How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food

Are you dealing with a bed bug infestation in your home? If so, it’s important to understand their feeding habits and how long they can survive without food.

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are typically found in beds, couches, and other furniture where people sleep or sit for extended periods of time.

Bed bugs can go several months without feeding if necessary, but their lifespan without food depends on various factors such as temperature, humidity levels, and age.

As a homeowner dealing with these pests, it’s essential to know how long they can live without food so that you can take the necessary steps to eradicate them from your home.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors affecting bed bugs’ lifespan without food and provide tips on how to effectively get rid of them. We’ll also discuss signs of a bed bug infestation and the risks associated with these pesky insects.

Key Takeaways

  • Bed bugs can go several months without feeding, but their lifespan without food depends on temperature, humidity, and age.
  • Temperature fluctuations affect their lifespan without food, and they survive for shorter periods at warmer temperatures.
  • Bed bugs can live longer without food in cold storage or lower temperatures, and they thrive in high humidity conditions.
  • Bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding on blood, making them tough to eliminate once infested.

Overview of Bed Bugs and Their Feeding Habits

You may be wondering about bed bugs and how they feed, so let’s take a closer look at their habits.

Bed bugs are small, blood-sucking insects that primarily feed on humans and animals. They are nocturnal creatures and typically feed during the night when their hosts are asleep.

Bed bug behavior is interesting as they require a blood meal to molt into each new life stage. They can go up to several months without feeding if necessary, but prefer to feed every 5-7 days.

When they do feed, bed bugs pierce the skin of their host with two hollow tubes: one tube injects saliva which contains anesthetic properties while the other tube draws out blood. This process usually takes around 10 minutes, after which bed bugs retreat back to their hiding places until it’s time for another meal.

Factors Affecting Bed Bugs’ Lifespan Without Food

When it comes to the lifespan of bed bugs without food, there are several factors that can affect their survival. These factors include temperature, humidity, age, and size of the bed bugs. Depending on these variables, bed bugs can survive anywhere from a few weeks to several months without a blood meal.

Understanding these factors can help you better manage and prevent bed bug infestations in your home or business.


At warmer temperatures, bed bugs can survive for shorter periods of time without a blood meal, but they can still go several months before needing to feed again. Temperature fluctuations are one of the primary factors that affect their lifespan without food.

When exposed to high temperatures above 100°F (38°C), bed bugs cannot survive for more than a few hours. Extreme heat can quickly dehydrate and kill them.

On the other hand, if you store your belongings in cold storage or keep your home at lower temperatures, bed bugs may be able to live for longer without feeding. At cooler temperatures between 46-55°F (8-13°C), they can enter into a state of suspended animation known as diapause, where their metabolism slows down and they stop growing or reproducing.

This allows them to conserve energy and wait until better conditions arise before resuming activity. However, even in this state, they still need regular access to water sources to prevent dehydration and death.


Feeling uncomfortable in a damp environment? High humidity can be a breeding ground for those pesky bed bugs. Bed bugs thrive in conditions where there is high humidity, and they can survive longer without food when the air is moist.

This means that if you live in a humid area, it may take longer to get rid of bed bugs completely. Humidity control is an essential factor in controlling bed bug infestations.

If you’re dealing with bed bugs, make sure to keep the humidity levels low by using dehumidifiers or air conditioners. This will not only help prevent their survival but also ensure that your home remains comfortable and healthy for you and your family.

Taking these steps will help reduce the impact of high humidity on bed bug survival and ultimately lead to their eradication.

Age and Size of Bed Bugs

As these blood-sucking pests grow in age and size, they become even more elusive and difficult to eliminate. Bed bugs go through five stages of development before reaching adulthood, with each stage marked by a molting process.

As bed bugs mature, they typically increase in size, making them harder to detect and control. Feeding behavior also changes as bed bugs grow older. While younger nymphs require feeding every few days, adults can go several months without feeding if necessary.

This ability to survive extended periods without a blood meal makes adult bed bugs particularly tough to get rid of once they have infested a space. In fact, it’s not uncommon for an infestation to persist despite repeated treatment attempts due to the survival capabilities of adult bed bugs.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Feeding?

Did you know that bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding on blood? It’s true! This is just one of the many fascinating aspects of bed bug behavior.

Here are five more interesting things to know about their feeding patterns:

  • Bed bugs typically feed every 3-7 days, but they can go longer if necessary.
  • When a bed bug feeds, it can consume up to three times its own body weight in blood.
  • After feeding, a bed bug will retreat to its hiding spot and digest the blood meal over several days.
  • If no hosts are available, bed bugs will enter a state of dormancy known as diapause, where they can survive for months without food or water.
  • Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and body heat, which is why they tend to bite people while they sleep.

Knowing these facts about bed bug behavior and feeding patterns can help you better understand how these pests operate. While it may be unsettling to think about them surviving for so long without food, remember that there are effective ways to get rid of them if they do invade your home.

How to Effectively Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Looking to effectively get rid of bed bugs? You’ve got a few options.

First, you can hire professional pest control services to handle the infestation for you.

Alternatively, you can try DIY methods such as vacuuming and using bed bug spray.

To prevent future infestations, be sure to regularly clean and inspect your bedding and furniture.

