How Long Bed Bug Live Without Blood

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live Without Blood? | 2018 Updated

Are you fed up withbed bugspestering you at night? Then consider yourself lucky as you have reached the right place for all the information.Cimex lectulariusor bed bugs as they are commonly known as; are pests that you don’t want breeding in your house or office. True to the fact, you surely would not want them to be around your family, pets, and anyone dear to you.

These parasites live on human blood and are a menace to mankind. It was believed that they eradicated for about 30 years, only to be found again.

This may seem little weird because their resurgence has taken most of us back. Talking about their feeding brings us to this discussion that most people want to know about is thathow long do bed bugs live without blood.

We have tried to put up everything we know about these pestering bugs in this post. We request our readers to read it till the end if they want to get a detailed understanding of bed bugs.

How Long do Bed Bugs Live Without Air?

If you are concerned about howlong can bed bugs live without air, then you should be told that these bugs can live for 18 long months withoutoxygen. No doubts, this is one of the toughestinsectsto kill.

This is why opting for an exterminator will prove to be a good idea in case your house is infested with bedbugs. It seems that treating your house with heat is the only out and that can be done by a professional only. They still have not been reported to be disease bearers, but these need to be eliminated from your house for your good.

Rest assured, you must be told that these pests are to be taken seriously.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live Without Oxygen?

As mentioned above, bed bugs can live for almost 2 years without oxygen, and this must be a disturbing thought. The problem is these pests usually invade places where you sit for long hours.

They live in the beds and furniture only to come out to bite you when you at rest. They move very fast and seek a hideout even before you have realized that they have bitten you. This is it takes time for some to identify that the bed bugs in their vicinity.

It may sound strange, but this is very true, and by the time you become familiar with the fact that your house is infested with bed bugs, it may be too late as they must have spread all over the place.

Again, there is no need to worry as you can resort to one of the so many advanced methods of wiping them out. Look the solution can be found anywhere that you can read and try, but contacting a professional agency can help you destroy these pests everlastingly from your house.

You surely want to keep your kids and pets away from these bugs. Otherwise, they are troublemakers that you want to be done with perpetually.

How Long do Bed Bugs Live Without a Meal?

It is not easy to state a number for this question because we are discussing insects that have a cycle of life. No one can predict how long a living thing will live and insects, no matter how intimidating they are no exception to this.

Yes, but what we can inform you is that these parasites are quite strong as they can live for weeks to a year’s time without any food to eat. Now, that’s unbelievable and the fact that this makes your job demanding while trying to exterminate them.

The best part is they come out at night, devour on your blood for 2 to 5 minutes and then slither into crannies and crevices. They remain in hiding for the whole day, and that does your job of annihilating them a big problem.

Do you need to find out where do bed bugs hide during the day? We would suggest leave it to an expert as they know what is best and can eliminate the colony of bed bugs from your home forever.

How long can bed bugs live without feeding?

It is quite difficult to give you an exact number as forhow long can they go without food. What we can say is that these bugs undergo 5 instar stages to reach maturity. A nymph or newborn needs to be fed once a week to move on to the next level.

The reason can be found in their being cold-blooded that have a slow metabolism. It is believed that adult bugs can live a full year without food and you should not be surprised to know of it. Strange are their ways, but these insects can cause nuisance once they infest your habitat! They feed animals like dogs and cats besides humans, so if you own a pet, you be careful of keeping your house free of these pests.

To be precise, nymphs can live for weeks without food, let alone the adults as explained. However, what needs to be stated here is thatbed bugsare pests that need to be eradicated from your home or office.

They are a menace, and that is how they are to be treated. Some people may not feel a thing with a bed bug bite, but some may develop immediate breakouts and hives. What we suggest is that there is no need to wake up to a new bite every day. So, get in touch with a professional that can help you get through the situation.

They know it all like how long can bed bugs live in the cold or how long can bed bugs live in heat as this can help them take on a course of treatment. Are you still thinking?

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 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 do Bed Bugs Live Without Food, Host, Air, in Cold & After Spraying

To come up effective means of doing away with bed bugs it is important to understanding how these creepy insects thrive. Here is a discussion on how long they live, without food, a host, air, cold temperatures and after use of sprays.

