How Bed Bug Survive

Bed Bugs FAQs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?

A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.

How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?

Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.


How long can bed bugs live without blood? The answer depends on the age of the bed bug, if it is resistant to certain pesticides and the temperature range it is exposed to. “How long can bed bugs live without feeding before becoming adults?” is the first question to ask yourself.

A newly hatched bed bug is called a nymph. Nymphs go through five stages before becoming mature adults. When a bug molts, it sheds its skin. Immature bed bugs molt five times before reaching maturity and must feed in between every molt. For that reason, nymphs must feed more often. Despite their young age, newly hatched bed bugs can still survive for at least a few weeks without feeding.

But if nymphs can survive weeks without feeding, how long can bed bugs live without blood after maturity? That depends. When living in warm conditions, bed bugs will usually try to feed at regular intervals. Adult bed bugs can survive for about five months without a blood meal.

Once the bed bug settles on a host, it will feed for a few minutes. Length of feeding depends on the stage of development, how much it ate last time and how long it’s been since it last fed. After the bed bug is full, it will leave the host and return to a crack or crevice, typically where other bed bugs are gathered.

Bed bugs usually feed every three to seven days, which means that most of the population is in the digesting state, and not feeding much of the time. However, because bed bug infestations can spread so rapidly, it can often feel like you are waking up with new bites every morning. This can lead to high stress levels and a lack of sleep.

Don’t let bed bugs get the best of you. A pest control specialist can help you kick bed bugs out of your house and keep them out.

Polanco AM, Miller DM, Brewster CC. Survivorship During Starvation for Cimex lectularius L.. Insects. 2011; 2(2):232-242.

How to Survive Bed Bugs

Bed bugsare among the most feared of all household pests. These tiny blood-suckers specialize in tormenting their human hosts and are notoriously difficult to exterminate. Bed bugs are resilient, and many over-the-counter pesticides have no effect on them. Even worse, most people don’t know they have a bed bug problem until it’s too late to take preventive measures.

So how can you and your family survive a bed bug infestation, and how can you help make sure your home is safe from bed bugs in the future?

Early Signs of Bed Bugs

Catching bed bugs in the act is difficult. When you exhale during sleep, you release chemical signals that tell bed bugs a food source is nearby.

The most common warning signs of a bed bug problem are blood spots or skin. However, you may also notice bed bug bites. If you or any member of your family wakes up itching,look out for clusters of bites. The areas of the body most commonly affected by bed bug bites are the arms, neck and back, but any area of your body that is exposed while sleeping may be attractive to bed bugs.

Bed bug bitesmay resemble mosquito or flea bites. In order to determine whether or not bed bugs are responsible for your bites, look for these other signs of bed bug activity.

  1. Dark reddish spots or smears dotting your bedding. Such stains, which resemble specks of blood, could be signs of bed bugs.
  2. Pale yellow flakes scattered across your bedding. As beg bugs mature, they shed their skins (molt), leaving behind these shells.
  3. Unpleasant odors. Bedding infested with bed bugs may possess a slightly sweet or "rotting fruit" odor.

How to Treat Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs feed on human blood. As they bite, bed bugs secrete two substances. One substance prevents the host’s blood from clotting immediately, and the other may dull the pain and makes sure that the host remains unaware that they are being bitten. Once a bed bug has gotten its fill, it detaches.

For some, within the few hours the bed bug bite begins to itch. TheAmerican Academy of Dermatology (AAD)suggests that people who have been bitten by bed bugs should resist the urge to scratch. Breaking the skin around an insect bite can cause it to become infected.

Instead, the AAD recommends the following regimen to treat bed bug bites:

  1. Clean the bites with soap and water to prevent itching and to reduce the risk of infection.
  2. Apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. These medications are available over the counter at most pharmacies. If the bites prove to be very painful, non-prescription antihistamines, taken orally in pill or liquid form, can also help.
  3. Look for signs of an allergic reaction. If the area around the bed bug bites becomes red and/or swollen or you begin breaking out in hives, consult a physician.

Once you identify that you have an infestation, learninghow to treat bed bugsis best left to the professionals, but there may be some things you can do to prevent the problems from worsening.

