How to Find Bed Bugs with Black Light (2023)

If you think that bed bugs only live in rundown places, you better think again. These tiny parasitic insects also live in fancy hotel rooms and luxurious homes. This is why it is imperative to know how you can detect bed bugs sooner than later.

Bed bugs have distinct brown or reddish flat bodies. They feed on their hosts’ blood and everyone is prone to a bed bug infestation whether you like it or not. These insects often enter homes through clothes, luggage, toys, furniture, and pretty much everything and anything under the sun.

Early detection is the very first step to prevent or contain an existing infestation. There are some claims that you can use a black light to find bed bugs. Is this true?

(Video) DWYM: Spotting bed bugs

How to Find Bed Bugs with Black Light

Considered as parasites, bed bugs can become a health risk to many. Once you discover that your home is infested with bed bugs, the next crucial step is to identify their habitat to effectively eliminate them.

Since bed bugs hate the light, it makes it hard to find them during the daytime. Can you see bed bugs with UV light, then? Well, bed bugs black light will not let you spot a bed bug directly but a black light can be used to find their trail.

Try doing the following steps in using a black light to find bed bug trails:

(Video) Black light bug catcher

  • If you remove your bedding, you will see those trails bed bugs left behind.
  • When finding bed bugs with a black light, turn it on first and check the corner seams of your mattress.
  • Track the light across the seam until you spot the glowing trail.
  • Bed bugs leave behind a debris trail of their blood and waste. Follow this trail until you find its end.

If the bugs are not in the bed’s corner seams, they might be in the nearby wall seam or electrical outlet. Suffocation and heat are the best ways to exterminate bed bugs once you find them.

How to Find Bed Bugs with Black Light (1)

Bed Bug UV Detection Light- How UV Light Detects Bed Bugs

UV light or black light is just like any regular light, with both being types of radiation. These two forms of lights are produced by different bodies such as the sun and they also act similarly. The difference, however, is their location on the light spectrum.

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Visible light is the light you can see. Various light wavelengths appear in different colours to you such as red, blue, green, and yellow. The light has more energy if the wavelength is also higher.

UV light has more energy compared to visible light, which means that it has a higher wavelength. Your naked eye cannot see it.

When switched on, black light may appear as dark purple. This is because blue or purple is the highest visible light wavelength you can see. Other emitted lights are invisible to you.

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Either way, UV light interacts with phosphors. These are luminescent substances. They absorb energy and release this as light. Teeth and nails, detergents, some types of ink are good examples of phosphors.

Phosphors absorb some of UV light’s energy. They release energy as visible light instead of heat, unlike other substances.

These are some of the things you should know on how to find bed bugs with UV light. Bringing a bed bug UV detection light when you travel or just having in your home will help you in early detection.

(Video) UV Flashlight - Detect Scorpions, Bed Bugs, Pet Urine, and Body Fluids

Simply add it to your current bed bug solutions and be able to prepare for a possible infestation before it happens. It can also be used for continuous monitoring right after an extermination treatment or in addition to your passive monitoring devices.

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Can bed bugs be detected by black light? ›

A black light emits UV light, which has a higher wavelength than visible light. Humans cannot see UV light; it appears purple. But when shined on bed bugs and other insects, the UV light makes them glow. As bed bugs are incredibly good at hiding, this can be a very handy tool for finding them.

How do you find a hidden bed bug? ›

Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs: In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains. In drawer joints.

How do you check for bed bugs with lights? ›

Flashlight to look in dark gaps and cracks and on dark surfaces. Sometimes the light startles bed bugs. They'll stop moving for a few minutes and then move quickly to get away from the light. Magnifying glass to make it easier to see and confirm that they are a bed bug.

Do bed bug lights work? ›

However, keeping the lights on will not prevent bed bugs from coming out from inside the mattress or bed and biting you. Although bed bugs don't like the light, they still need to eat. Additionally, light certainly will not kill bed bugs, or irritate them enough to make them leave your home.

How do professionals detect bed bugs? ›

During the inspection

The inspector will examine the areas of suspected bed bug activity, most commonly in the seams of the mattress, bed, and upholstery. Using special tools, the inspector will look for signs of bed bugs such as excrement, fecal spots, egg shells, and shed skins.

Why can't i find where the bed bugs are hiding? ›

Sometimes bed bugs take up residence in the frame of a bed. They prefer to hide in crevices, wheel sockets, areas between materials, and other tight spaces. But, don't be surprised if you find them out in the open. Be sure to check inside any springs or cavities.

What smell kills bed bugs instantly? ›

Smelling citrus scents like lemon is pleasing, but for bed bugs, it's death. Some bed bugs cannot resist the smell of lemon juice and having it around will help you eliminate the problem once and for all. You have to use fresh lemon juice to kill those bed bugs since it has harsh properties which are bad for the pest.

