live in FL and have a screened pool enclosure. We also have a grassy area so the dogs don't have to go outside the screened area. Lately, we have hundreds of moths in this area all the time. It seems impossible to get rid of them. Any tips on getting rid of these pests? We bought a bug zapper, but it doesn't seem to have much effect.


2015-04-20 06:17:11

Me

Citronella candles do nothing to deter moths from coming around. Ive lit them & had it actually attract MORE moths.