How long can Bed Bugs Live?

Humans have lived with bed bugs for centuries and for more than 30 years, there have been cries against infestations that never seem to end. They cause discomfort, reduce the quality of life, hard to eliminate and above all, are ugly-looking.

There have been several suggested ways in which bed bugs can be eliminated but most of them hit a snag as return manifests so quickly that your efforts are demeaned. In short, these arthropods have built a formidable irk in people’s lives.

Bed bugs are identified by their biological name,Cimex sppand there are a variety of species with the common ones beingCimex lecturalis, Cimex adjuctusandCimex hemipterus. The latter is more dominant in the tropical belt and are responsible for the vast infestations seen.

Cimex Hemipterus

Before you can go into how long a bed bug lives, it is important to understand how they look as some of these characteristic features are responsible for the adaptation they get against your treatments. Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown in color.

They have an oval shaped body are further flattened. You shouldn’t confuse bed bugs with cockroaches, ticks or other household insects with this description.

The life cycle of a bed bug involves about 5 molts. It is within the period between the molts that the bed bug feeds on blood and this is necessary for its survival. Eggs are laid in places that are able to confer security and invisibility so that they hatch successfully.

Just like many other organisms, the female bed bug needs a particular fortified diet so that it can be able to lay viable eggs. This means that it will require a blood-meal.

When the eggs are availed with room temperature, then they can hatch in about 7 days and maturity of the straw-colored, pin-head-sized nymphs takes about a month under conditions of 70-80°F.

This is just the first generation and nearly 5 other subsequent generations are produced in a year.

Bed bugs like hiding in crevices, spaces within wooden structures, holes in walls or mattresses and clothing. Their body is responsible for the easy entry into these areas and this highly increases their chances of survival even given the presence of a sprayed insecticide.

What factors determine their survival?

There are several factors that determine the survival rate of bed bugs. These are discussed in detail as follows:

Flat and small bodies:

Since bed bugs are small-bodied and most importantly flat, they are able to cunningly hide in crevices and cracks in walls and mattresses. They are also rampant behind wallpapers, in tiles and in furry clothes.

This makes them hard to see as they are able to camouflage into your suitcase, bags and furniture among other items in which they are transported to other areas. This makes them one of the best hitchhikers.

They are nocturnal

This means that they mostly come out in the night and when there is darkness. It is quite interesting to note that they don’t necessarily require darkness to start dominating but will do so long as the time is night.

During the day, they are able to retreat in a bid to suggest ceasefire on you then in a capitulating rage forge forth in the night.

Their bites are somewhat anaesthetic

Just as a mosquito or mouse does when they bite you, a bed bug is able to inject some saliva into your skin to prevent itchy pruritic effect brought about by a stimulated hypersensitivity allergic reaction.

In other words, the saliva seems to have a numbing effect and only when the feel has died off, that you start scratching yourself long after the bed bug has already escaped to safety (another part of your skin). This is about 5-10 minutes after the bite.

Bed bug bite

Bed bugs respond to chemotactic signals

It is believed that bed bugs are able to identify with your location in bed due to the exhalation of carbon dioxide you produce. This acts as a chemical to which the bug responds.

This is why you find an army of bed bugs in your blanket in the middle of the night when you have completely cover yourself with your blanket.

Their eggs are small, white and sticky

With these characteristics, the eggs can easily camouflage on light walls or areas by adhering to it and hiding for long until they hatch. This way, the bed bugs can preserve their generations and progeny and respond to the law of procreation.

How long can Bed Bugs live without Food/Feeding on Blood or Eating?

Well, the answer is relative. It depends on some other influential factors such as resistance to the pesticide used and the temperature range to which it is exposed.

This is a really important question to ask yourself when you attempt to use starvation as a method of elimination. Let’s see how it works.

Remember that without inter-digitating attempts to seal other factors of survival which can come into play, starvation technique may not only take long, but may be very ineffective.

When a newly hatched egg produces a nymph, it is require that a blood-meal be provided and if this is not offered, then good thing, the nymphs won’t grow and develop to maturity.

Again, considering that they require a month to grow into adults, this will likely not happen and death would be expected in about 2-3 weeks.

