Bed bugs are common pests that can cause problems in homes and hotels. They are known for their ability to survive for long periods without feeding on blood, which is their primary source of sustenance. In this article, we will explore how long bed bugs can live without food and other important aspects of their behavior and biology.
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The Life Cycle of a Common Bed Bug
Before knowing how long can bed bugs live without eating, it is important to understand how their feeding works. Let’s have a look at the life cycle of a common bed bug.
A newly hatched bed bug is known as a nymph. There are five stages through which the spirit goes before becoming a mature adult. The nymph has to molt i.e. shed its skin before it moves on to the next stage. In total, the nymph has to molt five times before it reaches maturity. And, in between every stage, it needs food. So, how long can newly hatched bed bugs live without food? What do you think? To your surprise, even the newly hatched eggs can survive at least a few weeks without feeding.
Read the Ultimate guide on Getting Rid of bed bugs in 2023
Bed bug feeding habits
Bed bugs are parasites that feed on blood, usually from humans. They feed by piercing the skin with their mouthparts and injecting an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they often bite humans while they sleep. After feeding, bed bugs will retreat to their hiding places to digest their meal and mate.
Bed bugs: How Long Can They Live without Food
Think, if the newly hatched eggs or baby bed bugs can survive a few weeks without a food source, then what about the mature bed bugs? The answer to the question of how long will bed bugs live without food depends upon the age of the bed bugs, pesticides, and the temperature range they are exposed to. First of all, the duration of their survival increases with every stage they molt. If they are unable to feed for a couple of weeks, they will die.
Now, how long can bed bugs live without food when they have become adults? Once they are fully grown and mature they survive without a food source for up to a year. Moreover, a study revealed that as long as other conditions are stable, bed bugs can even survive for 18 months without eating a meal. Apart from that, temperature conditions are also a factor in determining the survival of bed bugs without a food source. In cold temperatures, their survival rate is greater because they have to use less energy, whereas, in hot temperatures, they require frequent feeding as their bodies consume more energy.
In 2009, a detailed study was done on bed bugs that reflected “How long can bed bugs live without food in hot weather?” In this study, the researchers studied the baby bed bugs i.e. the nymphs which were fed only once and then allowed to develop into their first stage. They were not fed after that and it was seen that their survival time varied significantly according to the temperature variance. It was discovered that the bed bugs in their first instar-nymph stage only lasted about 28 days on average when the temperature was set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides this, the bed bugs that were kept at 98.6 degrees only lasted for 17 days on average.
Factors that affect bed bug survival without food
Several factors can affect how long bed bugs can survive without feeding. These factors include temperature, humidity, access to shelter, and the age of the bed bug. Bed bugs are more likely to survive longer in warm, humid environments with access to shelter. Conversely, bed bugs are more likely to die if they are exposed to extreme temperatures or if they are unable to find shelter.
Duration Of The Feeding
The duration of the feeding of the bed bugs also determines how long can bed bugs live without a food source. A bedbug feeds for a few minutes, once it gets settled on a host. The stage of development at which a bed bug is also telling the length of feeding. That is, how much it ate last time and how much it needs to eat now. Most of the population of bed bugs remains in the digesting phase because they usually feed for three to seven days. Besides this, their habitat and activity levels also determine that how long they can survive without eating food. Bed bugs with colonies closer to the be, don’t have to travel too far for food; thus,s their energy is not consumed a lot, and survive more without food compared to the bed bugs that have to travel too far for food sources.
Common Myths About Bed Bugs
There are some common myths about bed bugs like:
- Bed bugs can fly. But the reality is different i.e. they lack wings and can’t fly.
- It is said that bed bugs only bite at night. But it is wrong because they are generally found to be nocturnal i.e. they will eat anytime they are hungry.
- It is also believed that bed bugs transmit diseases to humans. They don’t transmit infectious diseases they can cause stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep.
- It is said that bed bugs reproduce quickly. But that is not so. They reproduce slower as compared to the other insects.
It is wrong to think that bed bugs will survive without feeding no matter what the conditions are. At normal room temperature i.e. at 23 degrees Celsius, they are known to survive for two to three months only. If the temperature decreases, their survival rate increases as they are cold-blooded.
Bed bugs are a common pest that can cause problems in homes and hotels. They are known for their ability to survive for long periods without feeding on blood, which is their primary source of sustenance. To prevent bed bug infestations, you should inspect used furniture and bedding, be careful when traveling, and vacuum your home regularly. If you have a bed bug infestation, you should hire a pest control professional or use specialized treatments to eliminate the bed bugs.
How long can bed bugs survive without feeding?
Bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding, but they are more likely to die if they go without feeding for extended periods.
Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs can be introduced to a new location on clothing, luggage, used furniture, or bedding.
How do I know if I have a bed bug infestation?
The most common signs of a bed bug infestation are bites on the skin, small, reddish-brown spots on bedding or furniture, and black droppings that resemble pepper flakes.
“Prevention is the key to avoiding a bed bug infestation, but if you do have a problem, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.”