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Question of the Week

Name: Marty
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2013-14


Why does black light attract more insects than white light? And is black light considered UV?

Answers from Our Expert Staff

Some insects can see ultraviolet and they use that light to home in on their targets. Bees for example use that extra sight to find flowers with pollen. It makes sense then, that some insects would be attracted to the "black light" since bright ultraviolet signals usually mean food.

The black lights you see are indeed a type of ultraviolet called near or long wave ultraviolet because it is very near the visible blue we see in wavelength. There are sources of light that are deeper into the ultraviolet region. Called short wave ultraviolet, these sources can cause minerals to light up giving off many different and beautiful colors you don't see in regular light.

Thanks for the great question.
Bob Avakian
Okmulgee, OK

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