How Often Bed Bugs Feed

How do Bed Bugs Feed?

Various bed bug bite reactions

Bed Bugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, such as humans, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, mice and even bats. In fact, Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius), that feed on humans, evolved from Bat Bugs (Cimex adjunctus) that feed on bats. When humans first started living in caves in prehistoric times, Bat Bugs that fed on bats in the caves, started feeding on the humans migrating into the caves. Eventually, the Bat Bugs evolved into Bed Bugs, and have been infesting human dwellings, and biting them ever since. If you are experiencing bed bug agony, you then to find a natural bed bug killer.

Bed Bugs are nocturnal ectoparasites, meaning they feed primarily at night, and live off of the host. While humans sleep, Bed Bugs come out of their hiding places (usually a mattress or box spring, but they’ve even been known to hide in light switch plates, electrical sockets, and even alarm clocks) and make their way to their sleeping victim. You main objective becomes to kill bed bugs mattress. Using their proboscis (mouth parts) they pierce their victim’s skin and inject them with saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, making their bites painless, and making sure the blood keeps flowing. The painful, itchy rashes and bumps on the skin are caused by the body’s reaction to proteins in the Bed Bugs’ saliva.

Bed Bugs are stealthy parasites, they will rarely climb onto their victim to feed. They usually feed from a close enough vantage point, to where only their mouth is touching the person, meaning they never feel a thing and stay asleep longer. Immature Bed Bugs can usually get their fill of a blood meal in just a few minutes, while adults will often feed for ten to fifteen minutes. Bed Bugs will sometimes pierce a person’s skin several times while feeding, causing a row of bites sometimes referred to “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” If bed bugs are feeding on you in your sleep many people find bed bug covers helpful.

Everyone’s skin is different, and many people react very differently to the Bed Bugs saliva.Bed Bug bitesmay show up instantly after the insect has fed, while some people’s skin never reacts, and shows no signs or symptoms of Bed Bugs feeding. As you can see from the pictures,Bed Bug bitessometimes show up as red bumps on the skin. Since individualBed Bug bitesresemble other insect bites, it is often difficult to properly diagnosis aBed Bug infestationon bites alone, as they could also be attributed to mosquitoes, ants, and even spiders.

To properly identify aBed Bug infestation, it is often necessary to find physical evidence of the bugs, such as molted exoskeletons, eggs, “blood spotting” on sheets, mattress, or pillows, or even actual BedBugs.

If you have identified a bed bug infestation, you need to take action immediately and find a organic bed bug killer.

How often do bed bugs feed?

Bed bugs feed by blood and human are one of their main food sources. When you have bed bugs at home, they will look for a way to suck your blood. But how they do it andhow often bed bugs feed?

What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs do not eat other bugs or rest of your dinner in a trash can. What they need for living is blood and they are blood-fed bugs.

However they can feed on bats, cats or dogs, their main food source is always human. They prefer feeding on other alive but human, only if they don’t have any other choice.

How bed bugs feed?

bed bugs bite human for feeding and sucking their blood. For this, they need to climb on you and find the right time for it. That right time is usually nights when most people sleep.

When a bed bug bites you, it also secretes a liquid which prevents you to feel the pain. So, when you realized you were bitten, they are already done with you.

How long can bed bugs live without living?

Bed bugs are tough bugs which have resistance against hungry, thirstiness, heat and cold. Of course, there is a limit for them too, which will cause their death. But their resistance circle is very large.

After a well-feed, a bed bug can live for months without living. This time of months, in most cases 3 or 4 months, is almost standard for every bed bug.

That’s not a big problem for them to survive without feeding for a few months. If all other conditions like temperature are ideal for a bed bug and it can feed very well once, then it can live for more than a year:

How often do bed bugs feed on you?

There is no a certain answer to this question. Because, as other bugs or animals, they will never say “no” to an opportunity of feeding.

