How Long Does 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 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 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?
Bed bugs are tough creatures and they are resistant to hunger. They can live without feeding for a long time and that’a what makes them challenging enemies. So, how long does a bed bug can live without feeding?
Bed bugs information
May be you have bed bugs at your home and may be you have not. First thing you must do is to be sure about bed bugs.
There are a lot of bugs mistaken for bed bugs. We published a post about it earlier: bedbugdetected.com/10-bugs-mistaken-for-bed-bugs
Bed bugs are small insects which are 1 to 5 mm sized and not always easy to see with human eye: bedbugdetected.com/what-do-bed-bugs-look-like-to-the-human-eye
But after a nymph become an adult, it’s always possible to see them with naked eyed while they are walking around.
A bed bug has those basic physical features:
- It is oval-shaped and flatted.
- Reddish-brown in color.
- Close to red after recently fed.
- It has no wings
- It can’t fly
- It can’t jump
- It can move fast when it notices you watching it.
How bed bugs feed?
Bed bugs feed on only blood. They are blood-fed creatures and main food source of bed bugs are mammalians.
So, they feed on bats and human primarily. They can feed on birds or cats or dogs too, but they prefer to feed on these animals only when there are not any human hosts around.
This means that their favorite food is us, human!
How long bed bugs feed?
It depends on conditions, even so, average feeding time of an adult bed bug is 10 to 15 minutes if it is not disturbed.
As a matter of course, a smaller bed bug will feed for a shorter time.
How long does it take for a bed bug to starve to death?
This is also the answer of this question: How long bed bugs live without feeding? There are several answers to this question.
After taking a glance at some studies, the answer will be around 1 YEAR!
What does 1 year mean?
This means that it’s difficult to get rid of bed bugs. you may have no bites for months or you may haven’t seen them for a long time, but they can still be there, near you.
Even after a house left empty for more than a year, new movers can face the same bed bug problem as the previous hosts had.
Can bed bugs live without any hosts?
You must understand that bed bugs do not host on human or other mammalians, unlike fleas. Their hosts are cracks, holes, furniture, clothes or other staff which are near to their food sources.
So, bed bugs do not need to host on human for surviving. What they need is only a secure place close to their feeding sources.
Yes, bed bugs need to feed for surviving too. But unlike most alive, they can deal with hunger for a very long time.
If conditions like temperature or hiding possibilities are suitable for them, bed bugs can live for more than 1 year without feeding.
This doesn’t mean every single bed bug will survive for more than a year without surviving. Environmental conditions will of course, change their resistance. But you must be ready to the worst scenario to get rid of them.
So if you had bed bug problem once and you can’t see them around for a long time, do not relax to forget them.
Always be skeptical and keep searching them around on occasion.
For more information about bed bugs, you can also check these posts:
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
A major problem in homes, businesses, schools, and transportation networks around the world, bed bugs have an active life cycle. They can live for up to a year (generally 6-12 months) depending on the conditions; the average lifespan is about 10 months. The presence of these blood-sucking tiny insects stirs up a lot of emotions. Being they’re in the news quite often now, you might be wondering about how these insects thrive, live, and go about their ways.
Bed bugs go through six life stages, between each they need at least one complete blood meal. They obtain all their nutrition from human blood, nothing else. Life starts as the female lays eggs. She needs to feed in order to lay them. Individuals require feeding prior to mating as well. As many as hundreds of eggs may be produced by one female bed bug in her lifetime, says the EPA. One to as many as three eggs may be laid in a day and from 5-20 can be made after just one serving of blood.
Eggs are the size of a pinhead and have a pearl-white appearance. It takes anywhere from four to twelve days for the eggs to hatch. Each one is about one millimeter long. Young bed bugs are called nymphs, which are tiny and translucent. Some are a whitish-yellow. The other stages in a bed bug’s life cycle are:
1 st Stage Nymph. Still white or yellow in color and 1.5 millimeters. Studies have shown, at around 70°F, the insect can develop to the next stage about five days after feeding.
2 nd Stage Nymph. Starts to resemble an adult and is 2 millimeters. It can reach this in five to eight days if it feeds within the first day of its previous stage.
3 rd Stage Nymph. About 2.5 millimeters.
4 th Stage Nymph. Grows up to 3 millimeters long.
5 th Stage Nymph. 4.5 millimeters.
Adults have the appearance most people associate with bed bugs. Males have a rounder and slightly larger body while females tend to be more elongated. From egg to adult it takes about 37 days. Nymphs are not very mobile and will die of dehydration if their egg was too far from a host.
Mating is an important part of the life cycle. Male bed bugs have external genitalia, which they use to penetrate the female’s abdominal cavity. This process is called traumatic insemination. Sperm from the male is injected into the abdomen and migrates to the ovaries. The eggs are fertilized soon thereafter.
Females can be mated with several times. Some, however, have been known to leave to avoid further injury. This is another crucial aspect in the spread of bed bugs. Rogue females can go it alone, mate with their offspring, and start an entirely new colony. If she already has fertilized eggs then her clan can start multiplying in no time.
Disagreements on Life Span
A Virginia Tech report shows well-fed adult bed bugs can live up to 300 days in the laboratory. Of course in a lab, they have access to food, live in steady temperatures, and don’t get crushed. Studies in Europe done in the 1930s and 40s found they could live without food for over a year. This was in the UK before central heating was used. In the more temperate conditions of U.S. homes, starved bed bugs live an average of 70 days. They must stay hydrated and eating blood is the only way to do so.
Scientists also say that bed bugs have another reason for congregating in such large numbers. This changes the temperature and humidity in those tiny cracks and crevices. More favorable conditions enable them to survive longer when food sources are low.
A bed bug’s life is indeed a fight for survival. Conditions aren’t always ideal. Being small and good at hiding has the drawback of increased crushing risk. A resistance to some insecticides has been found. Those insects that are resistant have reduced development times and life spans, while producing fewer eggs.
In general, bed bugs have just a few months to hatch, feed, mature, and mate. Despite these limitations they have an incredible ability to survive and proliferate in homes, businesses, and just about anywhere.
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