HomeBugsUV Light: A Simple and Effective Solution for Bed Bug Problems

UV Light: A Simple and Effective Solution for Bed Bug Problems

Are you tired of dealing with bed bugs in your home? Do you want to find a simple and effective way to detect and eliminate these pests? If you answered yes, then you need to read this blog about UV light and bed bugs.

In this blog, you will learn how UV light works, how to use it, and what are the pros and cons of this method. You will also find some tips and tricks to make your UV light treatment more successful.

uv light bed bugs
UV Light: A Simple and Effective Solution for Bed Bug Problems

How Does UV Light Detect Bed Bugs?

UV light is similar to regular light, but it has a higher wavelength and more energy. It is invisible to the human eye, but it can interact with certain substances called phosphors. Phosphors are materials that absorb UV light and emit visible light.

Many insects, including bed bugs, have phosphors in their exoskeletons that make them fluoresce under UV light. This means that they appear brighter and more visible when exposed to UV light. 

Do Bed Bugs Glow in UV Light? 

Yes, bed bugs do glow in UV light. They appear as a pale yellow or green color, depending on the type of UV light used. Bed bug eggs and nymphs also glow, but they are smaller and harder to see. Bed bug fecal stains and blood spots also glow under UV light, which can help you identify the areas where bed bugs are hiding. 

Bed bugs have compound eyes that are sensitive to near-UV light, which is slightly shorter than the wavelengths that humans can see. This means that they can see some types of UV light sources, such as black lights or mercury-vapor lamps.

However, they cannot see far-UV light, which is much shorter than near-UV light and is used in some UV flashlights or sterilizers. 

Can Bed Bugs See UV Light? 

No, bed bugs cannot see UV light. They are blind to this type of radiation, which means that they won’t be scared or repelled by it. However, they can see visible light, which they usually avoid. This is why it is important to use a dark room when using UV light to detect bed bugs. 

uv light bed bugs

Are Bed Bugs Attracted to UV Light? 

There is no clear evidence that bed bugs are attracted to UV light. In fact, some studies have shown that bed bugs avoid or are repelled by certain wavelengths of UV light. This may be because UV light can damage their DNA and cause mutations or death.

However, bed bugs may still approach or bite humans who are near a UV light source if they are hungry enough and sense their body heat and carbon dioxide. 

Does UV light kill bed bug eggs?

UV light can kill bed bug eggs if it is strong enough and applied for a long enough time. However, most commercial UV lights are not powerful enough to kill bed bug eggs effectively.

Moreover, UV light can only kill bed bug eggs that are exposed and not hidden under fabrics or inside crevices. Therefore, relying on UV light alone to kill bed bug eggs is not a good idea. To kill bed bug eggs, you need high heat or chemical treatments. 

uv light bed bugs

How to Use UV Lights to Detect Bed Bugs?

If you want to use UV lights to detect bed bugs, you need to follow some steps to ensure that you get the best results. Here are some tips on how to use UV lights to detect bed bugs: 

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Choose the Right UV Light 

Not all UV lights are the same. Some are more effective than others in making bed bugs glow. The best type of UV light for detecting bed bugs is a UV flashlight or lamp that emits a pulsing wavelength of light.

This type of light is more powerful and less visible than a blacklight, which emits a continuous wavelength of light that bed bugs can see. A blacklight may also make other things glow that are not related to bed bugs, such as detergents or fluorescent paints. 

Create the Optimal Environment 

To use UV lights to detect bed bugs, you need to create the optimal environment for spotting them. This means that you need to turn off all the lights in the room where you suspect an infestation and close all the doors and windows.

You also need to cover your body as much as possible, since bed bugs are attracted to your heat and may bite you if they sense you nearby. 

Inspect High-Risk Areas 

The next step is to inspect the high-risk areas where bed bugs are most likely to hide. These include your mattress, box spring, headboard, footboard, pillows, sheets, blankets, comforters, sofa, chairs, curtains, carpets, rugs, baseboards, cracks, crevices, outlets, switches, picture frames, books, clothing, luggage, and any other items near your sleeping or resting area. 

If you don’t find any signs of bed bugs in the high-risk areas, you may want to expand your search to other areas of your home. Bed bugs can travel up to 20 feet from their hiding places, so they may be found in other rooms or furniture.

You may also want to check your car, your workplace, or any other places where you spend time or carry your belongings. 

Take Your Time 

Using UV lights to detect bed bugs requires patience and attention. You need to take your time and scan every inch of the area you are inspecting. You may need to move or lift items, flip or rotate mattresses, and look under or behind furniture.

You may also need to use a magnifying glass or a camera to see the bed bugs better. 

