Does a blue porch ceiling prevent bugs?

July 22, 2015

Does a blue ceiling on a porch really keep bugs away? 

Today I'm updating you on a bigger project and a smaller one, both we did at the same time. One I'm totally over the moon about and one I'm quite shocked that it actually worked (a little too well)! I like to update you on past projects occasionally -- whether they work or not. 

Earlier this spring I showed you our new steps off the front porch. I shared a before pic but as I was looking for more photos to show how small they were I realized I didn't really have a lot of good ones (that I could find). 

This shows you how tiny our porch is: 
tiny front porch

I don't let it hold me back when it comes to making it a welcoming spot! Though as you can see before the planters (which I didn't want to give up) and the railing made it a really tight space. Adding our storm door was a great move but it made getting into the house even more tight because it opens out. 

I did find this fall photo to show you how skinny the old steps were: 
mummy door for Halloween

I mentioned when we had this done that I would rather go without the railing because I liked the look without it. But we decided to keep it due to safety reasons and that little thing called building code. ;) 

I'm SO glad we had them install it again. You can see the after photos in this post but I snapped this one after the railing was installed: 
large board and batten shutters
Having the steps widened is easily in the top five things we've ever done to this house. Seriously up there with finishing the basement. We LOVE it. I cannot believe we waited this long to do it. 

Beyond just looking better as far as scale and as far as aesthetics, the wider steps make life so much easier! We use the front door constantly now -- I actually take the groceries in this way instead of through the garage because it's easier than taking them around the cars and up the little garage steps. It feels safer too -- I always felt like I was about to fall off of the old ones. 

Of course I can't wait to dress these up for fall and the holidays! :)

I knew that would be a good change, but didn't realize how good until we lived with it for awhile. The other change was one I am quite shocked by because it actually worked (but there's a caveat to that). You may remember I painted our porch ceiling blue:

no bugs on porch ceiling

Every spring, summer and fall it gets pretty gross up there with webs and all sorts of grody buggy stuff. I don't do bugs. So having them hang over our heads and those of our guests really grossed me out. 

I've heard for years that a blue ceiling gets rid of the bugs because they think it's the sky. I tried it because I had the paint and it only took a few minutes, but didn't really believe it would work. 

Well wouldn't you know -- it does. It's AMAZING. Not one nest up there all summer long (this was taken today):

blue porch ceiling gets rid of bugs

I am truly shocked that it works and have basically told everyone I know. :)

Two things though -- I used leftover interior paint thinking it would be fine. This ceiling gets an occasional bit of water from when I clean the porch once or twice a year, but that's it as far as the elements. No direct sun, no wind, no rain. 

But the paint is looking really blotchy all the sudden -- this just happened in the past couple of weeks. I'm guessing the humidity is causing the problem. So next time I'm going to prime and then paint with an exterior paint. 

Here's the only problem with the fact that this works and keeps the bugs away…they go elsewhere. And not good places. ;) Now the webs are down the sides of the front door, and usually right by the doorbell. It's not ideal:

I just cleaned that one off last night and it's back (it's a little hard to see here). So…do I paint the whole porch light blue? Kidding. It's tempting. 

The bottom line is that it works -- but at least for our little porch the problem just moved to another location. I have a feeling that it wouldn't be as big of an issue with a bigger porch. I'm guessing they would have more room to spread out so you wouldn't notice as much?

I told you all I'd update you on that blue ceiling so when I realized it worked I had to share! And many of you told me you were considering the same for widening your front steps so I say go for it -- you'll love it! Have you tried the blue ceiling trick outside?

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. I have never heard of this...we are getting ready to paint the ceiling of our porch with a fresh coat of white...hmmmm - maybe I need to re-think that!!

  2. I hadn't heard that either, however, both our front and back porch got a coat of light blue green last year.

  3. This is a common thing down the south where they have sitting porches... they always paint their porch ceilings blue to keep the birds from nesting. Apparently when the birds look to nest, they think the ceiling is the sky and the little 'perch' they wanted to start their nest building becomes an open space and no longer a good choice for their nest.

  4. It's also known as "haint" blue in the South. It has the added bonus of keeping away the "haints" (ghosts & evil spirits) ;)

  5. I've thought the blue paint was a bird thing, too, not for bugs, but I'm no southerner, lol. As for the webs and such on a bigger porch, well I'm not so sure about that. I have a larger back porch and I think they just like to get in tight spots/crevices. Our door is only inches away from the side wall and they love that spot, much to my dismay. On a bright note, those stairs looks amazing. What a game changer!

  6. i read that they paint it to keep ghosts and evil spirits away like what Pamela said. where I read it also said why the painted barns red and stuff like that. fyi the bards where painted red because white cost a lot of money to make.

  7. That's so interesting! I wonder if our porch light constantly being on you counteract that??

  8. Well, I have a bright blue house. I'm not sure it has deterred anything. We have had a couple of wasps try to build nests and a snake crawl in the house (not sure how!). Come to think of it, we haven't really had bugs coming in.

    My Bright Blue House

  9. I love the way the deeper steps look. Great upgrade! I live by a marsh and have had so many spiders on and in my house every year. Last summer and again this year, I sprayed around windows, doors, porches(ceiling, posts and the decking too) and the foundation of my house. I use a 2 gallon hand sprayer and add peppermint oil to the water (bought mine on amazon and use about 2 Tbsp of the oil to 2 gal of water), shake well and spray! I do get moths around the light on the back porch, but no spiders! I do this once a month, and after a heavy rain. I've found 6 spiders in the house this season, compared to 6 a day in the past. My house smells like candy canes the day I do it, but that is preferred to spiders!

  10. When the light is on, the moths and other night bugs are attracted. The spiders then come for the all you can eat bugfeast! It never occurred to me to paint the ceiling blue, but might be worth a try! At least when the webs are lower, they're easier to clean! :)

  11. One theory for the blue paint is that the old paints were milk paints containing lye which is a bug killer. Since the milk paints faded over time, the ceilings were repainted and a new layer of lye is now in place. Of course, paints don't contain lye but it still seems to work. I have fewer bugs on the ceiling.

    My problem is mason bees nesting in the small cracks between the siding and the edging. I hate to kill the bees since they are good pollinators and don't sting, but the next time I paint the porch, I'll be using some clear caulking in those little holes!

  12. I've heard of the haint ceiling, too, but knowing it's worked for your bugs? Absolutely doing it! We already deal with bugs all over, we're close to water and although I appreciate the spiders eating the bugs, if I can decrease the number, I will!!! Thank you for sharing that it works!!

  13. Your outdoor door covering looks cool by the way. I saw a similar outdoor blinds Melbourne with the similar concept. It was in blue. Widening your steps is a wise move. The first picture looked incomplete and you'll definitely notice that something is wrong. I never knew a blue ceiling could prevent bugs from flying around during summer nights. I'll definitely have my ceiling painted blue

    from now on! Thanks for the wonderful tip.

    I saw a nice article you might find interesting to read as well. Here is the link.

  14. I love the new look. Can you tell me more about the planters?

  15. Your new front steps have made a huge difference and they look great! So does the new landscaping changes. That's very interesting about the blue ceiling idea -- we have a large front porch and we still have bug nests. I'm not sure that blue would go well with our house color/brick, but it's worth a try! I've learned so much from you!

  16. I have seen blue porch ceilings before but never knew there was a reason for them other than they like the color. I wonder if it works with wasps? We have lots of wasps, always building nests under our porch. Maybe I should paint it blue and give it a try.

  17. I've always loved the blue ceiling of southern porches "haint blue" :) Even if it didn't work, I would still probably insist on my husband painting on porch ceiling blue :)

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  18. I just love how you have transformed the picture into something that looks like a millionaires art collection! I think you should share where you got the items from to transofrm it?

  19. Our house is blue, we still get cobwebs in the same places by our porch...and there isn't even a ceiling.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!