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Posted by Whitney Grantling on 22nd Sep 2015

6 Fun Facts: Black Light Bulbs

Ever seen a black light and wondered how it works? Other than color, black lights are not that different from your everyday  light bulbs. The biggest difference between regular lights and UV black lights is that they emit most of their light waves outside of the ultraviolet part of the spectrum that humans can see.

purple glow from a black light bulb

1. Black lights are purple for a reason.

black light bulb produces UVA light (as opposed to UVB light). These ultraviolet light frequencies are above violet on the spectrum and are invisible to the human eye. So, what you see glowing under a black light, whether on a Halloween fluorescent poster, invisible handstamp, or a glow in the dark T-shirt, are phosphors. For you and me, a phosphor is any substance that emits visible light when excited by some sort of radiation. A phosphor converts the energy in the UV radiation from a black light into visible light.

2. Did you know you can detect bed bugs with black lights?

You need these household items: a black light, one magnifying glass & one credit card. Shine the UV light onto the area of concern, and the UV black light will draw the bed bugs out. Next, use the magnifying glass to spot the bed bugs. Then use the old credit card to squash them.

Halco Spiral Black Light Bulb

3. Black lights and radiation

Did you know the UV inside of the black bulb is a source of radiation but won’t harm your eyes or skin when used responsibly? When used excessively, it can destroy vitamin A in your skin, so don’t use black lights too frequently.

4. Black lights and plant life

Indoor garden sound cool? Well, it can be with a black light. Black lights used in indoor gardens act as artificial sunlight for the plants and allow them to complete photosynthesis. Unfortunately, this light doesn’t give enough minerals for plants to reproduce. Most of the time,  linear fluorescent black light bulbs are used.

5. Black lights can make certain fish glow.

Ever seen your fish glow? With a black light, you can! Clownfish, neon tetras, and platinum angelfish all glow better because of their white tent. However, they should not be used to heat your fish tank because black light UV bulbs could be harmful to the fish. They are least harmful in the 315 to 380nm range, but should not stay on the fish for too long. Black lights are only safe to use near fish in small doses, such as one or two hours a day.

a black light bulb

Black lights can be a fun addition, especially if you are using them for special occasions. Here’s a bonus Halloween fun fact: Did you know that black lights are one of the more popular purchases for decorating bowling alleys, haunted houses, and Halloween parties?

If you need a black light for your next party or just to add a fun element to your indoor garden, you can find them at Atlanta Light Bulbs.