Helping Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation

You can take proactive steps to help protect you and your family from these parasites.

Consider using amattress encasement system. These create an impermeable barrier against any bed bugs that may find their way into your home. The bed bugs should become trapped between the encasement and the mattress and will eventually starve. However, an encasement system will not necessarily prevent bed bugs that may have taken up residence in other areas of your home.

If you spot bed bugs, or signs that they’re present, you should always contact a professional. Bed bugs are resistant to many DIY treatments, and the bed bugs you can’t see are a much bigger problem than any bed bugs you might trap or kill on your own.

Ticks vs. Bed Bugs: The Big Difference

You never want to see a tick on your body or a bed bug in your home. And especially when it comes to the latter, seeing one usually means there are others around. On the surface, ticks and bed bugs might seem similar: They are both pests that like to bite and feed on blood. But in fact, there’s more than one difference between these two creatures

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How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without A Host? (A Simple Answer)

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​Bed bugs are a very frustrating problem for lots of homeowners especially across many states in the United States.

Their excellent adaptability to a wide range of climates and their rate of reproduction have earned these parasites a notorious reputation throughout the country.

Because they get bitten every night by these nasty and stubborn parasites, a lot of homeowners are drawn into the wrong conclusion that leaving the house for a few days can starve the bed bugs to death or at least force them out of the property in search for a new host.

But does it really work?

​The bed bugs’ ability to survive without a host depends on a number of factors. And understanding these critical elements can help you land on the ultimate answer to the question.

​How Does A Bed Bug Feed?

​Before we can really answer the main question, it is best that we first take into consideration how a bed bug feeds.

As we all now know, bed bugs don’t have a chewing mouth part that help them burrow deep into our skin. Instead, these parasites are equipped with a needle like proboscis which they use to pierce through our skin and into the nearest blood vessel.

Prior to feeding, the bed bug excretes an ample amount of saliva which acts as an anesthetic component. It numbs the nerves of the skin surrounding the target area so that the victim doesn’t feel a thing. The be bug’s saliva also acts as an anticoagulant which helps keep the blood flowing as it feeds.

​Is Blood The Only Type Of Meal bed Bugs Prefer?

​Yes. Blood is the only type of nourishment bed bugs require and accept. They can’t and will not feed on anything else other than a thirst quenching blood meal.

Bed bugs need blood for them to molt and to develop full sexual maturity. Proteins and other nutrients found in their host’s blood is essential for the development of their eggs.

The following video is a close up documentary on how a bed bug bites and feeds.

​A blood meal from a human host is what bed bugs prefer. These nasty buggers are significantly attracted to us because of the heat signature that our bodies give off and the carbon dioxide that we exhale. But in the absence of a human host, bed bugs acquire blood meal from animals nearby.

​How Often And How Long Does A Bed Bug Feed?

​When an egg hatches, a nymph emerges. This nymph requires at least one blood meal to molt into the higher stage of its life. The nymph undergoes several molting process (less than two months) before it reaches full maturity.

Nymphs usually take about 5 minutes to feed. Adults on the other hand, may take around 10 minutes per feeding session. It then retreats to a safe spot for digestion of the blood meal it has acquired from its host.

Both nymph and adult bed bugs feed only once per week. If you get bitten by these critters every night, it simply means that you have a sizeable bed bug population to deal with.

​How Long Can A Bed Bug Survive Without Feeding?

​Basically, bed bugs can survive from several months to a full year without a host. But this survivability directly depends on a few factors.

​Adult bed bugs can survive longer compared to the younger ones or nymphs. The absence of a host for a blood meal doesn’t hinder the nymphs from developing into full adults.

Rather, it drastically decreases the amount of time needed for nymphs to reach full maturity. Nymphs become adult bed bugs in just about a month resulting to significantly weaker insects.

Temperature of the direct environment also plays a crucial role on how long a bed bugs survives without a host. Under normal room temperature, adult bed bugs can linger for a year. Increased temperature on the other hand, remarkably decreases the total length of time a bed bug can survive without a host.

