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Flying Bugs on your Night Vision Camera? Here’s How to Stop Creepy-Crawlies Triggering your Security Cameras

Motion detection is a great aid in making our security cameras more useful and efficient. That is, until it isn’t.

If you’ve noticed bugs swarming your security camera, there’s a very probable chance that the light emitted by your camera is attracting insects. This can make motion detection effectively useless, as the bugs falsely trigger the camera to start recording.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help stop false start recordings and prevent other issues caused by insects: read on to learn how to stop bugs from triggering motion cameras and more.

Do Night Vision Cameras Attract Bugs?

It’s easy to spot swarms of moths and midges gathering at lamp posts and other light sources, but are insects attracted to infrared light?

Of course, it can still prove to be a big hindrance to the overall effectiveness of your security cameras. You’ll notice small red lights from the LED either around the lens or inside it on many camera models, which also creates more than sufficient visible light to attract insects.

Credit: Tom Fort

How to Stop Bugs from Triggering Motion Cameras

One of the major problems afflicting night vision, bugs will naturally gravitate towards the infrared and visible light emitted by your outdoor security camera, especially if there’s no other sources of light nearby.

Here’s some effective ways to combat the problem, saving your cloud storage, SD cards, and smartphone notification center’s the burden of constant nightly activations caused by motion detection.

Bug Zappers

Bug zappers are a very effective way to kill bugs and they work on the premise of light attracting them. Emitting a very strong UV light makes insects instinctively flock to them; upon making contact, they are electrocuted and die instantly. 

A GOOTOP Mosquito zapper
A GOOTOP Mosquito zapper, available on Amazon from $35.99. (Image via Amazon)

Insect Repellent

Although insect repellents are usually sold as sprays and roll-ons for the body, they can also be effective when put on objects. With caution, you can spray a light coating of insect repellent on the camera itself, but be sure to cover up the lens and any gaps that could result in the circuitry becoming wet or damaged. 

Superband mosquito repellants, which can be placed around cameras or mounts to repel insects.
Superband mosquito repellants, which can be placed around cameras or mounts to repel insects. Available on Amazon.

Outdoor Lighting

Insects are attracted to forms of UV light far more than infrared because the sun and moon are sources of it. You may have heard of the rather tragic anecdote that moths believe the incandescent lights they can frequently be found by are actually the moon. 

Adjust Detection Zones

There’s a chance you may be able to prevent false recording starts by making some simple adjustments to your camera’s settings. Many motion detection cameras now allow for ‘zones’ to be altered, usually through their corresponding app that’s been downloaded to a screen device. 

How this is customizable will differ depending on the manufacturer; some cameras may allow you to select the exact pixels in the frame that you want to be included, while others will allow for smaller objects to be ignored. The latter is more useful, because bugs will try to get as close as possible to the light source, meaning they will dominate the frame.

Other Issues Bugs Create

Yes, they really are that much of a nuisance when it comes to security camera usage that bugs can cause a range of other issues. Here are the most common, and what to do about them.

Dirty Lenses

The repeated appearance of insects around your camera will eventually take its toll on the lens. As you test out different ways of dealing with the issue, we recommend weekly cleaning of the camera to avoid the image becoming significantly degraded by dead bugs, pollen, and other debris brought onto the lens by the flying bugs.

Moths and insects flying around a light globe

Wet a cloth or paper towel and ring out the water and use it to gently wipe the lens. Make sure the power is off if it is hardwired, or otherwise that the batteries are removed. For thicker grime and gunk, alcohol wipes will be more effective at removing tougher smudges.  

Spider Webs

Unlike the winged creatures that they call dinner, there’s no evidence to suggest spiders are attracted to light of any kind. In fact, they tend to seek out darker spaces. But where prey is, so too are hunters, meaning you may notice spiders starting to make webs around your camera if other bugs are gathering there at night. How can you stop spiders making webs on CCTV cameras?

Credit: Kam Abbot

We’d advise leaving webs for the most part because spiders are a good way to naturally reduce the population of flies. However, if the web is over the lens, this can obscure the image picked up by your camera. Insecticide may be required in this instance, but it won’t necessarily solve the problem. Try smearing a lubricant (Vaseline, for instance) on or around the camera and its mounting area to prevent webs being formed in the first place.

Wasps

Again, insecticide sprayed around the camera is a good idea, as is hanging a flea collar for pets around the base of the camera. But the repeated appearance of wasps is highly indicative of a nest being nearby. This will require professional pest control services to safely remove.

Conclusion

If you’ve experienced it yourself, you’ll no doubt agree that flying bugs on your night vision camera are among the biggest grievances faced by modern security cameras, which are now increasingly reliant on motion detection to save memory and be more practical for home usage.

Thankfully, the issues they pose can be solved by taking practical measures to prevent and remove insects, and it always helps to have a keenness for camera maintenance in general.