How Long Can 1 Bed Bug 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.

HOW LONG DO BED BUGS LIVE?

If you’ve had to deal with bed bugs hitching a ride home on your pet or your luggage, you’ve probably asked yourself, "how long do bed bugs live?"

As far as insect life spans go, bed bugs crawl the earth for longer than most — tapping out around the 10-month marker, according to bedbugs.org. And while that 10-month window is true for most, some are thought to live up to a year.

A bed bug life cycle includes multiple stages. A female bed bug lays eggs in groups of one to 50 and they take anywhere from six to 17 days to hatch, according to bedbugs.org. By the time she dies, a female will have laid hundreds of eggs.

The eggs are small, about 1 millimeter in size, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. One millimeter is around the size of a mustard seed.

With the right conditions and temperatures, a bed bug can go from an egg to its adult stage in approximately 37 days. Warmer climates promote faster bed bug reproduction and development.

Baby bed bugs are called nymphs. A nymph will go through five phases of growth before it becomes an adult, shedding its skin each time, according to the EPA. They start life at 1.5 millimeters (the thickness of a U.S. penny) and grow to about 4.5 millimeters (the size of a medium-to-large pearl).

Even in their nymph stages, bed bugs are ready to eat. They primarily feed off of people, but will also bite animals − including dogs, cats, rodents and chickens. A bed bug can last up to a year or longer without feeding if the temperatures are ideal.

Still, the average bed bug life cycle isn’t very long, but they do lead active lives, which includes aggressively mating. If you think you may have signs of bed bugs, contact a pest management professional immediately.

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 Food?

Science can be frustrating. You may have been researching “how long bed bugs can survive without food” for a while now and found 63 different answers. Why are there 63 different answers? Why can’t you just get one answer and be done with this? You may read on a website that they can survive 18 months or more without food and how on Earth is that possible? Let me clarify and provide you the answer you’ve been looking for…..sort of….

The reason there are 63 different answers is because different factors and influences can change how long bed bugs can survive without food. Let’s take age for example. We know that 1st instar or “baby” bed bugs (right after they hatch out of an egg) can’t survive without food as long as adult bed bugs. Seems fairly simple and straightforward as a newborn human couldn’t survive as long as an adult without food. Activity level can also change the time it takes for bed bugs to die in the absence of food. If a bed bug is in a vacant apartment actively searching for food, they can’t survive as long as a bed bug in a jar on a scientist’s desk. As the bug in the vacant apartment wanders around looking for food, it is using energy and, therefore, will succumb sooner than the bug sitting in the jar. Again, using humans as an analogy, if someone is starving in a desert and wandering around looking for food they will succumb to the conditions sooner than if someone is stuck in a cave and can’t move around and use energy as quick as the person wandering. Make sense why there seem to be 63 different answers?

So the answer to the question depends upon why you are asking? If you have a vacant apartment that has bed bugs, and you want to know when it can be rented out, the answer is probably nine months or more. Research has found live bed bugs in vacant apartments six months after they vacated and how long they survive depends upon how active they are, the temperature in the apartment and what stresses they may have been exposed to. Because of all of these factors, there is no way to guarantee how long you should leave an apartment vacant to starve the bed bugs inside. In fact, you may be putting surrounding apartments at a higher risk as the bugs in the infested, vacant apartment are probably going to search for food, and that may increase the chance that a surrounding apartment becomes infested.

In a similar scenario, I have found live bed bugs in summer camps ten months after they were vacated. The difference in this setting is that the cabins were not heated over the winter, and the cold temperatures assisted the bed bugs in surviving longer than normal. How long could they have survived? The world may never know….

Lastly, many ask this question because they have personal belongings they want to seal in bags or in storage and want to know how long they have to leave the items before they can use them again. Unfortunately, this may be the toughest question to answer. You can find reports online that state people have observed bed bugs surviving 18 months or more when placed inside a jar and left in storage. To be honest, 18 months seems a bit long to me but bugs inside a container or bag and unable to search for food could probably survive 9-12 months or maybe much more. A good recommendation for this scenario is to add stresses to the setting to make the situation as difficult as possible on the bugs. Increasing the temperature, adding pesticidal dusts when possible (by label directions) and other treatment options can increase the stress on bed bugs in these situations and decrease the time they can survive.

So the answer to the question is…….don’t rely on starving bed bugs as a treatment option. Too many factors can influence how long they can survive and unless you can survive without an item for 12-18 months or more I would recommend finding a way a way to treat the item.

7 Crazy Facts About Bed Bugs – Infographic

Bed Bug Crazy Facts

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29 Comments

Faylinn

I just moved to a new state where the locals say that bed bugs are pretty common here. I am definitely going to want to get a protective cover for my mattress to help me prevent any bugs from settling there. However, what are some signs that furniture, like beds and bugs, have bed bugs in them? Some of the furniture that I have came with the apartment and so it would probably be a good idea to make sure that they are not infested.