Read More Bed Bug Answers

Check out our other bed bug guides. Each guide is expertly crafted to help you make sure these pests never bother you again.

How to Survive a Bed Bug Infestation

Are you suffering from a bed bug infestation? If so then you are in the right place. Bed bugs don’t live on their hosts the way that ticks and fleas do but tend to feed on them only. They prefer feeding on humans as compared to any other animals.

Your pets can also be hosts for bed bugs as well as being responsible for bringing them into your home. Most if not all things that are made up of stuffing can carry and harbor insects such as your pet’s bedding, stuffed toys, furniture, etc.

Here are some quick facts about bed bugs that you should know:

  • Bed bugs can’t fly, but they can move very quickly on most surfaces such as the ceiling, walls,
  • Female bed bugs lay anywhere between 100 to 500 eggs in their lifetime
  • Immature bed bugs shed their skin 5 times before reaching maturity and need a meal of blood before each shedding.
  • They may be a painful nuisance, but they don’t transmit any diseases.
  • These bugs have a lifespan which generally ranges from 6 months to a year. Adult bed bugs and can survive for more than a year without feeding if the room’s temperature is not too hot
  • These tiny parasites that live in your mattresses and feed on you when you’re asleep have become such a nuisance that people decided to investigate the severity of the problem as well as the most effective methods of killing them.

How to Identify the 6 Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

  1. If you’ve noticed any signs of itchy bite lines on your skin that are similar to mosquito bites but you don’t have any mosquitoes around then you probably have bed bugs
  2. Look in areas that offer dark isolation and protection to the bed bugs and examine all the rooms next to the room where you discovered the infestation
  3. Check in all places as bed bugs tend to live in groups
  4. Bed bugs leave reddish rust brown spots on mattresses and give off a distinct smell that you can identify them with
  5. The bed bug’s flat body shape allows them to easily hide in any cracks and crevices so make sure to check everywhere
  6. Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases

6 Ways to Treat a Bug Infestation

This requires a thorough cleaning of your premises which means that you should to strip everything down to the absolute bare essentials to prepare the infested room for cleaning.

  1. Wash and clean your sheets, clothing, and curtains and dry them on the highest dryer setting
  2. Vacuum your bed and its surrounding area properly and immediately dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag afterward
  3. Spray and scrub all the hard surfaces in the infested area which includes your bed frame
  4. Get rid of any clutter around your bed keep on decluttering that area on a regular basis afterward
  5. Fill up and repair any cracks with plaster and glue. This will help you get rid of all spaces for bed bugs to hide
  6. You can also opt to steam the bed bugs out of your house, and it is also one of the most effective non-toxic methods which destroy their eggs, but the chances are that you’ll probably have to hire a professional to do the job with a heavy duty steamer.

Set Bed Bug Traps to Avoid Re-Infiltration

Once you’ve gotten rid of as many bed bugs as possible from your bed, then it is advisable that you get some traps that are specially designed for bed bugs to prevent them from re-infiltrating your home again. Buying and installing interceptors which are simple devices that have proven to be effective at preventing the bugs from re-infiltrating any treated areas. Interceptors look similar to plastic bowls surrounded by a tiny moat-like structure.

They are designed to fit under the bedposts to trap the invading bed bugs. You can do this most effectively by moving your bed away from the wall so the invading bed bugs have to climb the bedposts as they can’t fly, after which you can trap them in the small moat.

Cleaning up the infested areas in your home can be a bit difficult. Treating your living spaces and bedrooms with insecticide can be harmful so make sure to use these products safely in your bedrooms. But it is usually easiest and cheapest if you simply hire an experienced pest management professional for a proper bedbug extermination.

And if you are looking for home remedies to get rid of bed bugs, make sure you read this article.

This article was written by Raymond Webb for Prepper’s Will.

Author Bio:

When people find their homes and offices infested with pests, it is not uncommon for them to panic. Raymond Web has taken upon him the task to educate people on pest prevention and control strategies helping them keep their surroundings healthy, safe and pest-free.

Being the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, in Tracy, CA, he has an in-depth understanding of people and their pain points due to pests, which he efficiently uses in his content to educate people and add value to their lives.

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