How Much Blood Do Bed Bugs Eat

What Do Bed Bugs Eat

People eat in order to live. They take in to their system various food that may include bread, rice, meat and vegetables, and the nutrients that they obtain from these help them sustain life. Here, they get their food from the sea, from the land and the air, where as they cook these and eat to survive.

Now, did it ever cross people’s minds on what animals, particularly the insects take in to their system as food? Or better, what do bed bugs eat in order to live and continuously increase in number? Here, even human beings are actually taking part in the eating process of bed bugs. But in what way do human beings get involved in this activity? And what is it that makes people wonder, “What do bedbugs eat?”

Bed bugs feed on blood, most especially to that of the warm blooded animals. They feed on human blood such that they have special tubes to use in this process. Scientifically speaking, bed bugs are known to be hematophagous, meaning that these are blood sucking insects. They use two hollow feeding tubes that work in ways. The first tube injects saliva to the victim and the other one sucks blood. It has been said that it takes bed bugs to be filled with blood in as fast as five to ten minutes, without the hosts knowing it.

After eating, these bugs return to their hiding places which include cracks in furniture, curtains, mats, rags, bed sheets and mattresses.Here, it would be very hard to spot them, unless you hire specially trained dogs in bed bug detection. Otherwise, people should rely to high technology vacuum cleaners and chemically enhanced pesticides.

This will not only spot them, but will also kill them as you want. According to research, bed bugs are attracted to chemicals. They also are attracted to carbon dioxide and warmth from their hosts. Thus, these serve as pieces of evidence to what bed bugs would want to have for their food.

These bed bugs are actually great for they can last for a long time without eating. However, they still find ways on how they can relieve their hunger by constantly finding for a new victim. As a matter of fact, bed bugs can live for one whole year without eating or sucking blood. Normally, these insects eat for five to ten days in order to get satisfied. There are also pesticide resistant bed bugs in Virginia that are reported to live for as long as two months without feeding.

Bed bugs are actually nuisance insects and it would be very nice if people will take the chance to kill them and destroy them before they get the opportunity to cause serious damages. It should always be remembered that bed bugs feed on blood, and they most of the time choose human beings to be their victims.

What matters is that people should be aware of these facts to avoid these bugs and later on feel the best comfort that could be offered in their own homes. Here, it has been known the answer to the question, “What do bed bugs eat?” and it is made certain that people learned how to escape from this bed bug reality.

If you are unlucky enough and bed bugs already invaded your home then you should certainly take all the necessary steps to get rid of them. US Environmental Protection Agency offers you a great article on how to identify and treat bedbugs infestation.

What bugs eat and how much they are able to live without human blood

Next you will find out:

  • What bugs eat and whether blood is the only source of food for them;
  • How many bed bugs are able to live without blood and will they die if they leave the apartment for a few months;
  • Do bugs bite domestic animals (cats, dogs) and why do chicken coops sometimes just infest these parasites;
  • You will also find out whether bed bugs live in the wild and whether they can be accidentally picked up somewhere .

Bites bed bugs – a kind of paradox of modern civilization. These parasites, pestering people still in stone caves, today easily adapt to the conditions of apartments with European-quality repair and continue to multiply successfully, despite all the achievements of the chemical industry that produces insecticides.

A huge number of apartments and houses in Russia, USA, UK, China, in developed and developing countries are simply teeming with bugs (the problem is especially acute in small hostels, through which a significant flow of people of middle and low incomes passes).

But why is it so difficult to fight these bloodsuckers? After all, it would seem that bed bugs feed on human blood, which means that it’s enough to leave the apartment for a couple of weeks and that’s it! Parasites will die, so to speak, starvation – simply for lack of a source of food.

However, practice shows that even if you leave a room that is infected with bugs for half a year, it is often not the entire population of parasites that die: the surviving individuals begin to bite people again and actively reproduce.

But how is that? What bugs fed on all these months, and do they really eat only human blood? Do they fall into anabiosis? Let’s figure it out together .

The diet and way of eating bedbug

The only bed bug food is really only the blood of mammals. Like other species of bugs (and there are more than 40,000 species in nature), the residential parasites have their jaws turned into an elongated proboscis,which the insect pierces the skin of a person, gets to the blood vessel and sucks blood to saturation.

