Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Black Light Photography

To attract the insects to locations that I can then photograph them, I use a black light. It’s fairly easy to set up and there’s many ways to accomplish this. We tried several techniques before we found the one that worked for us. We had an oak quilt hanging rack that we don’t use any longer, so we repurposed it to hang the white sheet. This quilt rack is made to clamp together, holding the quilt so that it wouldn’t be damaged with holes when it was screwed into the studs. To keep it together without the need for screws each time as that would eventually wear the screw holes, we used hand clamps. Then we screwed long screws into the top of the garage door frame and hung this over the screws.

I used a white sheet set. I removed the elastic from the fitted sheet and hemmed it then I sewed it to the “top” of the flat sheet. Then I opened the sides of that “top” hem and placed a leftover metal conduit pipe through the casing that was made. This pipe provides enough weight to keep the sheet taut and mostly still when a breeze comes through.

The black light is a 4’ long shop light fixture that holds 2 black light tubes. We purchased these at Menard’s. With the chain on the shop light, we added a length of rope that would allow us to slip the fixture over a ladder so the light was about shoulder high.

Here’s a shot of our complete set up.

Black light photography