If your outdoor security camera is experiencing more than a few false triggers at nighttime, we’re happy to report it probably isn’t ghosts that are responsible. Actually, it may be an even more frightening deviant if you haven’t much affinity for them: bugs.
1. Sticky Fingers
If you aren’t one to shy from lethal methods of bug control, sometimes the conventional, store bought methods do the trick.
Sticky traps can be placed near the camera if you find spiders keep setting up shop right on top of your device, while bug zappers are a popular way of maintaining order in the garden. Just be aware of energy consumption.
‘Sticky traps, bug zappers, or a fan blowing at the camera can also help.’One Internet User
If you’re looking for lethal methods to take care of bugs, check out the staples recommended by @hauz.and.co
Various herbs are associated with repelling bugs, although it seems to be rather specific, meaning a combination of multiple herbs might work best if you aren’t entirely sure what species is responsible for your security camera issues.
You could try planting basil plants to deal with mosquitoes, for example, and lavender to get rid of moths and fleas (though attracting bees in the process, so be wise about placement). If you haven’t the space or the energy to keep plants, you could instead try hanging up the herbs near the camera.
‘Basil repels mosquitos [sic] and flies, lavender repels moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitos, oregano repels a lot too.’One internet user
3. Garlic juice
Following the same logic as herb and citronella-based solutions (see below), garlic juice can be used as a non-lethal means of bug control that doesn’t indiscriminately wipe out entire insect populations.
Reapply when you no longer notice the scent, and use gloves if you don’t want your fingers reeking for days on end!
‘No lie, I wrote about this magic liquid recently here. One of the unintended side effects is my cameras don’t [sic] have many bugs around them anymore.’Evroccck
Citronella oil has long been associated with bug control, though its status as a repellent is largely based on word-of-mouth rather than hard science. It’s made from two grass varieties and has a pleasant, lemony-grassy scent.
‘Other ideas would be to put a citronella plant or other plant that repels bugs near the camera.’One Internet User
Budding chemists can concoct their own natural repellent, as detailed by TikTok user @redsremedies.
5. Peppermint Oil
Corners are useful vantage points for surveillance, but they also seem to be prime real estate in the arachnid world. Avoid having to destroy spider homes by making a mixture of several drops of peppermint oil, water, and a little dish soap. Spray to the areas you want covered and reapply every week (more if you notice spiders returning).
‘Can confirm peppermint oil works pretty well too.’johnminadeo
Among the potentially more controversial methods of repelling creepy crawlies is using a mixture of bleach and water–controversial because bleach can be very irritating to the skin, causes an unpleasant smell, and could potentially discolor whatever it touches.
‘I use a mixture of bleach and water that I squirt on a rag and rub around where the camera mount meets the house. It’s decently effective.’BigMu1952
7. IR illuminator
These are infrared bulbs, which can attract insects in the dark (we’re looking at you, moths). If your camera’s settings have the option, try turning off the camera’s infrared and instead setting up an IR illuminator for night time use. The insects may instead gravitate towards the illuminator rather than the camera.
‘You can get an IR illuminator and turn the ones on the cams off, and you won’t have that issue.’TheVulkanMan
8. Venus Fly Traps
As it turns out, nature itself isn’t always a fan of insects, and so we can occasionally turn to it for solutions. Carnivorous plants (plants that trap and consume flies and other living creatures) can be a great way to minimize and discourage bug populations from gathering near your security camera.
You’ll probably be familiar with the venus fly trap, a morbidly entertaining plant that enjoys sucking up all sorts of winged menaces, but there’s actually hundreds of species of carnivorous plants that you can keep. Some also happen to be quite attractive in both indoor and outdoor spaces!
Venus fly traps are among the smallest of carnivorous plants, so you might want to choose a larger one for outside. Here’s a particularly aggressive one from @katrinakellylufc
Do night vision cameras attract bugs?
Yes, night vision cameras can attract bugs. Most night vision relies on infrared bulbs, which will attract insects in the dark.
How do I keep spiders out of my infrared camera?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that peppermint oil is a great way to discourage spiders from hanging around your infrared camera. You can also opt to buy a separate infrared illuminator and turn off the camera’s native infrared, and they may be instead attracted to the other source placed elsewhere.
Can bugs set off motion detectors?
Yes, bugs can set off motion detection, which is why insect control of some degree will be of importance to many security camera users. Though AI-based human detection is now an increasingly common feature in IP cameras, they are almost always behind additional paywalls, meaning not everyone will have access to it. Moths launching themselves at the camera repeatedly will confuse even the cleverest of AI eventually.
Insects can prove to be pretty meddlesome when it comes to outdoor, and in some cases, indoor security. Without decent AI-based human detection, motion events can be falsely triggered at an annoying rate. And even with it, when a spider decides its rent free home is now your security camera, good luck seeing anything at all with those webs blocking the lens!
To maximize your success, try combining a number of different methods to see what works best for your space. Lethal isn’t always the only solution, either!