Professional Pest Control Services

Professional pest control services can effectively eliminate bed bugs, ensuring that they don’t have a chance to live another day. Hiring a professional bed bug extermination company has numerous benefits over trying to tackle the problem on your own.

Pest control experts have the experience and knowledge needed to identify all of the potential hiding spots where bed bugs could be living, including cracks and crevices in walls and furniture. They also use specialized equipment and treatments that are more effective than DIY methods.

In addition, pest control companies offer follow-up visits to ensure that all bed bugs have been eradicated from your home. By leaving the job to professionals, you can rest assured that your home will be safe and free from these pesky insects for good.

DIY Methods

You can save yourself a lot of frustration by taking matters into your own hands with some DIY bed bug control methods. One of the most popular natural remedies is using essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and peppermint oil to repel bed bugs. Simply mix a few drops of these oils with water and spray around your bed, mattress, and furniture.

Another effective method is vacuuming regularly to remove any visible bed bugs or their eggs. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after use in an outdoor trash bin.

You can also use heat treatment by washing all bedding and clothing in hot water and drying on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Additionally, sealing cracks and crevices in walls or furniture will prevent bed bugs from hiding there.

If these DIY methods don’t work, it may be time to consider professional extermination techniques for complete eradication of the infestation.

Preventing Future Infestations

To avoid the nightmare of another bed bug infestation, it’s crucial to take preventive measures.

First and foremost, inspect your luggage and clothing thoroughly after returning from a trip. Don’t bring any secondhand furniture or bedding into your home without checking for signs of bed bugs.

In addition, regularly washing and drying bedding and clothing on high heat can kill any potential bed bugs before they have a chance to infest.

Early detection is also key in preventing future infestations. Regularly inspecting your sleeping area for signs of bed bugs such as blood spots or shed skins can help catch an infestation before it becomes too widespread.

If you suspect an infestation, call a professional exterminator immediately rather than trying to handle the problem yourself.

By taking these preventive measures and being vigilant about early detection, you can keep your home free from the nightmare that is a bed bug infestation.

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

If you’re experiencing unexplainable bites on your skin, finding rust-colored stains on your sheets, or noticing a sweet musty odor in your bedroom, chances are there’s a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. They’re most active at night and can be found hiding in cracks and crevices near sleeping areas.

One of the tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation is the appearance of bed bug bites. These bites can be itchy and resemble mosquito bites or hives.

Another sign is the presence of bed bug eggs, which are white and about the size of a pinhead.

If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important to act quickly to prevent them from spreading to other areas of your home.

Risks Associated with Bed Bugs

Don’t underestimate the potential harm that bed bugs can cause. These pesky insects may not transmit diseases, but they can still pose health risks to you and your family.

Bed bug bites can provoke intense allergic reactions in some people, leading to swelling, itching, and even anaphylaxis. Moreover, the psychological impact of a bed bug infestation cannot be ignored. The mere thought of being preyed upon by blood-sucking parasites in your own home can leave you feeling violated and unsettled.

In addition to physical discomfort and anxiety, bed bugs can also cause financial strain. Getting rid of these pests is no easy feat and often requires professional help. The cost of extermination services coupled with replacing infested items such as mattresses or furniture can quickly add up.

Therefore, it’s crucial to take preventative measures such as regular inspections and proper sanitation practices to avoid the negative consequences associated with bed bugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can bed bugs survive in extreme temperatures?

Bed bugs can survive in extreme temperatures, but they have survival tactics to deal with such conditions. They can lower their metabolic rates and enter a state of hibernation to conserve energy during starvation.

How do bed bugs reproduce?

Like a game of hide-and-seek, bed bug reproduction is a secretive process. Mating occurs in hiding spots near feeding areas, and females can lay up to 5 eggs per day for weeks.

Do bed bugs carry diseases?

Bed bugs can carry diseases like Chagas disease, hepatitis B and C, and even transmit antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Symptoms include itching, redness, and swelling of the affected area. Prevention is key to avoid bed bug infestations in your home.

Can bed bugs be found in public places, like movie theaters or libraries?

Bed bugs can be found in public places such as movie theaters and libraries. Prevention measures include inspecting belongings, avoiding used furniture, and washing clothes after travel. Promptly reporting any infestations can also help prevent further spread.

Are there any natural remedies to get rid of bed bugs?

"Banish bed bugs with natural remedies, but be wary of their effectiveness. Essential oils and diatomaceous earth may help repel them. Seek professional help for severe infestations."


So now you know just how long bed bugs can survive without a meal.

But why stop there? You should also be aware of the signs of an infestation and the risks associated with bed bugs. These pesky insects are notorious for being difficult to get rid of, but don’t let that discourage you!

With the right knowledge and tactics, you can effectively eliminate them from your home. Remember, like a detective on the hunt for clues, keep an eye out for any telltale signs such as blood spots on your sheets or bites on your skin.

Take action immediately if you suspect an infestation to prevent it from getting worse. And always keep in mind the potential risks such as allergic reactions or mental health issues caused by anxiety and stress.

In conclusion, while bed bugs may seem like a daunting problem, they’re not invincible. Armed with information about their feeding habits and lifespan without food, as well as strategies for eliminating them from your living space, you can take control and send those creepy crawlies packing once and for all.

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