Why are moths attracted to lights at night? Artificial lights often are mistaken for the moon, which moths normally use for navigation. In places where the moon is the only light available, it serves as a reference point to help these insects fly in a straight line as they search for food and mates.
However, in most places, the moon no longer produces the brightest light at night. Confusing artificial lights knock moths off course, causing them fly in circles. This waste of energy results in many moths dying before sunrise. Moths near lights also become easy prey for nocturnal predators like bats and toads.
Wild facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, environmental outreach coordinator with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.