How It Works

Why are moths attracted to light?

The theory that moths fly towards light because they think it is the moon has never been proven. The latest thinking is that because moths have such sensitive eyesight, the lights blind and disorientate them. When a light comes into their field of vision they see it as a donut. When they change course to fly towards the light they are actually trying to fly to the dark spot in the middle.

Another theory is that moths aren’t attracted to light – it is simply that humans can’t see in the dark so only notice moths when they are in well-lit places.

This is one of the fundamental scientific questions that is yet to be answered.

Louise Keeling, Butterfly Conservation