But some researches show that, when a bed bugs feeds well, then it will prefer to keep in its host and stay out of trouble if it can.

But bed bugs won’t be able to feed very well every time. So, this will cause them feed for a shorter time period.

We can say that; an adult bed bug will keep feeding on you for once in a month at least. Time will get shorter or longer due to its former feeding performance.


Questions like “How often do bed bugs feed?” never has a certain or standard answer for every single case.

Because bed bugs do not have a meal routine like breakfast or dinner as we do. Like the other bugs, they will keep feeding when they have an opportunity to do it.

But if you wonder about how long it will take to see a bed bug around after they bit you once, this will probably take a month in average. This doesn’t mean they will walk around shorter or longer.

What you must know is that bed bugs can live without feeding for several months and more than a year in some cases. So, if you are looking for bed bugs at home, you should stop waiting for them and start searching them around.

And yes, we already posted an article about how to find them:


Bed bugs may be waging a nightly war on your family, so you’d better know your enemy. Learning about bed bug behavior is your first line of defense, even before you call in pest management professionals. Discourage these creepy home invaders by getting inside their heads. Here’s how.


Feeding patterns are mostly nocturnal and often occur in the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” bite pattern. This means the bed bug will first feed where your exposed skin meets the bedding and then move up for “lunch” before moving again and drawing their third bite, thereby creating a distinctive line of bites. You can also receive a singular bite or even develop a larger cluster of bites as dozens of bed bugs feed on your blood while you sleep.


Thanks to an anesthetic in their saliva and an extremely sharp, straw-like mouth they use for piercing your skin and sucking your blood, you won’t wake up during a bed bug feeding. The saliva also contains an anticoagulant, which prevents clotting, so a typical meal only takes between three to 10 minutes before the bed bug is gorged with your blood.

After eating, the bed bugs will scurry back to hiding spots in your room’s baseboards, floorboards, box springs, carpeting, picture frames, crevices, books, etc. Studying bed bug behavior tells us that they typically hide within eight feet of their victims, digesting your blood, mating and laying eggs before heading back to your bed for another feeding in about five to 10 days.

Oddly enough, it’s not the smell of humans that makes these pests drool as they gravitate from all corners of your home toward your bed. High doses of human aldehydes actually repel bed bugs. Instead, the CO2, warmth and moisture your body emits can lure these bloodthirsty bed bugs to your bedside, all of which they can sense from three feet away. Beyond that, they search for blood meals in random patterns.


Bed bug behavior is based around invading, multiplying and completely taking over your bed. After feeding, they return to their hidden trenches to digest the blood meals and begin the vicious bed bug mating process.

A single female lays between one and 12 eggs each day and between 200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. Guess where all those offspring will be feeding? Now, multiply that reproduction rate by each bed bug in your home, and it’s clear why the pros say it’s never just one bed bug.

After hatching, bed bugs require a meal of blood between each of their five nymph stages. Molting occurs after each phase, which makes exoskeletons (i.e., bed bug shells) a telltale secondary sign of infestation. Immature bed bugs continue to become darker and larger as they feed between each phase until they reach adulthood. An egg can fully mature into an adult in as little as a month and a half if conditions are right (between 70°F and 90°F). The average lifespan of an adult bed bug ranges anywhere from four months to over a year with the right conditions. They spend this entire time feeding, mating and expanding the infestation.

What we know about bed bug behavior tells us this feeding and mating cycle will continue relentlessly. That is why you need a professional. Bed bugs are very difficult to control for several reasons. They can go a whole year without feeding, can survive any temperature between freezing and 122°F and are even evolving to resist standard pyrethroid insecticides.


Don’t rely on bites as a reliable sign of bed bugs. Bed bug bites can be hard to differentiate from other insect bites. Instead, look for secondary signs of bed bug infestation as well, such as shed skins, rust-colored spots on the mattress and bedding (bed bug feces), blood spots on your sheets and pajamas and a musty, sweet-smelling odor.

