How Long Can Bed Bugs Live without Food?

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Camila Smith
Camila Smith
Camila is ecstatic to be a member of Foods Explorer's amazing editorial staff. She collaborates with recipe writers, food writers, and content makers to create recipes that have an impact and practical cooking guides. She is an accomplished content strategist with expertise in managing social media, creating branded content, newsletter and headline writing, video creation, and many more areas.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food?: There are many small plants, animals, and parasites that exist in this world; one of the unique parasites that exist is bed bugs. They are said to be unique as they don’t eat leftovers like organic waste, any dead skin, etc.

Instead, these parasites feed themselves with human blood. Their bite of feeding human blood leaves an itchy and red welt. These bugs can survive for up to 1 year even if they are not feeding on human blood.

It doesn’t matter what place you’re noticing them. You will find them quite frustrating every time in every place and this is definitely a serious issue. As they are small parasites that can crawl easily.

Also, they tend to transfer colonies, that is they leave their colonies in various places like carpets, furniture, and more such things. It is very difficult to notice them but in case you discover one or two of them then you need to be worried about it.

As they always live in groups. If you are ignoring them without thinking that they are not feeding the human blood so they’ll die soon. But it won’t work like this. These bugs are able to stay alive even without human blood.

So you should not ignore it, instead consider calling for pest control. In this article, you will learn about bed bugs, how to remove them from your house, and every other detail.

How Long Can A Bed Bug Survive Without Feeding On Human Blood?

According to research, bed bugs can live up to 15 months. Even if they are unable to consume their food, that is human blood. But this needs a special condition that is low temperature up to 50°F.

On the other hand, some research says that bed bugs can stay alive only for 3 months when the temperature and humidity are high, say around (78°F).

So at the normal room temperature, these bed bugs can live up to 3 to 5 months without feeding on human blood. Other than temperature, the other factor for bed bugs is their age. The bugs of adult age can survive longer than the young ones without human blood. As young ones are not developed completely. 

How Do They Survive So Long Without Food?

Actually, bugs have the capability to hold on to any sort of moisture. The wax coating on their shell helps them to prevent the evaporation of liquid or moisture. This is one of the reasons which helps bugs to stay alive so long without feeding.

What Things Keep The Bed Bugs Alive When They Don’t Eat Food?

There are two important factors that help bed bugs to stay alive even without food. As discussed earlier, the temperature and age factor depends on their life span. But living without food is not possible for young ones as they do not develop so long without food.

The other factor that matters is the activity level and their habitat. The ones who live in a small area tend to live more as they search for food only in a smaller portion. That is why their energy won’t burn out quickly.

Usually, bugs eat only once in a 3-4 days period on average. Young bugs and Nymphs will not survive for a few months instead they will start starving for food within 2 to 4 weeks. 

What Do Bed Bugs Eat? 

They usually feed human blood and the specific time for doing this is generally at night. As people sleep during this time and their body parts such as their face, neck and hands are exposed to the bugs.

The mouth of bugs is elongated which is useful to pierce the skin of human beings and after that, they suck the blood. The mouth of bed bugs consists of four stylets that they can fold when it is not in use to them.

But bed bugs don’t disturb your sleep. They are different from cockroaches and do not feed leftovers or any organic waste. 

They are neither like cockroaches nor like other parasites. They are unique, they don’t even feed the dead skin. As they can’t do it because of their shape, that is why only blood is their favorite food.

What Are Other Food Items That Bugs Eat Besides Blood? 

The main source of food is human blood but if it is not available then they feed on warm blooded animals such as dogs, birds, cats, and rodents. This is because of the emission of carbon monoxide.

These animals emit this, which attracts bed bugs and they start feeding it.

What Happened After The Bite Of The Bed Bugs?

According to researchers, bed bugs usually use their saliva while feeding on blood. This saliva helps them to prevent coagulation. This saliva results in irritation to human skin. You can see its adverse effects of it after a while.

It causes irritation to the skin and you will feel the sensation of itching because of this bite. After a day you will start noticing swelling that seems just like mosquitoes bite. Because of scratching you will notice a red welt.

Some individuals may experience anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Also, these marks don’t look good. Some people may experience allergies and some experience a secondary infection just like impetigo, lymphangitis, and ecthyma.

These bugs consume around 6 times more blood than their body size. A good thing is that they don’t have pathogens that result in human diseases. Also, they don’t cause any infections like viral, HIV, Hepatitis B, and AIDS. 

Do Bed Bugs Feed On Humans Every Night?

No, they don’t feed every night. Usually, bugs feed every 3 to 4 days. In one meal they consume 6 times their body weight which makes them feel full for another few days. They sit on one host for around 15 minutes.

What Other Things Make Bugs Starve? 

