How Do Bed Bugs Live

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.

WHERE DO BED BUGS LIVE?

Are you in your room and worried about bed bug? Today, bed bugs can be found in almost every region of the world and in all 50 states. With bed bugs hitchhiking on humans and their belongings, it is natural to wonder, “where do bed bugs live?”

Bed bugs are active mainly at night and prefer to feed on humans. During the daytime, they will typically hide in close proximity to their host. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices. In your room, the cracks and crevices closest to the host are most commonly found right on or around the bed.

WHERE DO BED BUGS LIVE?

Due to their transitory nature, bed bugs can come back home from you when traveling. Or they can be in a hotel room that you check into. Whether you’re worried about bed bugs at home or in a hotel room, perform a quick inspection to see if there is any evidence of infestation, especially before unpacking in a hotel.

The top three places you should always check for bed bugs in a room are:

The box springs.

The bed frame including headboard.

The mattress – look all over, including the tufts, folds and buttons.

While the mattress, box spring and bed frame are the three most common areas to find evidence of a bed bug infestation, bed bugs are found on furniture, such as desks and chairs, behind wallpaper, clocks and pictures, cracks in wood floors and under the edge of carpet.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF BED BUGS?

Here are the top signs of bed bugs in a room:

Dark spotting and staining, which is the dried fecal matter of the bed bugs.

Bed bug eggs (about the size and color of a small grain of rice).

Shed skins of juvenile bed bugs.

Adult bugs or bug carcasses.

Rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed, engorged bed bugs.

Before returning home from traveling, or if you have been in an area where you suspect bed bug activity, it is also a good idea to check your luggage before entering your home. By staying alert for signs of bed bugs, you can avoid unwanted exposure and infestation.

If you suspect activity while traveling, alert the hotel management. If you find evidence of bed bugs in your home, call Terminix®.

HOW LONG CAN BED BUGS LIVE WITHOUT FEEDING?

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 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.

Can bed bugs live in your car?

Bed bugs usually prefer to live inside your home. But in some cases, they can live outside. So,can bed bugs live in your carand how to get rid of them?

What do bed bugs look like?

There may occur a large variety of bugs in your home or car. You must know what bed bugs look like to know if you have them or not.

Bed bugs are small bugs 1 to 5 mm sized and they are oval-shaped. They have 6 legs and 2 antennas. They do not have wings so, they can’t fly. They also cannot jump.

You can check this post for main physical features of bed bugs: bedbugdetected.com/what-do-bed-bugs-look-like-to-the-human-eye

Do bed bugs live outside?

Living in a car means living outside. As you justify, environmental conditions will become harder then inside home for bed bugs.

But they can still survive outside. Especially those places which keep bed bugs from over-heat and over-cold will be good options for them: bedbugdetected.com/can-bed-bugs-live-outside

A car or a tent outside will provide them better conditions. Because no matter how hot or cold the air is, inside a car will help them keeping their body temperature stabilized.

How long can a bed bug live in a car?

Living period of a bed bug always depends how much they fed and how ideal the environmental conditions are.

A car will provide them survival conditions by keeping them away form heat or cold.

Ideal temperature for bed bugs to keep living is between 113°F and 0°F. So, bed bugs will probably survive in your car for a long time.

Second factor is feeding. A well-fed bed bug can survive for more than a year without feeding. If you have bed bugs enough fed before, then you have a serious problem.

Where to find bed bugs in your car?

Bed bugs always hide. They never walk around until they’re hungry. Unless they need feeding immediately, you can’t see them at day time, because they prefer to move at nights.

This means that you need to search your car to find them. When you think they love hiding, you must check those places below where they can hide:

  • Under car mats
  • Inside car seats
  • Car trunk
  • Deep and darker corners
  • Tears in ceiling
  • Glove compartment

While bed bugs are small insects, it’s going to be hard to find them. So, you must have a flashlight, credit card and magnifying glass to find them: bedbugdetected.com/how-to-find-bed-bugs-during-the-day

How to get rid of bed bugs in a car?

It won’t be easy because cars are narrow and it’s difficult to move in it. Even if you find bed bugs on somewhere inside your car, you can’t just get rid of your seats or mats.

What you must do is to get rid of bed bugs while you keep using your car. There are two main stages for getting rid of them in a car:

  • Use a powerful vacuum cleaner and get all bed bugs in it. Make sure you get in all holes, cracks and deep corners.
  • Clean inside your car with detergent cloth carefully.

Steps above are what you can do by yourself. But whatever you do, you will probably not be able to reach every single crack or hole where bed bugs keep hiding.

So, the best way, according to me is to use a heater. A bed bug steamer or heat machine will have better results.

It’s going to be easy to heat inside the car to kill bed bugs for a heat machine. You can buy or hire one.

A better way is to hire a professional pest controller to do this for you, if you have a budget for this.

What if you can’t get rid of bed bugs in your car

Having bed bugs in a car brings a risk with it: You can carry them into your home by your clothes or body.

Believe me, it will be a bigger problem when you have bed bugs at home. So, if you haven’t got any bed bugs in your home and you realize that you have in your car, after some try, getting rid of the car itself may be the best way.

You must always think of selling your car after a bed bug invasion. So not forget to say the reason you sell your car to the buyer.

Bed bugs vs cars

Can bed bugs live in your car? Yes, they can. What you should worry is how to get rid of them.

When you have bed bugs at home, using chemicals or homemade remedies are recommended for some cases.

But it’s going to be dangerous to use chemicals in a narrow area such as a car and homemade remedies like using diatomaceous earth or borax will limit your moves in the car.

Be sure that hiring a professional pest expert will be the best option. A powerful heater used by an exterminator will help you get rid of bed bugs.

You can check posts below to see how borax and diatomaceous earth are used for bed bugs:

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