Generally speaking, what bedbugs eat is well seen through the translucent walls of their young larvae: their bodies appear to be scarlet from drunk blood (see the examples in the photos below).

If you catch several insects of different degrees of saturation, it is easy to see that hungry adults have a flat brown body, and hungry larvae are light brown or light yellow. When saturated, the parasites become dark scarlet, their bodies swelling, filled with fresh blood.

At the same time in their "dining habits" bloodsucking bugs are quite original. So, for example, they are not satisfied with sucking blood from only one wound in one feeding. In most cases, they make several punctures along the same blood vessel (or even without being tied to it).

Due to this feature, bedbug bites stand out noticeably among the bites of other human parasites: their marks are usually connected in chains with an interval of 1-2 centimeters. Some kind of paths are formed from bites (so if you found such paths on your body,you should not attribute their allergies, as it is often done by unprepared people when they first “meet” with bedbugs).

In addition, bed bugs bite only for hairless parts of the body. Because of its wide flat abdomen, these blood-sucking parasites find it difficult to break through the hairline to human skin, so they almost never bite into the head and groin area.

Common places for bedbug bites are buttocks, thighs, hips, abdomen, back, arms, neck, and face. If a person sleeps in his underwear, the parasites do not climb under him and bite only the exposed parts of the body.

Bedbug – bloodsucker night. He prefers to attack his victim in the interval from two o’clock in the morning to five in the morning, when a person sleeps most soundly. The bites are practically painless, but the saliva secreted by the parasite, some time after getting into the skin tissue, begins to cause itching. Accordingly, it is usually possible to catch the parasite directly at the moment of a bite only with a light sleep or with an accidental awakening at night.

A characteristic feature is that after nightly feeding on bloodsuckers, small blood stains often remain on the white sheet.

Other species of bugs living in nature, can pierce the stems and fruits of plants, sucking their juices. Some attack arthropods, and large bugs – even fish and frogs, sucking up almost all the insides of their victims. However, most bugs are vegetarians, and they do not attack humans.

Bedbugs today live almost exclusively in or near human habitation, and in nature they are found only in very specific places – for example, in bat nests.

How long can bugs live without blood?

In general, we can say that bugs live without food for a long time. One or two months of hunger strike for them are virtually harmless and do not even require falling into a stupor and any inhibition of physiological processes.

If the source of food near the bloodsucker bug is not too long, then it can fall into a state of anabiosis, in which the biochemical processes in his body are slowed down.In such a kind of hibernation, the insect can spend up to a year, while remaining alive.

There are cases when tenants of apartments wrapped mattresses infected with bugs with plastic wrap in the hope that the parasites will have nothing to eat and they will die without blood in a couple of months.However, even after six months of keeping the mattress wrapped in a film, the bugs in it were still alive.

In comfortable living conditions, the life expectancy of a bed bug is about 12-14 months. If hibernation is present in the life cycle, then this period is extended.

It is useful to consider the following nuances:

  • adult bugs live without food longer than the larvae;
  • without fresh blood, the female cannot lay off the next batch of eggs, therefore the reproduction of parasites practically stops;
  • without obtaining blood, the larva is not able to shed, its development slows down dramatically.

Normally, the bed bug eats every 5-6 days, and in the intervals between it digests the blood drunk. Larvae can feed more often, but with each feeding they make fewer bites and suck less blood than an adult.

Even if there are several dozen bedbugs living in the house, a person may not pay attention to their bites for a long time. Often, the parasites bite only someone in the family, almost without touching the other tenants.

“We recently rented an apartment, without furniture. All new furniture bought, made repairs. A month later, she began to find traces of bites on the child.At first I thought it was an allergy, because my husband and I had nothing at all. Then she found bedbugs right in the nursery bed. Where did they come from? The apartment was empty for a whole year, no one lived in it. The neighbors look at me like they are crazy, they say that everything is clean . ”

Can bedbugs suck the blood of pets?

It is believed that bed bugs do not bite domestic animals: cats, dogs, as well as guinea pigs, rats, etc. However, in reality it is not so simple.

In certain situations (critical for survival, that is, when there is no other food at all), bloodsucking bugs can bite domestic animals. It is important that for mammals all potential mammals and birds are potential victims: parasites can, if necessary, feed on the blood of pigeons in the attics and the blood of rats in the basements.