Actually bugs not only live on a mattress but they can stay anywhere in a room. So there are a few techniques you can use to make them starve. 

  • Change your sleeping place. Although it won’t help you much, as one or two bugs are already with you. But you can make the rest of their group starve.
  • Seal your room completely.
  • Consider using lures and traps all around your bed, especially on the corners. 
  • You can dispose and throw it away according to your will. 
  • You should try to sleep in tight clothes as it will make it difficult for bugs to feed.
  • Usually, these bugs search for open skin. That’s why any kind of cloth or hair or any obstacle will make it difficult.
  • You can use repellent that will keep the bugs away.

What Does A Bug Do After Feeding?

After a female bed bugs feed, she can lay an egg. In their life, they lay around 500 eggs in total. Small yellow or red spots are signs of digested blood. Bed bugs live in bed sofas, mattresses, and other resting places.

The feeding of blood helps in the development of an egg in an adult. This process of growing is known as metamorphosis. Bed bugs need human blood to go through 5 stages of larval after they molt.

Adults can easily stay alive even without food if they are at their ideal temperature. In the case of eggs and during larval they can stay alive but their growth will stop. Also, female bugs are unable to lay eggs if they don’t feed blood

How Frequently Do Bed Bugs Bite?

Possibly if you have bed bugs in your house, then you will wake up with around 2 to 3 bites. Sometimes even more than that. But on average one bug feeds after every 3 to 4 days because a one-time meal makes them full and their digestion needs time.

But they need to feed more frequently in case of temperature changes. As temperature changes are one of the major factors that affect their life span, digestion, growth, and many other things. 

In warm temperatures, they feed more generally within 2 days. On the other hand, during winters they need to feed only once a week.

If you woke up with more than 2  bites each night, then you need to worry. Because you got many bugs at your place. Maybe around 5 to 20 bugs or it may vary depending upon the temperature. 

Can Bugs Enter The Bloodstream?

No, they cannot do that. All they can do is bite you and make you experience their saliva on your skin.

How Long Does A Bug Live In A Vacant House?

If your house is infested with bugs then you need to move out and perform pest control. But in case they infest an empty house then there is no need to worry they will die on their own. As they don’t get their food, that is human blood.

So they will not live much longer. In an empty house, they don’t stay alive for more than 5 months. A host to feed is a necessity for their living. The absence of their host will make their lives shorter.

The rest depends upon the temperature of that house. In some scenarios even if the house is, it is recommended to perform pest control or else these bugs will cause harm to your furniture.

How Long Does A Bed Bug Live On Average?

From developing to an adult from an egg to the dead bed bug they cover it all in two to three months. Although the speed of growing old depends upon different factors like temperature and climate, accessibility to food.

If the temperature is hot then they digest their food more quickly & need to feed more, this slows down the growing age of a bug. The opposite happens in the cold climate. If the hot climate continues they can live up to a year.

How To Kill A Bed Bug Instantly?

There are various ways to get rid of bed bugs but the following techniques of commercial pest control will help you to kill them instantly:-

Steam

  • The high temperature of the stream that is up to 100 degrees celsius will kill them instantly. You can hire some professional services or else buy a small machine for steam like Bissell Steam Shot Steam Cleaner, or McCulloch Canister Steam Cleaner. These are worthy enough and will definitely solve your problem.
  • Now, allow the steam to go from the edges of your bed mattress, sofa, and corners as well. As usual, bugs hide themselves in these places. If you are getting worried that the bugs will blow because of steam then consider placing a towel on the upper portion of the steamer.
  • Then move the steamer slowly all around and make sure that the steam will reach till the end of the fabric. Provide the steam directly on the furniture that has the bed and sofa.  
  • Also, make sure to steam again after a few days to check that all the bugs are removed. But try to be extra careful while you are using a steamer as it may result in causing damage to your furniture or fabrics.
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Fumigation

This is another way to eliminate bugs. Lethal gas is helpful to eradicate and it performs pest functions. It might be a little costly or but this will definitely be successful in killing bugs in your house. Consider leaving your house for a few days. Transfer the furniture set to a particular area. One thing that you need to know is that this process will remove bed bugs and helps in mosquito control but it won’t assure you of further prevention from reinfestation.

Final Words 

So now you know that bed bugs can live up to 5 months and the rest vary depending on the condition. Concluding the article that the survival of these bugs depends on humidity, temperature, climate, habitat, and the accessibility to their host, that is their food, human blood. 

They tend to live more in smaller places as their energy remains stored for a longer time. If the bed bug infested your home then you need to do something immediately like perform pest control or kill them using the methods mentioned above.

But in case they infest a vacant house then you don’t need to be worried, as these bugs will die because of the unavailability of food. But keep a check on your furniture or anything that bugs may cause harm.

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