If you live in the south, you might have seen or heard of people painting their porch ceilings blue. It's a common belief that they help keep bugs away, but do they really? We've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that blue ceilings do in fact keep bugs away. However, there are some personal testimonies that state they saw fewer spiders and wasps after painting their porch ceiling blue.
So, there's no solid evidence of whether blue ceilings keep bugs away, but keep reading as we go into this further. We'll discuss the shades of blues that are often used on porch ceilings and we will go over some ways you keep bugs away from your porch lights.
Painting The Porch Ceiling Blue
The tradition of painting a porch ceiling blue originated in the south in the early 1800s and was most commonly seen in Georgia and South Carolina.
The shade of blue used is often referred to as "haint" blue. Haint blue encompasses many blue-green shades. The word haint is pronounced "haunt" and refers to an evil spirit. According to Gullah folklore, the blue would ward off any evil spirits and prevent them from entering the home. The color blue was used because haints could supposedly not cross water.
Let's talk about why blue paint might repel insects. There are a couple of theories.
In the past, the type of paint that would have been used to paint the porch ceiling contained lime. It was known as milk paint. Lime is a natural insecticide so it's possible this is the reason, rather than the blue paint color, that bugs would avoid the ceiling.
However, some people believe the reason spiders, bees, and wasps will avoid making a nest on their porch is because the blue paint looks like the sky and fools the bugs. While there's no scientific evidence to back this up, there have been some personal testimonies to this. Some people say they saw much fewer cobwebs, spiders, and wasps nests after painting their own porch ceiling blue.
Painting the ceiling blue doesn't just fool the bugs. It also fools us humans. Painting the ceiling blue is said to give the impression of a longer day. If you looked up at the end of the day while you were sitting on the porch, the blue would look like the daytime sky, thus making you think the day was lasting longer.
What Are The Best Paint Colors For Porch Ceilings?
So, we've discussed that many people in the south paint their porch ceiling blue, but is blue the best paint color for porch ceilings?
The most popular paint colors for porch ceilings are in fact haint blues. Regardless of the origin of painting a porch ceiling blue, blue is a comforting and welcoming color so it very well might be the best option. It can create a relaxing, inviting environment and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Haint Blue Shades
As you can see from this image, there are quite a few variances between haint shades. Some of them have more of a greyish look to them while others have hints of greens and blues. It's very likely you'll be able to find a shade of blue that will work for your porch. Let's look at some examples below.
A more subtle haint blue is used here.
This haint blue resembles the sky.
Contrasting Blue & Yellow
This bolder looking blue is paired with yellow to create a very contrasting look.
Bold Haint Blue
Ditch subtle and go with a bold haint blue as this stunning porch has.
Colors Other Than Blue
Just because haint blues are popular, it doesn't mean you have to paint your porch blue. Any exterior paint will work, and you don't have to follow the norm. Go bold with oranges and yellows! Though we can't promise they'll repel bugs, they'll definitely bring some sunshine to your front porch. If bright colors aren't your thing, choose darker colors instead.
How inviting is this cozy-looking porch? The yellow really adds warmth and brightens the space.
Painting your porch ceiling dark can create a stunningly sophisticated look!
How Do You Get Rid Of Bugs Around Your Porch Lights?
It can be frustrating when bugs are swarming your porch light. You try to sneak in your front door quickly, but there always seems to be at least one pesky insect that follows you in. There are a few measures you can take to get rid of the bugs around your porch light so that you no longer have to worry about fighting off the swarm as you enter your home or enjoy an evening on your porch.
You can keep a bug zapper nearby. Bugs are attracted to UV lights the most, so they definitely won't be able to resist heading towards a bug zapper instead of your regular porch light. They are one of the most effective ways of getting rid of bugs.
Turn The Light Off More
Try not to leave your porch light on as long. The longer you leave the light on, the more time the bugs have to accumulate. If you have more than one porch light, turn off any unnecessary ones.
Screen Your Porch
Screening your porch might be a more expensive venture, but might be worth considering if you live in an area where the bugs are unmanageable. If you choose a screen with a small enough mesh, you'll have a bug-free porch light in no time.
Use A Bug Deterrent
Place some citronella candles around your porch to deter bugs. You can also try using essential oils. They might not prevent every bug from paying a visit, but it should at least help reduce the numbers.
For a whole article on this topic, check out another one of our blog posts here: How To Keep Bugs Away From The Porch Light [5 Ways!]
Is There A Light That Doesn't Attract Bugs?
So we gave you some ways you can get rid of bugs around your porch light, but is there a light that doesn't attract bugs at all? You'll be glad to know that, fortunately, there is!
We mentioned earlier that a bug's favorite light is UV light. This is why they are so drawn to the bug zapper. Any light that emits little to no UV light will attract bugs less. Also, bugs can't see every color of light, so using a color that bugs can't see is the best way to not attract them. Not surprisingly, light manufacturers started producing bulbs in these colors, so they are readily available.
Bugs cannot see a red light at all, but a red bulb might not be a very good option for your porch. The next best color to use is yellow. You should replace your porch lights with yellow bulbs. The best yellow bulb to use is a compact fluorescent light as it is more energy-efficient and gives off less heat. Sodium vapor and halogen bulbs will also work.
Now that you're thinking of porch light colors, you may be interested in reading this article: What Does The Color Of A Porch Light Mean?
Though there's no scientific proof that blue porch ceilings deter bugs, there are personal accounts that say they do. If you like the color blue and you want to paint your porch ceiling, there are more benefits than just deterring bugs, so it can't hurt to try!
If you need some inspiration for porch lighting, check out: 17 Types Of Porch Light Fixtures For Your Home