However, it is much more difficult to feed even on rats to bloodsuckers than on humans – the presence of a dense coat of wool creates difficulties for access to the skin surface. There is no need to talk about dogs and cats here, because of the difficulties with access to the skin, bugs practically do not touch these animals.

Even if people do not live in the apartment for a long time, but there are domestic animals, the parasites gradually leave the premises, if there is such an opportunity (usually through the cracks and ventilation ducts – to neighboring apartments).

"Tidbits" for bedbugs – domestic chickens, with their thin skin and areas without feathers in the eye and beak.That is why chicken coops are infected very often: bed bugs feed on the blood of birds with the same pleasure as human blood.Often in rural areas it is necessary to poison coop from bedbugs even more often than residential houses – bedbugs breed here swiftly.

Bed bugs and their diet in nature

In general, the number of bed bugs that live in nature today is much less than the total number of their apartment populations.

Sometimes wild populations of bed bugs are found in caves in which the temperature is maintained at about the same year round: parasites feed on the blood of bats. In the case of the wings, there is no fur on the wings, and under the thin skin there are easily accessible blood vessels, which provide bugs with almost ideal conditions for feeding.

In some places in nature, bugs constantly live in the holes of rodents and the nests of colonial birds. But it can be said fragments of their main population.

Scientists believe that it was in the caves in prehistoric times that the bugs first tasted human blood and switched to feeding on it. Since then, these parasites have become constant companions of man, and their populations in the caves are considered to be a kind of preservatives.

Today, in addition to bed bugs, some species of predator bugs parasitize bats. In the video below you can see how this meal takes place.


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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.


Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.


Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.


University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

What Do Bed Bugs Eat? Do They Only Feed On Humans?

While bed bugs like human blood, they have been known to feed on animals like bats too. Discover more about bed bugs and their different types.

Bed bugs. You want them gone. They want to take over your home – and your bed. They do that well, staying hidden by day and preying on you at night while you are defenseless. This works for them and keeps them out of trouble with their human blood donors. But what do bed bugs eat besides blood?

There are many species of bed bugs, and they all feed on blood. Most species prefer one mammal over another. For some, the blood of specific mammals is required for them to lay viable eggs and survive. Most bed bugs, however, will feed on any blood available to sustain themselves, if their preferred warm blood is not available.

The most common species of bed bug associated with people is formally named Cimex lectularius. Human blood is their primary energy source. We house them, feed their young and provide them with the nutritional elements they must have to breed and produce viable eggs.

Should bed bugs be found in your house, they will most likely be C. lectularius, but it is important to remember that there is a possibility of other species invading, such as bat bugs. Bat bugs are in the same family as bed bugs and formally named Cimex adjunctus. As their name indicates, bat bugs live with and feed mostly on bats. Like C. lectularius, they will feed and survive on the blood of other mammals, including humans, but they must have bat blood to reproduce.

It is very important to identify which Cimex species you have, because their habits and habitats are quite different. In a typical bed bug infestation, close to 70 percent of the bed bugs will be either on or very close to the bed area.

You may not realize you have a bat infestation until bat bugs are identified in your home. Bat bug infestations will usually be in the attic or wall voids where bats have been nesting. These hiding spots are in completely different locations than that of bed bugs. Control must include removal of the bats and the bat bugs.

What do bed bugs eat? They might snack on animals. They might have bat-tasting relatives. But in the end, the bed bug’s favorite thing to eat is your blood. It will probably take a professional pest management specialist to identify whether you are dealing with human bloodsuckers or their bat brethren. The primary identifier is the relationship between the length of the hairs on the pronotum and the size of the eyes. Don’t know what a pronotum is? Then save your time, and your blood – call a professional.

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

What are Earwigs?

Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.


The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.


The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

Are Bed Bugs Contagious?

Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?

What Do Bed Bugs Eat? – Common Feeding Habits

Bed bugs are a real nuisance all over the world. That’s partly because they have a food source almost anywhere they wish to go. To learn more about what bed bugs eat, keep reading.

You’ll be an expert on their dietary habits in no-time.

What Do Bed Bugs Usually Eat?

