Do Bed Bug Detector Lights Work?

Prevention is better than cure and it is far better to find and eliminate the bed bugs in your home on your own than to let the problem fester to the point where you need to call in an extermination squad. One of the ways you can do this is by using a good bed bug detector light. But do they actually work? And how well do they work? Those are the questions we shall examine in this post. Read on to find out more.

Many of us are not overly familiar with the little creatures known as bed bugs while others are all TOO familiar with them, having had to dispose of our beloved, comfy mattresses and pillows as a result of the predations of these critters.

Bed bugs can manifest themselves in pretty much any house, office or apartment and wreak serious damage in all of them. They can even appear in public places like trains, cinemas, schools, hospitals, shelters, and even laundromats. Pretty much any location that contains upholstery or furniture is a potential breeding ground for bed bugs.

The critters themselves are small, flat organisms which, as a result, can maneuver into any crack in a piece of furniture. They also find it quite easy to get inside your bag or clothes when you enter any location where they may be found. Once you bring them back into your house, they will rapidly start breeding to the point where your entire house will be infected. Bed bugs are not as serious of a threat as they were 50 to 60 years ago due to improvements in hygiene and lifestyle. They do seem to be experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately due to the increase in international travel and overseas immigration, though. Indeed, your luggage and the other items that you travel with are excellent potential bed bug carriers! These pests like the heat, so you are most likely to give them a free ride home with you when you return from visiting tropical countries.

As mentioned, bed bugs love furniture and the most common places where they are found are beds, bedding (like pillows and quilts), and any surrounding furniture like dressers, nightstands, chairs, and couches. You can also find them on the carpet, walls, and ceiling as well as in your clothes. Poorly washed or old furniture and bedding are more likely to serve as homes to bed bugs.

Detecting bed bugs: Reading the signs

Now that you know the main kinds of places frequented by bed bugs, you need to learn how to read the signs that they are present in those areas. Often, the clearest signs are on you!

Bed bugs bite and their bites result in red spots that can be found on any part of the human body. They usually come in sets of about 2-3 bites in a single row.

Redness and itching generally accompany the bites of these insects as well.

Some other signs of a bed bug infestation include spots of blood on your mattress or sheets (another piece of evidence from their bites) and also little black dots, which are actually the insect’s feces.

Bed bug detectors

That is all very well and good to know, but how do you find out where the bed bugs actually are hiding in your home. You need to know this in order to eliminate them! Again, rather than call pest control, which is expensive and time-consuming, you probably want to be able to solve this problem on your own. One option to help you here could be a good bed bug detector light. These are small, portable devices that enable you to search your furniture and upholstery to find individual bed bugs which, due to their transparent color, you would not be able to see with the naked eye. It goes without saying that these lights give the best results when used in dim lighting conditions or in the dark. Even when using these lights, you still have to be very thorough and attentive to catch any bed bugs.

Bed bug detector lights: Do they work?

The first thing to note here is that detector lights for bed bugs aren’t actually anything special – they are typically just UV black lights. As with many other products, they are just rebranded and renamed so that they can sound like something more specialized to the need the customer has. Of course, that alone doesn’t mean that they don’t work.

So, can UV black lights work for detecting bed bugs? Sure, they can. But don’t take that as a recommendation. The basic principle in which UV lights work is that they emit ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet spectrum is invisible to the human eye so even though most of the black light looks purple, the UV light itself is actually invisible. If you do have a UV flashlight at home for pet urine or for any other purpose – feel free to use it for bed bugs detection as well.

What makes it effective is that substances that contain phosphors can fluorescent, which means that they absorb energy and re-emit it as visible light. So, when we shine UV light on phosphors, they absorb the UV light and emit visible light back at us. That’s how fluorescent items achieve their pretty effect and that’s how you can use UV light to detect bed bugs. There aren’t that many studies on fluorescence in insects, there are some to which we can refer to such as this one from Victoria L Welch.

In short, bed bugs, like many other insects, contain phosphors in their shell so they can technically be fluorescent under a black light.

According to the authorities, the best method of removing bed bugs on your own is a combination of a study flashlight, a credit card, and some sticky tape. Use the light and the credit card to dislodge bed bugs by sliding the edge of your card along the crevices and cracks in your furniture and mattresses to push the bugs out. Use sticky tape to trap any bugs that have been flushed out.


There you have it! Bed bugs are a menace to your comfort and wellbeing if not controlled from the outset. Rather than have to call pest control to come out and remove them, most of us would prefer to deal with the problem in its earliest stages. One means of doing so is with a bed bug detector light. The jury is still out on these products, however, with most of the products currently available having received very mixed reviews. Do not let that stop you from giving them a go, though, and reporting the results back to us!


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I just got a black light so I can check for bed bugs. I see little specks of white in seems and even on clothes that have just been washed and dried. Is that bed bugs or what?


    Did they move? Those could be bed bugs, but it might as well be a dried up laundry detergent that didn’t wash out properly, due to some of them containing fluorescers to make the fabric brighter. It’s hard to tell from the info I have available on your comment.

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