Many moths need darkness to thrive, but each year, the night sky gets lighter. Find out how you can dim the dangers of light pollution for our moths.

Dark skies are not just a treat for stargazers, they’re critical for moths, bats and other wildlife to thrive. Light pollution interrupts the lifecycle of many of our moth species. Find out more about the impact of light pollution on our moths and what you can do at home to prevent it.

Sky glow

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the excessive use of outdoor Artificial Light At Night – often referred to as ALAN. It includes direct lighting from artificial light sources and the resulting skyglow. Light pollution is not just bad for stargazers, it’s harmful to our health and that of our wildlife, including insects, mammals and the ecosystems they are a part of.

Bat Hunting a moth

How does light pollution impact moths?

Most of the UK’s moth species are nocturnal and fly at night. Some moths are naturally drawn to sources of light, but artificial lights can disorient them. They may spend a lot of time travelling to artificial lights or circling them, leaving them too exhausted to find food or to breed.

Moths drawn to artificial lights are also more vulnerable to predation. It’s also not just the adult moths which are affected. Some moth caterpillars are attracted to artificial light, which could take them away from food sources, leave them more vulnerable to predators and impact their development.

Canary-shouldered Thorn - Patrick Clement

Why are moths important?

Moths are amazing! There are around 2,500 species of moth in the UK, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Not only are they important in their own right, but moths are also incredible pollinators and a vital part of the food web – without moths, many other species could decline. #MothsMatter

Our research showed that moth caterpillar numbers under LED street lights were 52% lower in hedgerows and 43% lower on grass verges compared to those which were unlit.

Expert advice on light pollution

See below for blogs giving you more information about light pollution from experts inside and outside Butterfly Conservation.


Reduce your light pollution at home

Light pollution threatens many nocturnal insects, including important pollinators like moths, by disrupting their ability to feed, breed and carry out their usual behaviour. But each year, light pollution increases.

Wild Space at night - Kosti Keistinen

Lighting your Wild Space

When creating a Wild Space, most people will plan and create their area to use and enjoy in the daylight. But it’s likely that your Wild Space is still buzzing well after you’ve gone to bed!

Why is light pollution bad for moths?

Why is light pollution bad for moths?

With light pollution increasing each year, moths and other nocturnal insects are increasingly under threat. Let’s delve into the dangers of light pollution for moths.

Presteigne dark skies - Leigh Harling-Bowen

Bringing dark skies to UK communities

Kerem Asfuroglu is a lighting designer and dark skies advocate from southern Turkey. Having earned an MA in Architectural Lighting Design from Wismar University in Germany, he now lives in Ireland where he runs an environmentally sustainable lighting design practice. We spoke to Kerem about a new approach to lighting design, the power of people, and how communities can embrace their dark side.

How light shielding can help

Unshielded outdoor fixtures allow light to be emitted in multiple directions, contributing to light pollution. This upward-directed light can disorient and attract nocturnal insects, leading them away from their natural habitats. Here’s how different types of light shielding can help redirect artificial light away from our night skies.

Moths and light pollution infographic

What else can I do to support moths?

Moths by Month calendar web thumbnail

Get your free calendar today!

We’ve created a Moths by Month calendar for you to download so you can see which marvellous moths you might spot throughout the year. You can also print it at home to tick off the ones you see!

Donate to Butterfly Conservation

Make a difference for moths

By making a donation to Butterfly Conservation, you're helping to secure the future of butterflies, moths and their environment in the UK for generations to come.

Purple Thorn - Patrick Clement

Stay up to date

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter 'All Aflutter' packed full of helpful guidance, the latest stories and inspiration from Butterfly Conservation and our fantastic community of butterfly and moth enthusiasts.

Moths Matter clothing

Show your love for moths

Show off your love of moths with our latest range of moth tees and totes.

Join us on social media and share what you’re doing at home and in your community to reduce light pollution and help save moths!

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram