How to keep spider webs off your security camera lens

If you have outdoor security cameras with night vision, you must have come across this pesky problem. Lovely, beautiful (yeah, right) spider webs right in front of your cameras lens obscuring the whole view! Add in a little breeze and you have the perfect storm – spider webs setting off false motion detection alerts and filling your inbox with email alerts.

How to get rid of spider webs in front of camera lens - VueVille.com

Incy Wincy Spider has been up to no good at the VueVille residence

What attracts spiders to security cameras?

Its the flying insects. Contrary to popular opinion, most web-spinning spiders are actually blind.1http://www.spiders.us/faq/how-many-eyes-do-spiders-have/ So its not the camera’s IR lamps that attract them.

I have been running CCTV cameras at my home since 2014 and my constant challenge has been to keep the blasted spiders and their webs away. The main reason these critters are attracted to the cameras are because of the abundance of food. Yup food, tasty flying food.

It is thought that some flying insects are sensitive to infrared light and get attracted to the camera. Now these spiders are not dumb. So even though they don’t even know that there is InfraRed on the camera, they do know that they can get lots of food easily. So that’s where the web is built.

So what’s the solution?

Now that we know why it happens, we can look at how to solve the problem of spider webs. We either need to keep the flying insects away or prevent the spiders from building their webs regardless of the flying insects.

The permanent solution – Disable the on-board IR LEDs and use external IR lamps

This method has worked very well for me. By moving the source of IR light away from the camera, the flying insects and hence the spiders move base from the camera lens to the external IR lamp.

Most IP cameras will let you disable the on-board IR. If your cameras don’t, its time to consider new security cameras.

Pro tip: Put the external IR lamp inside your house shining its beam of light through a window and you get the ultimate revenge – they can see it but they can’t get to it!

There are different types of IR LED lamps. Expanding upon my comments on a related /r/HomeDefense post, there are two types of Infrared lamps – the more common type where the IR LEDs are arranged in a ring, and the less common but brighter longer-lasting EXIR LEDs. Just like you can find cameras with either type of LEDs, you can find IR lamps with either type of LED:

  1. Standard IR LED lamp – These are the ones I use because they are cheap and surprisingly durable. The downside is the narrow beam angle of 60 deg or so. I don’t think they are weather-proof but I use them inside through a window. I have not had any noticeable fading or dimming after 1 year of use, which is the most common complaint about these LEDs.

    Towallmark Crazy Cart 48-LED CCTV Ir Infrared Night Vision Illuminator

    Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
    Last update was in: May 28, 2017 3:13 pm
    $18.18
    Check Amazon
    amazon.com
  2. EXIR IR LED lamp – Now I haven’t tried these but they have a wider beam angle of 90 degrees and are IP65 weather-rated.

    JC 4pcs High Power LED IR Array Illuminator IR Lamp Wide Angle...

    Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
    Last update was in: May 28, 2017 3:13 pm
    $11.99
    Check Amazon
    amazon.com

The “do it once in two weeks” solution – Use bug sprays or insect repellents

I tried many different bug sprays from many different brands before finally finding something that would keep the nosy spiders and their webs at bay:

Repel 100 Insect Repellent, 4 oz. Pump Spray, Single Bottle

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: May 28, 2017 3:13 pm
$7.97
Check Amazon
amazon.com

Make life difficult for spiders – use a lubricant

This is a method I came across on Reddit and seems to have helped some folks. Basically you are making the camera housing and the area surrounding the camera slippery so that the spider can’t even spin its web.

Is there anything else I can do?

If false motion detection alerts are the problem, you can try and use Intrusion detection or dwell detection instead of simple motion detection. This way an alert is set off only when something of a certain size and larger is in the scene for a certain period (say, 1 second).

This is a useful thing to do in any case and could be combined with the methods described above.

So what have you found to be the most effective way to deal with spider webs in front of your camera lens?

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.spiders.us/faq/how-many-eyes-do-spiders-have/

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