So while doing the ‘how long’ calculation, consider that you are not dealing with one or two pairs of bed-bugs but possibly hundreds.

Before they can exhaust their reproductive ability with diminishing blood-meal stores, it will take more than 8 months to completely starve the whole army.

Again, this is in consideration of the fact that the nymphs can survive few weeks too.

Another considerable factor is that after a blood-meal, a bed bug or nymph goes into hibernation until its next molt or 3-7 days after the last meal.

When you factor in optimal temperature for the survival of the bed bugs, the adults may survive about 2 to 4 months since its metabolism can be reduced to sub-optimal for its survival.

It is quite difficult to determine exactly how long it will take you to starve all your bed bugs.

However, it will take about 5 months to starve a single bed bug and about 2 weeks for a nymph.

According to theScientific America, a bed bug without a meal in warm temperatures, may survive 2 or 3 months and may only be deemed to survive longer (about a year) if temperatures are colder.

How long can bed bugs live without air?

According to the Atlantic Bedbug Inspection, suffocating bed bugs may work but when done right. Their study placed a couple of hundreds of bed bugs in air-tight vials together with their eggs. The results pointed out to a survival length of not more than 5 days. This was done at room temperature.

The fact that this works, doesn’t make it the best when used along but when used as an adjunct with other methods with proven efficacy. In order to do this, you will require:

  1. A large enough air-tight bag that is untearable such as vacuum storage bags and jumbo slider zip bags. Make sure that you have sealed the bags properly to prevent any air from entering during the suffocation period.
  2. You will require to use this method with small items such as your cell phone or other smaller gadgets. When you have sealed these items, let them sit without being moved.

Amidst all this optimism, bed bugs are known to be able to survive for long on very little air and further on, are capable of regulating their metabolism to as slow as to warrant a small amount of air.

Therefore, in order to curb this, you need to completely suck out the air in the bags before sealing them. This has to after you have the items in the bag for they also have air spaces.

If this is done well, bed bugs would not last more than 5 days. The highly proven DDVP stripes or Vikane gas fumigation can improve your results profoundly.

How long can Bed Bugs live in Cold Weather?

Yes, bed bugs have a reduced chance of survival in cold weather. However, it is during this time that they are able to reduce their rate of metabolism hence survive on limited meal presence and air.

In addition, and most unfortunate, it is unlikely that cold weather would last long enough to kill bed bugs.

Since weather is the prevailing conditions in the atmosphere in a particular time of day, this is not long enough. Sunlight, changes in temperature all come in and salvage the bed bugs.

Therefore, the only way that remains viable is cold-freezing your whole room. Again, this is not a good idea as you risk destroying some if not all of the temperature sensitive utilitarian.

As published in theJournal of Economic Entomology,cold can definitely kill a bed bug but not in one hour. It will require freezing for a few couple of days.

Fortunately, in a research study conducted by theUniversity of Minnesota Twin Cities et al, it will require -16° or -17° C to kill a bed bug in two hours.This is regardless of the stage of life or feeding status of the bed bug. Yet another study showed that in temperatures of -16° C, it will take 80 hours.

This is what you will need when you want to use this method:

  1. A set temperature point on a freezer optimally -16° C
  2. A set time
  3. A remote thermometer to ensure that the temperature is well spread through-out the room.

How long do bed bugs live after spraying?

This is one common question posed to pest management professionals (PMPs). How long it will take to kill bed bugs once spraying has been conducted will depend on the way the process has been conducted.

This involves ensuring that all the pertinent steps are followed and all areas with potential of hiding bed bugs are seen and sprayed into. The steps have been vividly stipulated by theMichigan State University Extension.

It has also been found that those who work in good collaboration with the PMPs make the process quite successful and bed bugs are eliminated in shorter periods of time.

One unfortunate happening is when you need to remove some items while the spraying is being done which on return, could habor yet some other bed bugs. Your PMP may suggest that you give the room some space, about a half a day.

It is however important that you continuously monitor the room for any presence of bed bugs after the spraying has been done then inform the PMPs. Some surviving eggs may hatch and you may see more bed bugs even after spraying

At this juncture, you will require to call your PMP and suggestions may point out to possible resistance and therefore multiple methods be instigated. A two week interval would suffice for monitoring and evaluation.

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.

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