Look for Fluorescence 

As you use the UV light to detect bed bugs, you need to look for fluorescence. This is the glow that bed bugs produce when exposed to UV light. You may see live bed bugs, dead bed bugs, bed bug eggs, bed bug nymphs, bed bug fecal stains, or blood spots.

They may appear as pale yellow or green dots or smears on the surface of the items you are inspecting. 

Double Check Your Findings 

If you find something that glows under UV light, you need to double check your findings. Not everything that glows is related to bed bugs. Some other things that may glow under UV light include dust, lint, hair, fibers, pollen, mold, bacteria, fungi, urine, semen, saliva, sweat, cosmetics, lotions, detergents, bleach, fluorescent paints, highlighters, and some types of paper or plastic.

To confirm that what you found is indeed a bed bug or a sign of bed bugs, you need to compare it with a picture or a description of a bed bug or a bed bug sign. You can also use a sticky tape or a tweezers to collect a sample and show it to a professional exterminator for identification. 

Stay Calm and Seek Professional Help if Needed 

If you find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs in your home, you need to stay calm and seek professional help if needed. Bed bugs are not a sign of poor hygiene or cleanliness, and they can infest any home regardless of its condition.

Bed bugs are also not known to transmit any diseases, but they can cause allergic reactions, skin infections, or psychological distress.

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To get rid of bed bugs effectively and safely, you need to hire a licensed and experienced pest control company that can provide you with the best treatment options for your situation. 

uv light bed bugs

Disadvantages of Using UV Lights in Detecting Bed Bugs 

While using UV lights to detect bed bugs can be a useful technique, it also has some disadvantages and limitations that you need to be aware of. Some of the drawbacks of using UV lights in detecting bed bugs are: 

Inconsistency in Detection 

As mentioned earlier, the fluorescence of bed bugs under UV light is not very consistent or reliable. Some bed bugs may not glow at all, while others may glow very faintly or only in certain parts of their bodies.

The color and intensity of the fluorescence may also vary depending on the type of UV light used, the age and condition of the bed bugs, and the background surface. This means that you may miss some bed bugs or mistake other things for bed bugs when using UV light. 

False Positives 

Another problem with using UV light to detect bed bugs is that it can cause false positives. False positives are when you think you have found a bed bug or its trace under UV light, but it is actually something else that fluoresces under UV light.

For example, some detergents, cosmetics, fabrics, or other substances can fluoresce under UV light and look like blood stains or fecal spots of bed bugs. This can lead to confusion and anxiety when you think you have bed bugs but you don’t. 

Limited Accessibility 

Using UV light to detect bed bugs also has limited accessibility. You need to have access to a UV light source (such as a flashlight or a lamp) that is suitable for detecting bed bugs. You also need to have access to the areas and items that you want to inspect for bed bugs.

Some areas or items may be hard to reach, inaccessible, or prohibited from inspection (such as hotel rooms or public places). This can limit your ability to use UV light effectively. 

Requires Optimal Conditions 

Using UV light to detect bed bugs also requires optimal conditions. You need to create a dark environment by turning off all other sources of light in the room. You also need to avoid any interference from other sources of fluorescence (such as detergents or cosmetics) that may confuse you.

You need to move slowly and carefully so that you don’t miss any spots or disturb any bed bugs. You need to take your time and inspect every inch of every item that you suspect may harbor bed bugs.

All these factors can make using UV light a tedious and time-consuming process. 

User Experience Matters 

Using UV light to detect bed bugs also depends on your user experience. You need to have some knowledge and skills on how to use UV light effectively. You need to know what wavelength, brightness, and coverage of UV light to use for detecting bed bugs.

You need to know what fluorescence looks like and how to distinguish it from other things that fluoresce under UV light. You need to know how to confirm your findings and what to do next if you find bed bugs.

All these factors can affect your accuracy and confidence when using UV light. 

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UV Lights Do Not Eliminate Bed Bugs 

Finally, using UV light to detect bed bugs does not eliminate them. Even if you find bed bugs under UV light, you still need to take action to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back.

You still need to wash and dry your clothes and bedding at high temperatures, vacuum your furniture and floors thoroughly, seal any cracks or gaps in your walls or floors, apply diatomaceous earth or other insecticides, or contact a pest control professional if needed.

Using UV light alone is not enough to solve your bed bug problem. 


You have just learned how UV light and bed bugs. UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that can reveal the hidden locations of bed bugs and damage their DNA. However, UV light also has some limitations and risks that you need to be aware of. You need to use UV light properly and safely, and combine it with other methods of bed bug control.

We hope this blog has been helpful and informative for you. If you want to learn more about bed bugs and how to get rid of them, you can check out our other blogs from Pestweek.

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