Some people say that UV light can kill bed bugs, and it’s true-ish. Adult bed bugs, nymphs, and bed bug eggs can all be killed by exposure to UV light, but it’s not an effective way to clear a bed bug infestation. However, UV rays can be used to find bed bugs in your home and may help you to avoid bed bug infestation.
Do bed bugs die in UV light, or is it all a myth?
One study suggests that bed bugs (and their eggs) are killed by direct exposure to ultraviolet light. In fact, many types of bugs will die from UV exposure as it mutates their DNA.
However, UV light is not an effective measure of bed bug control for several reasons.
Bed bugs are nocturnal critters and tend to hide from visible light. This means that during the daytime (when most people attempt pest control), bed bugs are buried deep into the cracks and crevices of your mattress, pillows, and bed frame. This makes killing bed bugs using UV light very difficult, and it won’t do much to mitigate a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can also move very quickly, and it can take an hour (or even longer) for a bed bug to die from UV exposure.
So, if you do manage to blast one with ultraviolet rays, it probably won’t stay still long enough to receive a lethal dose.
Fortunately, UV light detectors can be handy for detecting bed bugs, which is the first step toward bed bug elimination.
Do bed bugs glow in UV light?
Bed bugs spend most of the day hidden away in tiny crevices around your sleeping area, so it can be hard to detect bed bugs. UV light may not be the most effective way to kill bed bugs, but a UV light device can help you find them.
This is because bed bugs glow blue or dark purple when exposed to UV light due to certain exoskeleton materials. And, they’re not alone! Other arthropods (including scorpions, spiders, and other bugs) emit an eerie glow when placed under a UV light.
If you are trying to kill or trap bed bugs, UV light can make them much easier to spot. UV light is not considered an effective method of bed bug control, but it can help do to determine:
- Whether or not you have bed bugs
- The extent of your infestation
- Bed bug hiding places
6 Tips to detect bed bugs with UV light
Ultraviolet light can kill bed bugs, but it’s not an effective means of bed bug control. However, UV light sources can make bed bugs easier to see. This can make it easier to kill bugs or prevent bed bugs infestation.
1. Prepare the space
Bed bugs feed on the blood of sleeping humans, so they’re usually found in the bedroom. As nocturnal critters, bed bugs will naturally avoid light. For this reason, they hide out in the box springs, mattress seams, headboard, and bed frames around your bed during the day. Before going bed bug hunting, you must make sure that the space is clear and easy to access. This is because bed bugs move quickly, and a cluttered bed will only hinder your efforts.
Bed bugs can also hide in clothing, so keep clothes and other fabrics well away from the infection zone. This can stop the infestation from spreading to other furniture and throughout your home.
2. Get your bed bug UV light ready
If you’re using UV light to detect bed bugs, you’ll need to have your UV light source ready to go. You can find a good UV flashlight online or in certain specialist pest control stores. Remember; bed bugs move very quickly, so have your UV light in hand and switched on before pulling back the sheets.
3. Finding bed bugs and their hiding spots
While waiting for your UV light to arrive, find those bed bug hiding places. Bed bugs stay hidden during the day and may be in the bed frame, the headboard, the seams of mattresses and sheets, and even other furniture near the bed. Their bodies are flattened (like apple seeds), so they can easily wedge themselves into small nooks and crannies around your bed. Grab a magnifying glass and look for signs of bed bug activity such as:
- Live or dead bed bugs
- Bed bug skins
- Bed bug droppings
- Rust-colored smears (from squashed, blood-fed bed bugs)
Areas with lots of bugs, skins, poo marks, or bloodstains indicate high levels of bed bug activity. Find them and remember where they are because these will be your primary targets for eliminating the infestation!
4. Turn out the lights
Bed bugs will scatter as soon as they see a bright light, so using UV light to detect bed bugs is best done in a dark room. They will be less likely to dive for cover once you rip back the sheets, and you will have a better chance of seeing them under UV light than under natural light. Bed bugs exposed to UV light will appear blue or dark purple and will be easy to spot in a dark room.
5. Move quickly
Live bugs can move like lightning, so you may miss them if you’re too slow! Once you know where they live, turn your UV flashlight on and prepare for action. When it comes to killing bed bugs, you will need to know exactly where they are, so pay attention to their hiding places.
6. Act at night
Bed bugs are nocturnal and, during daylight hours, will hide away in cracks and crevices around your bed. Your best chance of detecting bed bugs with a UV light is at night when they will be out and about. So first, turn out the lights in your bedroom, and wait an hour. Then – moving quickly – direct your UV light at areas where you’ve seen bed bug activity. If you have bed bugs, you’ll see them glowing in the dark as they run from the light.
Frequently asked questions
Do UV lights kill dust mites?
Evidence suggests that dust mites can be killed by UV c light. Studies have found that UV light can kill 100% of dust mites – but only if exposed to the UV rays for 60 minutes. UV light can also kill Bed bugs, but only after 5 – 10 seconds of direct exposure. So, theoretically, you can kill lots of bugs with UV light, but, in practice, it is an ineffective method of pest control. This is because dust mites (and bed bugs) must be exposed to the light source for longer than they are typically willing to stay still.
Most insects and other bugs also breed quickly, so you are unlikely to exterminate a large infestation using UV light. More effective pest control methods include insecticidal sprays, poison baits, heat treatments, or even fumigation.
If you have a significant pest infestation, the quickest and most effective way to get rid of it is with the help of a pest control service. Your local pest control professionals will have the expertise to assess the type and extent of your infestation and recommend the best treatment plan for your situation.
Do bed bugs see UV light and are scared?
UV light kills bed bugs, but only if you can get them to stay still for long enough. Unfortunately, bed bugs tend to run and hide as soon as they are exposed to light and will usually escape before you can deliver a fatal dose.
Conclusion – So, does UV light kill bed bugs?
Bed bugs shy away from visible light, and some studies have shown that live bugs, bed bug nymphs, and bed bug eggs can all be killed by UV light exposure. However, this is not considered an effective measure of bed bug control. This is mainly because bed bugs move too quickly to receive a fatal dose of targeted UV light and are usually too high in number to pick off one by one.
Uv light makes it easy to detect bed bugs, but killing them may take a little more work. If your infestation is small, you may be able to detect and kill bedbugs by yourself. Unfortunately, most bed bug infestations require extensive and professional treatments to eliminate and are best left in the hands of pest control professionals. A pest control expert will also be able to definitively identify your problem – whether it’s bed bugs or other bugs.