Is there a bed bug detector? ›

Many commercial bed bug monitors are available for detecting bed bugs. Among them, pitfall-style traps are the most cost-effective for detecting bed bugs (Wang et al.

Do bed bugs stay on clothes you're wearing? ›

Technically, bed bugs are unlikely to live on the clothes you're wearing, but they can quickly take up residence on items in a suitcase, and even what's in your drawers or on your floor.

Do bed bugs only come out when the lights are off? ›

Bed bugs are most active between midnight and 3 am. They are rarely active during daylight hours, and only come out when attracted by the warmth and carbon dioxide released from a body at rest.

Will bed bugs stay away if I sleep with the light on? ›

Myth: Bedbugs won't come out if the room is brightly lit. Reality: While bedbugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won't deter these pests from biting you.

What time of year are bed bugs most active? ›

Bed bugs live throughout the year, but there is a particular time during each year when bed bug infestations become more common. In normal years, bed bug “season” peaks in the months of August and September when most families have returned from their travels, and bugs have a chance to gain a foothold.

What if I've only seen one bed bug? ›

One bed bug in a home is not always a sign that a significant infestation is present. If you found the one-bed bug, killed it and can't find any more after a thorough search, wait for a few days… bed bugs don't take time off; if there are more, they will try and fed every day if possible. Be Vigilant!

What is the fastest way to check for bed bugs? ›

Signs of Infestation
  1. Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases.
  2. Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls.
  3. Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide.
  4. An offensive, musty odor from the bugs' scent glands.
Dec 5, 2022

What is biting me at night not bed bugs? ›

Besides bedbugs, numerous insects bite at night. These night biters can be mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, spiders, and ticks.

How many bed bugs is considered an infestation? ›

The presence of only one fertile female bed bug in a friendly environment such as a single or multiple family dwelling is an infestation that is waiting to happen.

What bugs can be seen with a black light? ›

The black light attracts night-flying insects, including many moths, beetles, and others. Many insects can see ultraviolet light, which has shorter wavelengths than light visible to the human eye. For this reason, a black light will attract different insects than a regular incandescent light.

What instantly kills bed bugs? ›

Among the popular and most effective DIY home treatments for bed bugs is rubbing alcohol. You can dilute it and place it a spray bottle and simply spray the infested areas. The alcohol will kill bed bugs almost immediately. It also evaporates quickly, leaves no traces or bad smells.

What color light do bed bugs not like? ›

A new study finds that bedbugs – just like flies and other insects – have favorite colors. They really like dark red and black, and they shun dazzling white and bright yellow.

Do bed bug eggs glow under black light? ›

Using a UV light to detect bed bugs is a good idea. Because UV light makes them glow, it may make the bed bugs easier to spot. Another reason why you should consider doing so is that old bed bug shells glow too.

What bugs glow under a black light? ›

Scorpions glow or fluoresce under UV light. Along with a scorpion, crayfish, centipede, millipede, and a cricket will be placed under a Black light to see if like the scorpion they too will show fluorescence.

What bugs look like bed bugs but are black? ›

Carpet beetles are another common household pest that are similar in size to bed bugs, and certain species have brown or black shells that can easily be confused for bed bugs. Adult carpet beetles can be between 2 to 5 millimeters long, with large, oval-shaped bodies and small heads.

Is there a bed bug detector app? ›

My Bed Bug Finder™ App will also warn you if there is a high probability result, offering suggestions on the next steps to take. DETECT & PROTECT Scan areas quickly to avoid bed bugs and bites. SUPER EASY TO USE View and capture images in quick, easy steps.

Why is it so hard to find bed bugs? ›

Bed bugs typically tend to find a hiding place and stick to it. For this reason, many people never see live bed bugs until the infestation becomes severe. Only when their hiding places are disturbed, like when you're packing for a move, will live bed bugs be easily discovered.

What brings bed bugs out overnight? ›

One scent that bed bugs find appealing is dirty laundry or dirty bedding because of how it smells once it's come in contact with humans. Research has shown that bed bugs prefer previously worn clothing and used bedding, which is why you shouldn't leave these items on the floor close to your bed.

What happens if I spray rubbing alcohol on my bed? ›

It's flammable

Isopropyl alcohol is extremely flammable. Though it dries quickly, spraying it on upholstered furniture, carpets, fabrics, clothing, and mattresses creates a fire hazard. Vapors that linger in the air are also highly flammable.

What are bed bugs afraid of? ›

One of the most researched solutions for keeping bed bugs away is peppermint. This plant can provide a smell which bed bugs and other pests hate. The scent will drive any pest which will keep your home pest-free and fresh at the same time.

What are bed bugs not attracted to? ›

Reality: Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots. Myth: Bed bugs transmit diseases.

What time of day do bed bugs bite? ›

Human bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are constantly being transported and dispersed in luggage, bedding, mattresses, bed frames and other bedroom furniture items. Once transported to a dwelling, bed bugs typically live in cracks and crevices in the bedroom during the day and feed on people during the night time.


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