No matter which species of bed bug you’re wondering about, all of them feed on the same thing – blood. They aren’t too picky about where that blood comes from when it comes down to their survival.

While they’ll take anything they can get, they do prefer warm-blooded mammals. One type of bed bugs that seems to prefer human blood over other sources is called Cimex lectularius.

Bed bugs are attracted to people because of our warmth and the carbon dioxide we emit.

Unlike some other pests that feed on blood like ticks and mosquitoes, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit any diseases to humans while they’re taking our blood, and are very unlikely to make you sick. That’s the sole silver lining to finding out you have a bed bug infestation in your home.

Also unlike a mosquito bite, you won’t feel pain or discomfort when a bed bug bites you. You won’t actually feel the bite happening at all because your new little friend will inject you with an analgesic, which is a pain-killing substance found in a bed bug’s saliva.

But later, after the analgesic wears off, you’ll probably begin to feel the effects of being bitten. Bed bug bites can cause redness and itching.

Do Bed Bugs Ever Feed on Other Animals?

While humans are the preferred food source for bed bugs, desperate times call for desperate measures. While bed bugs can survive for long periods without food, if they’re hungry enough and you aren’t around, they’re going to look for other food sources.

Those other food sources can include animals, although if there’s a person around, they’ll go for them first. Your pet’s fur or feathers won’t deter the bed bugs. They’ll work their way through that until they get to the skin to draw out some blood.

So if you have pets, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and birds, they could also potentially turn into a food source for your unwelcome house guests.

How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed?

This is a tricky question because how often they feed depends, in part, on the temperature.

In warmer temperatures, bed bugs will eat about once a week. Nymphs, also known as baby bed bugs, need to eat in order to grow. They’ll have to bite someone about five or six times before they become a full-fledged adult. They’ll shed their skin and leave behind a casing about five times before they reach adulthood.

But when the weather gets cooler, the rules for feeding change. The bed bugs aren’t as active in colder temperatures and therefore their feeding schedule slows down along with their activity level.

How Much Blood Do Bed Bugs Take in a Single Meal?

The idea of a pest sucking our blood as we sleep is a pretty disturbing idea for most of us. But before you start to become concerned that you’ll be feeling a bit woozy from all the blood loss if your house has bed bugs, you can relax a bit.

A bed bug typically takes about .0055 milliliters of blood per bite, which, to put it in perspective, is less than a drop out of a medicine dropper. Mosquitos, by comparison, can take up to .01 millimeters in a single feeding.

In just a few minutes, bed bugs can drink up to six times their body weight – but remember, they are very small in size. They’ll stay attached to you for about five to 10 minutes and then they’ll leave you alone.

Unless you have a big infestation, you shouldn’t notice any ill effects from how much blood bed bugs take from you. But as an added incentive to take care of any infestations, there have been cases in which people have ended up with severe anemia because of the blood loss they’ve experienced from bed bug bites.

Cases like this are rare, but when it comes to babies and small children, the blood loss can become problematic sooner than it would with adults. It doesn’t take long for an infestation to reach this level, although there would be many signs that would tip you off to an infestation before your health would begin to suffer.

In just 11 weeks of optimal conditions, two bedbugs could create an empire of bugs that could cause a stressful amount of blood loss to a baby. It would take just 15 weeks to cause that same level of harm to an adult.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Feeding?

Adult bed bugs can go months without consuming any blood in cooler temperatures. Nymphs can’t last quite as long without blood – they can only go for about three months without it before dying.

In winter months in cold climates, adult bed bugs can live more than a year without feeding on a host. In a study done in a laboratory in controlled conditions of 10 percent humidity and a temperature of 44 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ve survived a staggering 560 days without consuming any blood.

But in a typical home, even during the winter months, the warmth will be enough for the bed bugs to engage in regular feedings. So if you notice any signs of bed bugs on your sheets or mattress, you can count on the fact that they’re trying to feast on you and the others residing in your household.


Now you know what bed bugs eat and how quickly a severe infestation can get out of hand. You, your family and your pets are all a potential food source for any bed bugs in your home. And if the infestation gets bad, you’re going to be like an all-you-can-eat buffet for those bed bugs.

That’s why it’s crucial to call in the experts if you find any signs of a bed bug infestation in your home.

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