How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food?

On average, bed bugs can live between 20 and 400 days without food.

But, this is highly dependent on the conditions that the bed bugs are living in.

Bed bugs will live longer in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

They’ll also live longer high humidity, which offers them the moisture they need to survive.

Adult bed bugs can survive longer than nymphs. Nymphs typically need to eat more often so that they can continue molting to reach adulthood.

As a precautionary measure, most pest control professionals wait between 12-14 months before they believe a bed bug population will die of starvation.

​How Does A Bed Bug Feed?

bed bug labium

A bed bug is a blood-sucking insect that primarily lives on the blood of humans.

Their mouthparts of bed bugs are designed explicitly for penetrating the skin and sucking blood.

They use a pointed, beak-like mouth, called the labium.

You might be wondering why we don’t see this beak-like mouth.

This is because their mouth gets folded under their head.

Underneath their head and pronotum, there is a unique groove to hold their labium.

This groove extends back to their first pair of legs.

When bed bugs are ready to feed to withdraw their labium and inject it into a capillary on our skin.

We usually don’t feel this injection because bed bugs inject their saliva, which acts as an anesthetic and anticoagulant.

This ensures that our blood smoothly flows into their mouth and that we don’t feel it.

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs rely on blood to survive.

They use blood as their only source of energy.

They prefer human blood but will resort to the other warm-blooded mammals.

Most commonly, bed bugs will resort to feeding on household pets such as dogs, cats, and birds.

In some cases, bed bugs may also feed on rodents if there are no other food sources around.

​Is Blood The Only Thing That Bed Bugs Eat?

Yes, blood is the only thing that bed bugs do and can eat.

Due to the anatomy of the bed bugs mouth, the only thing they can eat is blood.

They do not have teeth or mandibles capable of chewing.

The bed bugs mouth is specially adapted to consume blood and therefore that is the only thing they eat.

They will feed on more than humans. To survive bed bugs will feed on other warm-blooded mammals.

How Often Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Adult and nymph bed bugs only feed on about once every 7 – 10 days.

This means that all bed bugs are not out feeding every night.

In most cases, most of the bed bug population is hiding and digesting their blood meal.

How Long Does A Bed Bug Feed?

Once bed bugs find a host, they feed for around 5-10 minutes.

Adult bed bugs typically feed longer than nymphs.

This is primarily because adults have larger abdomens that nymph bed bugs.

Bed bugs feed until their abdomens are filled with blood.

To achieve this, bed bugs typically have to prick you more than once.

Bed bug bites typically happen in clusters.

The bite clusters are often referred to as breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the bed bug since there are typically three.

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs rely on blood to survive.

They use blood as their only source of energy.

They prefer human blood but will resort to the other warm-blooded mammals.

Most commonly, bed bugs will resort to feeding on household pets such as dogs, cats, and birds.

In some cases, bed bugs may also feed on rodents if there are no other food sources around.

How Long Can Baby Bed Bugs Live Without Feeding?

Baby bed bugs or newly hatched bed bugs can survive a much shorter period without blood than adult bed bugs.

Baby bed bugs or nymphs require a blood meal before they can molt and grow.

Bed bugs go through 5 nymph stages, meaning they need at least five blood meals to become adults.

On average, baby bed bugs can live between three and six months without a blood meal.

The farther along the bed bug is in the nymph development stages, the longer it can survive.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In An Empty House?

If there are no food sources present in the house, then a bed bug can survive for between 1 month and 14 months in an empty house.

This highly depends on if there are any food sources inside the home.

Bed bugs will resort to eating other warm-blooded mammals if humans are present.

In empty houses, it’s not uncommon for bed bugs to leave to find rodents or birds to feed on.

If they can successfully find a different host, bed bugs will have no issue surviving inside an empty home.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In A Plastic Bag?

Placing bed bugs in a plastic bag is not an effective way of killing bed bugs.

If there is air inside the bag bed bugs will have no problem surviving.

With air inside a plastic bag, you will need to starve the bed bug to death.

This can take anywhere between 20 days and 400 days depending on the conditions of the bag.

It’s likely that they will live much less than 400 days if you can reduce the humidity in the bad and increase the heat.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Air?

Research shows that bed bugs can last between 8 and 12 hours without air.

The easiest and most effective way of doing this is using a vacuum sealer.

By placing your items inside a vacuum-sealed bag, you can suffocate them.

It is important that there are no air pockets in your bag.

If there are, bed bugs will survive for much longer.

Can Bed Bugs Live In Your Car?

Yes, bed bugs can live in your car.

First, they can get in your car by hitching a ride on your clothes, furniture, bags, or any other items that you might bring into your vehicle.

Bed bugs can survive if they are able to feed on you while you drive.

They will likely hide near the driver’s side or in the back if you have car seats with children.

Can You Starve Bed Bugs to Death?

Yes, you can starve a bed bug to death, but it takes a long time.

Bed bugs can survive between 20 and 400 days without food.

To starve bed bugs, you need to eliminate any blood sources that bed bugs may feed on.

In houses, this can be done by isolating bed bugs away from the source of food.

You can do this by using mattress encasements or by placing infested items in a plastic bag.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In The Cold?

Yes, you can kill bed bugs with cold temperatures.

When exposed to temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, they will die in about four days.

If you are trying to kill bed bugs with cold temperatures, it’s vital that you begin your timeline once your item’s temperatures reach 0 degrees and not when you place it inside a cold storage area.

In the cold, bed bugs become inactive, but they don’t die immediately.

With prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, they will eventually die.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs typically typically live for around 8 months to 1 year from eggs to full grown adult. 

It typically takes between 10 and 14 days for bed bugs eggs to hatch. 

After hatching bed bugs go through five nymph stages which typically takes between 6 and 8 weeks. 

Once at the adult stage they live between 4 and 6 months. 

This assumes that they are feeding regularly. 

If bed bugs are not feeding regularly they can extend their lifespan as an adult and live for between 12 and 14 months without food. 

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live After Spraying?

After spraying bed bugs can die instantly or live between 3 and 6 weeks. 

How long they live afterwards will depend on the chemical and if the bed bugs were sprayed with insecticide. 

Certain insecticides such as crossfire plus provides both an instant kill on bed bugs and has a lasting residual effect on bed bugs. 

With direct contact bed bugs die within 5 minutes. It has a residual effect that lasts up to 30 days and will kill bed bugs withing 24 hours after coming into contact with the chemical. 

Natural products such as Eco Raider does not provide instant kills but delivers 100% mortality rates after 14 days.  

Leave a Comment