How to Find and Kill Bed Bugs with UV Light?

How to Find and Kill Bed Bugs with UV Light?

You can use a UV light to detect bed bugs by beaming it on the areas of your room that you suspect may have bed bugs. The bed bug’s exoskeleton has phosphors that glow when shone with UV light. The blood stains and fecal matter stains that a bed bug leaves in its trail also glows under a UV light. By following the trails, you can have a pretty good estimate as to where the bed bugs hide out in your room.

UV light cannot kill bed bugs unless it is in a controlled lab environment where the bed bug is immobile and the UV light is beamed on it for extended periods of time. So, while certainly possible, it is impractical.

What is Bed Bug UV light?

Bed bug UV lights are used to detect bed bugs. They are effective at spotting the insects because bed bugs glow under UV light.

UV light will appear park purple to the human eye and is the highest wavelength of visible light. The phosphors found in the bed bug’s exoskeleton absorb the energy from the UV light and release it as a bright light, making them glow.

Do bed bugs stay away from UV light?

Bed bugs do not like light and will actively avoid it as much as they can. Bed bugs have limited visibility and they also prefer not to be out in the open where they are exposed to possible danger. While bed bugs may avoid light, they can go out during the day if they need to feed.

Bed bugs rarely return to their original hiding spots once they sense that it has been compromised. They will learn to only feed on you when it is pitch black because it is when they feel the most safe.

Will keeping a lamp on while I sleep keep the bed bugs away?

No, bed bugs have no problem venturing out even when there is a light source as long as they have learned your routine. If you always sleep at the same time every night, bed bugs will pick up on that and only come out to feed then. Bed bugs have also been observed to come out in the middle of the day because that is the sleeping time of a person who works during the evening. The light is never the issue when it comes to feeding for bed bugs, but if their host is or is not asleep.

Can UV light kill bed bugs?

No. Even though UV light can be used to detect and repel bed bugs, the UV light itself cannot kill them. They are too quick to crawl back into their hiding spots when there is any kind of light source around.

Heat is what kills bed bugs, so the UV light would have to generate enough heat to kill the bed bugs for it to be effective. Bed bugs are photophobic, so the moment a light shines on them, they will scurry away. The UV light will not have enough time to beam on a bed bug long enough to kill it.

One disadvantage of attempting to kill bed bugs with UV light is that when a group of bed bugs feels threatened an disturbed, they will scatter and go looking for new hiding spots. So you not only scared the bed bugs away, but you also made identifying their hiding spots more difficult for yourself.

So, in summation, bed bugs can be tracked with UV light detectors but they cannot be killed. A bed bug has to be caught, made immobile, have UV light beamed directly on it until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and wait for the heat to kill it.

How can I use UV light to detect bed bugs and how do I get rid of them?

Even if UV light cannot kill bed bugs effectively, it can still be a helpful tool in the overall bed bug eradication process, if used correctly.

Before you start with the eradication process, it is important to clean all of the mess and clutter in your room. This will expose any blatant bed bug harborages. Seal your infested clothes, books, and any other belongings inside sturdy plastic bags and make sure you seal them tightly. You will have to treat all of those things later on before bringing them back to your treated room.

Next, seal off any exit points that bed bugs can use to escape. Place clothes under door cracks and check your walls for any cracks and gaps bed bugs can possibly squeeze through.

Move your bed to the middle of the room so the bed bugs do not have direct access to walls to escape.

With your UV light, inspect your mattress and bed frame. Concentrate on the seams and folds as these are the bed bug’s favorite places to hide. Be sure you also check the bottom of the mattress, as well as the zipper.

If you are able to, turn the bed frame over and check all of the joints, gaps, and holes with the UV light. You can possibly find bed bug eggs there.

After thoroughly examining the bed, move on to the other furniture in the bedroom.

You can try picking a few bed bugs and put them in a small ziplock bag to show the exterminators.

If the exterminators confirm that you do have bed bugs, you can discuss possible eradication methods and their success rates. If you can afford it, ask for a heat treatment. This is when they put industrial strength heaters in the infested rooms to increase the temperature inside the room to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. They will keep this temperature stable for a couple of hours to make sure all of the bed bugs and their eggs are killed.


You can find bed bugs using a UV light by shining the light on the areas of your room that you suspect have bed bugs. These areas include your bed, carpet, walls, the furniture close to your bed, and even your books. The bed bugs, their discarded shells, blood stains, and fecal matter stains will all glow under a UV light.

You cannot kill a bed bug by quickly flashing it with a UV light. You will need a lab-controlled environment where the bed bug is stationary and the UV light is focused on the bed bug. The heat from the UV light has to reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bed bug. And it also needs to focus on the bed bug for at least an hour.

So, even though it is possible to kill a bed bug with a UV light, it is impractical and a bigger hassle than most effective bed bug treatment methods in the market.

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