Jormell mack
Sharon Davis

Believe me, they do. Bedbugs get on couches and chairs. I’ve seen them. They can stang in vacuum cleaners too so vacuum often but clean out your canister or bag. They can crawl long areas too. Be safe.

Pamela Hawthorne

I had bed bugs a few months ago. I am now staying with my brother, who also had them in his bedroom. He “heat treated” the room. We haven’t seen any in the 4 months I’ve been here. He loaned me a sheet for my air mattress and was going to wash it when he found one bed bug on it. Should I be concerned?

Wanda Long

I totally took my bed a part even the hinges. And I steam my bed and took the cover off of box spring. I have tempera please. And it covers the hole mattress. Anyway I steamed far 8 hours. Before I steamed it is broke it down 2 times before. And my husband went to Lumber store and got me a gallon jug of bed bug killer. I haven’t been bitten sent. But I think I should steam and brake down my bed agin. I am so afraid they’ll be back.

Betsy

Stellar work there evnyeore. I’ll keep on reading.

cassie

I have treated with pesticides,for the past 2 weeks off and on. i now am finding bugs crawling. are they dying or getting worse?

Tammy Shufelt

Thank you so much. It works.
I used 91% rubbing alcohol all over my apartment for five days, before say bye bug’s was shipped to my home. I have not found any new bites on my skin. My cat is more relaxed . Great ful for the product. I continue to spray daily. Just for my piece of mind.
Thank you

Carol Ann Poisson

Where can we buy this spray? Living in a high rise we get them all the time. I have had my apartment treated with extreme heat 5 years ago. They are coming back. I want to stop it before they get worse. Thank you

Sincerely
Carol Ann Poisson

BedBugGuide
April Goode

We are having them at night we need help

Jonathan demetruis smith-el

I live with a lady that got bed bug in house from pile of clothes in baskets bed bugs at medical facility in st. Charles mo its possible brought here to the point where nasty clothes clothes in basket in son room closet basket etc. Its like house. Marr lane st charles habilitation center then. Its this old nasty dog max. Its unsanitary not to take a bath when hot water i take it in cold. 1st time i saw a bug i hopped of bed this second time i threw it in trash can now im starting to believe they are like termite to. These things are nasty. So now i need to infumagated the whole house.

Amanda Edwardson

So I’ve gone into an apartment a few times in a 3-week time period that has been infested with bed bugs. I have not seen any signs of bite marks on my skin nor have I seen any bed bug activity but I bought this spray just in case. Should I still spray it even if I haven’t seen any yet, or would that make things worse?
I am very nervous for getting bed bugs since I live in an apartment with two roommates. Any information would be helpful and very appreciative.
Thank you

Amanda lynn stevens

Tell me what is he best solution to get rid of bed bugs and keep them from infestating my home

Walter Clay

Was getting bit through the night at a motel I stayed in last night.have welts in lots of places.curious to know about what to do with my luggage and the clothes in it.wash all in hot water right? What about the luggage

Shaz Bonny

In the last few years of the Obummer administration, bed bugs have made a come back due to high volume immigration.

Tommy

Im waiting on next six pack of spray , I totally wrapped my chair in 4mil plastic , saw bugs , was this dumb , will they die with no food or stay and multiply

kristy hannan

I had bed bug and I sprayed the crap put of every thing and baged up every thing and left it out I the hot summer heat of over a 100 degrees and sprayed again and still keeper every thing bagged up just before their breeding cycle came about and again the same period of time just before the breeding cycle would begin in case their were any straggles so they would die before breeding and still one one more time then I put boric acid along the crevasse of the carpet and walls and if i vacuum the edges I would relay down the boric acid I did not have bed bug again after that even though my roommate who did not follow my advise had the and got rid of the so he thought only for him to be infested with the again and had to do his room when he moved out because he had bed bugs while I did not it worked for me in this,way

Rishika

bed bugs will hide behind light switches on the wall; underneath peeling paint and wallpaper; or in the gap between the walls and baseboards. They can ultimately be anywhere….

Diana githens

Have been in a motel for several months…only the past week have i gotten bit …how did they get in here?

Roberta Goldin

I’m deathly afraid of bugs and want to stay in a bed bug free hotel in NYC.
Thanks

William D Kennedy

i want to know the full proof way of getting rid of these bed bugs?

BedBugGuide

We have had many satisfied clients as you can see from the videos https://www.saybyebugs.com/#video.

Melonie Brown

Ok, I keep seeing them evey once in a while, does this mean I have a infestation? I can’t afford to get a pest control person out here, I think they are in the wood, I don’t know it’s not bad but I need to treat this soon. But don’t know how.

BedBugGuide

Your first point should be to check out our website if you will try our products and see the recommended kits based on the size of your property and the extent of your infestation https://www.saybyebugs.com/#order We also have guide which describe measures to take to resolve your problem – http://www.saybyebugs.com/SayByeBugsGuide.pdf

Jason Edward DeMoss

This shit is fucked up please help need quick long lasting results thxz God bless

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