We’ve all experienced the violet glow at arcades, nightclubs and bowling alleys and gave credit to the blacklights. However, “blacklight” is not necessarily the correct term when referring to these fun light bulbs. There are two types of blacklights – blacklight bulbs (BL) and blacklight blue bulbs (BLB) – and they each serve different purposes. The difference between the two bulbs is the amount of ultraviolet light they emit in relation to visible white light. All fluorescent light bulbs have a special phosphor coating, which determines what amount of visible light is seen. Let’s take a look at a few other fundamental differences between the two blacklight bulb types.
BLACKLIGHT BLUE BULBS
Blacklight blue bulbs have a dark blue, almost black, coating. They use “Wood’s Glass”, a nickel-oxide coated glass, which blocks all visible light – allowing a faint violet glow to escape. When the phosphors are activated it’s known as luminescence and this makes objects near them appear to glow. Blacklight blue bulbs are commonly used for special effects, forensics, dermatology and medical applications, such as phototherapy for newborns with jaundice.
Blacklight bulbs appear white in color like a typical fluorescent tube when they're turned off. Turn them on and they glow electric blue through UV transmissive glass. Contrary to their name, blacklight bulbs have a bluer light than blacklight blue bulbs, which appear violet. They are ideal for use in bug zappers since flying insects can see their emitted UV light and are attracted to it.
Instead of attracting bugs, which blacklights are good for, yellow bug lights are great for keeping those pesky insects away. Most insects cannot see yellow light so they will not be drawn to it.
Still a bit confused? Whether you’re looking to attract insects or set your party aglow, our Customer Service Reps will be able to assist you in choosing the right blacklight (or blacklight blue) bulb. Give them a call at 877.231.2852 or leave a comment below.