My black-light set up!

So, in preparation of National Moth Week, I want to update some folks about my black-lighting set up! Now, I still use some of the equipment from BioQuip (unfortunately, they went out of business), but I've also been using some new gear.

Mercury vapor bulb - super power! So, this does not run on any of my batteries, this only works via an outlet. This mercury vapor I got from BioQuip, so I don't know where you could get one... I put it on a tripod rather than hang it up. It tends to be a bit too powerful, to be honest -- it's kinda painful on my eyes, even when I'm not even looking at it! It brings in LOTS though, so I still use it from time to time.

BioQuip UV lights - these are the circular lights -- I was fortunate enough to purchase 5 of these, and so far, they still work! I wish wish wish I knew where one could still get these, but alas, I can't seem to find them anywhere...
I have a few different batteries to run these-- I have a Yeti 1000X and then two Yeti 200X:
The batteries are a bit pricey, but they are pretty long lasting.

New lights -- so I've found that the relatively cheap UV lights are pretty good! There are a lot of options for these, but the flat black-lights powered by USB have been quite productive:
I think that the main characteristic needed is the spectrum of 385-400nm...
I use portable chargers to run these:
I'll also use some USB extension cords so that I can hang these lights from one of the taller branches:

I did also just purchase a new black-light from This was fairly pricey, and I've not yet gotten it, so we'll see how it functions!

As for sheets, I use the fairly cheap white bed sheets. The ones that are fairly consistent in thread count/pattern are the most useful, I think. These are usually around 10 bucks.

To hang the sheets, I use a bunch of clothes pins and try to place them on branches/trees/shrubs so they stay put... Now, if there's some wind, that stinks for the photography and for the moths to stay still on the sheets... The more still the conditions, the better!

One of the things that my good friend @k8thegr8 got me was magnets! I use these magnets to secure a few sheets on the sides of my vehicle. I then hang up the BioQuip UV lights close to these sheets.

As always, I tend to see the most biodiversity in areas with good wildlife habitat (diversity of plants), and if there is relatively little light pollution.

Posted on 15 July, 2023 02:06 by sambiology sambiology


The LepiLED is a newer option from Germany as well. Runs off of power banks. The cost is somewhere around $400 depending on Euro exchange rate. Now that bioquip is gone, I might be looking into one of these.

Posted by k8thegr8 8 months ago

Thanks Sam!

Posted by jblinde 8 months ago

Thank you, Sam! Have you tried your new entoquip light yet? Would love to hear what you think of it.

PS--Brian Shrock and Rich Sommer came up with the great idea of using opaque rain barrels for light stations and they use them for monthly moth nights at Exploration Green (Houston). Set up is super quick--just drop a couple of led strips in the bunghole and you're good to go. Great for windy conditions.

Posted by rednat 7 months ago

Thanks for the reminder to mention this, @rednat -- I LOVE the new entolight!! It's quite bright, and it is a bit warmer to the touch than the other UV lights, but it does seem to bring quite a bit to the sheets. :)

Posted by sambiology 6 months ago

Hi Sam, thanks for feedback. Oooh, I think I know what I'm getting for my birthday!

Posted by rednat 6 months ago

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