Why do some things glow under a UV/black light?

What do scorpions and teeth have in common? They both glow under a UV/black light! If you think about it, we see these types of lights quite often, in amusement parks, Halloween, bowling alleys, and even pest control. The real question is why do some things glow under UV/black lights, while others don’t?


A black light is actually a type of UV light, there are many types of UV or Ultraviolet lights, but the one in a black light is specifically UV-A. Ultraviolet light is a type of light with a less than normal wavelength, meaning it is out of the the visibility spectrum. UV lights are the the same type of light that emits from the sun. When these UV lights hit and reflect off of certain things, interesting reactions will happen. For example, when UV rays from the sun hit your skin you could get sunburned. In the case of a black light, when the UV light hits the chemical element phosphorus, it reacts by glowing. “Coincidentally”, phosphorus is common in plasma screen televisions, certain fabrics, teeth, fingernails, and scorpions! So if you’re ever at a bowling alley and your shirt, teeth, and fingernails start to glow, the answer is phosphorus!


Anthony Ball is a Content Marketing Manager with Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. Bulwark is fully operational in nine states, including thirteen major cities. While Bulwark provides pest extermination for common pests like ants, roaches, crickets and spiders; the company's differentiating aspect is great personalized service. Bulwark uses the finest and most effective products in the world to solve common pest problems.

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One thought on “Why do some things glow under a UV/black light?

  1. so ive notice its a paristic worm and it cavses a type of mites that are invisable my dad thinks im crazy but i felt them craweling on me espesailly at night at first i thought that it could be a scapies mite and got the cream and took showers and cleaned everything got new clothes then i seen these white string lint fluff balls that bit and itch like hell a vinager bath helps draw it out of ur skin and the cream for mites help but u have to be cosistent cause it can come back it might have to do with bird mites or something rodants carry and we end up touching and it poduces fast like lice larva and heat makes it spread so cold enviorment kill the bug so it could be a germ or fungal bateria but it needs a host to live off like a bateria parisite

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