Does UV Light Detect and Kill Bed Bugs?

Fed up and tired of tiny bed bugs hiding all-around your place, and wondering whether using UV light would be an effective method to detect and kill bed bugs? If yes, then you have come to just the right place.

In this article, we’ll dig deep into whether UV light helps in detecting and killing bed bugs.

What Colors Are Bed Bugs Under UV Light?

Bed bugs naturally have an exceptional ability to hide in dark, and difficult-to-reach places of our homes. And this makes it extremely hard to detect their presence and kill them. Using a UV light makes this task a little easier. As bed bugs are experts in hiding themselves, therefore even a little help can be a great relief.

UV light is visible in blue or ultraviolet color to the naked eye. As you direct the UV light through a flashlight or wand on the bed bugs, the bed bugs absorb it and appear to be blue or ultraviolet. Bed bugs’ shell contains phosphor, just like many insects do. It’s the reason that makes bed bugs ‘glow’ under UV light.

How To Use UV Light To Detect Bed Bugs?

UV light has the highest wavelength in the visible light spectrum. As the name indicates, the UV (Ultra Violet) light is of blue of dark purple color. With its high intensity, UV light interacts with the chemical structure of bed bugs’ shells.

The outer shell of many bed bugs is mainly composed of phosphors substances. Phosphorus is a luminescent substance. And thus when UV light hits the shell, phosphors absorb the light and reflect blue or dark purple visible light, making bugs visible and easy to detect and eliminate.

Overall, due to its powerful illuminating qualities, UV light is an extraordinary tool in detecting almost any living or non-living micro-organism. It is especially efficiently effective in low-light conditions, which is perfect for bed bugs as they mostly hide in dark places.

You can use a UV flashlight to find bed bugs in dark cracks and crevices. Bed bugs that are comfortably hiding will be exposed as the UV light shines on them.

Can You Repel Bed Bugs With UV Light?

Yes, UV light is a highly beneficial tool for not only detecting but also repelling bed bugs. As the bed bugs have a natural tendency to stay hidden in dark places, that’s why they stay away from any sort of light source.

However, just a short glimpse of UV light is certainly not enough for this purpose. Long-term exposure to UV light is required to repel the bed bugs.

UV light bulb also generates heat and it’s safe to say bed bugs wouldn’t intentionally venture near where the UV light is installed. However, you’ll need a powerful UV bulb to gives off sufficient heat to repel bed bugs.

Does UV Light Kill Bed Bugs?


Bed bugs are among the most resilient insect that is hard to kill. They are active at night when you are sound asleep and love to hide at unnoticeable places.

Killing bed bugs with UV light is not an easy task. It requires prolonged and consistent exposure to UV light to kill the bed bugs. Although the damaging effect of UV light on human DNA is very well researched, there is a slight vacuum in scientific research on the effect of UV light on bugs.

Jamie Iten from Ohio State University published his research on “The Impact of Ultraviolet Light on Survival and Behavior of the Human Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius Linnaeus” back in 2013. And revealed that “UV light is effective, both in killing bed bugs and in impairing their ability to reach a host“.

This means that prolonged exposure to UV light generates enough heat to diminish the natural ability of bed bugs to reach a human host for their survival. Moreover, the research also proves that correct usage of UV flashlights can kill the bed bugs.

Jamie Iten wrote that bed bugs’ eggs are more vulnerable to UV light exposure. Though, one might think that as it is extremely difficult to get rid of bed bugs’ eggs from any possible bed bug control tactics; so it must be difficult with the UV light as well.

But, here the results of this research revealed the opposite is true. As it says, “While eggs have proven to be most resistant to current control tactics, they are highly vulnerable to UV treatment.”

As far as science is concerned, UV light seems to be more effective in killing bed bug nymphs and eggs rather than the adult insect itself.

How to use UV Light To Kill Bed Bugs?

Now that you have known all the benefits of using UV light to detect and repel bed bugs, the next question is how would you use the UV light!

To repel and kill bed bugs, in addition to the above-mentioned devices, a UV flashlight can be used. UV flashlight is an effective, efficient, and easy-to-use tool. You can easily get your hands on a high-quality UV flashlight and cleanse your home from bed bugs.

Moreover, you can also find UV vacuum cleaners. These UV vacuum cleaners are great for getting rid of house dust mites, bed bugs, and other insects and germs.

The use of these devices is super easy and hassle-free. You can get all the information about their use from the instruction manual of each device.

Precautions of using UV Light

  • If the UV light torch or source is broken due to miss-handling, then be sure to completely cover your hands before holding it.
  • Dispose of the UV light wand or torch after it is used for the total mentioned hours on the packaging for its use.
  • Whether for short or long periods, exposure to UV light can be hazardous. More the intensity and exposure time, the more will be the damage.
  • Long-term exposure to UV light can cause pigmentation and sunburn on the skin. Moreover, it decreases the elasticity of the skin which is the main reason for premature aging. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use protective gloves.
  • Prolonged exposure to UV light radiation can damage the eye lens.
  • UV light exposure can cause slight discomfort in the eyes at the start. Consistent and prolonged UV light exposure can even be the reason for the loss of vision completely. So, be sure to wear protective eyewear.
  • Do not look directly at the source of UV light.
  • Overall, do read all the precautionary measures and warnings written on the packaging of the UV light device beforehand.

Better Ways Of Killing Bed Bugs

Steam cleaning

Steam cleaning is a simple yet exceptionally effective method of killing the bed bugs hiding in nooks and corners of your place. Now that we have top-notch quality steam cleaners available in the market, it has become tremendously easy to cleanse our places from harmful germs. Steam cleaners generate heat using water and electrical energy.

With the help of various types of nozzles, this steam can be directed to everywhere and anywhere around your home. You can thoroughly clean carpet, drapes, curtains, mattress, mattress cover, cushion, and other such highly susceptible places using a good quality steam cleaner. The high heating temperature of the steam kills the bed bugs, and destroy their eggs as well.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth or simply DE is another interesting, simple, harmless, and easy way of killing bed bugs and other harmful germs. Diatomaceous Earth is available in the market in powder form under various brand names. It is basically diatom, a fossilized form of algae that resides underwater as sedimentary rock.

As the Diatomaceous Earth powder is made of naturally occurring, organic material so it is harmless to use everywhere in your home.

Spread this white powder at the affected areas, and soon enough the outer shell of the bed bugs will dehydrate and die within a short period of time.

Bed bug spray

Bed bug spray is one of the most widely used and effective methods of killing bed bugs. There are different kinds of bed bug sprays available in the market. It is important to choose, non-toxic, eco-friendly, and safe bed bugs’ spray. The bed bug spray will kill any bed bug that comes in contact with it.

Killing bed bugs with UV light isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s hard to maintain prolonged exposure to adult bugs as they are likely to hide from such intense light. Still, getting a UV flash light can be helpful in preventing bed bug eggs from hatching.

 

 

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