Physically spotting these insatiable insects is the gold standard for diagnosing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, bed bugs are nocturnal so catching one is difficult. If you get lucky, place captured bed bugs in a sealed container and show them to an expert.

Be sure to call Terminix® at the first sign of bed bugs. We understand bed bug behavior and will provide a free bed bug inspection for your home and a battle plan to win the war against bed bugs.

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Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood. They require a blood meal between each of their five nymphal stages as they grow to adulthood, and again to produce eggs. While bed bugs do not feed on a predictable schedule, when food is widely available, a bed bug will feed every 5-10 days or approximately once a week.

If you’re wondering about bed bugs, you’re definitely not alone. According to Pest Rank, over 1.4 million searches are performed every single month on bed bug related phrases! Knowing how often bed bugs feed is crucial to understanding what to look for when you suspect bed bugs are around. When a food source is more difficult to find, a bed bug can go a very long time without a meal. In perfect lab conditions with optimal temperature and humidity, bed bugs can go up to 400 days without feeding! However, in normal room temperatures and humidity levels, the time they can go without blood is drastically shortened to approximately 3-5 months. Since bed bugs do not need to feed very often, at any one time, the majority of bed bugs in the home are digesting and not actively seeking another blood meal.

A bed bug bite is usually painless and goes unnoticed at the time of feeding. This is because bed bugs have anesthetic in their saliva, which numbs the skin. Bed bug feeding almost always occurs at night while humans are sleeping. A typical meal can last from about 3-10 minutes, but a bed bug may pierce the skin several times in one feeding to get enough blood. This can create a series of bites in a cluster or a zig zag pattern.

Bed bug bites By James Heilman, MD [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Since bed bugs can go so long without feeding, it is unwise to try to starve them by leaving the house uninhabited for a period of time. This rarely if ever works. Instead, face the problem head on as soon as you notice signs of bed bugs. PF Harris products are designed for home pest control and feature many different bed bug solutions. Get rid of bed bugs for good by finding the right Harris product for your situation.

Bed Bugs – When and How Often do they Feed?

Bed bugs have increasingly become a nationwide epidemic over the last few decades. Once considered a thing of the past, these parasitic bloodsuckers have returned with a vengeance and are now one of the most invasive pests facing American families.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing a full-scale bed bug invasion you’ll know just how nightmarish the situation can become. With little or no warning you wake up one morning to find yourself covered in raised welts or red rashes – the telltale signs of a hungry bed bug.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of mammals. Humans are their preferred source of sustenance, and they will happily jump at the chance to feed on an unsuspecting host. Their bites typically result in an allergic reaction in the host, causing them to develop a noticeable rash or series of raised welts. Depending on the severity of the reaction.

Bed bugs tend to feed at night, though they have been know to break this pattern given the right environment and a sleeping or otherwise inactive host. In most cases a feeding bed bug with attack their host a number of times during a feeding, biting the host multiple times and extracting the blood on which the survive and thrive.

Bed bugs can feed up to three times a night, leaving a telltale zig-zag pattern of bites on the victim. There are some important factors to consider when we talk about bed bug feeding routines, and it helps to understand those factors better when dealing with a bed bug infestation in your home.

Availability of Food

The first factor to consider is the availability of food. In extreme circumstances a bed bug can actually survive without feeding for up to 400 days. That allows them to play the long game, waiting patiently for a suitable host and bed bug friendly environment.

Generally speaking, however, the average bed bug needs to feed approximately once every seven days or so. Females, given the right environmental conditions, may feed as often as every two days. This is especially true if the females are entering into a reproductive cycle.

The Larger the Population the Bigger the Feeding Frenzy

It is important to remember that bed bugs rarely appear in isolation. If you see one there is bound to be a larger colony within the home. While the feeding habits of one or two bed bugs may seem fairly insignificant the scenario becomes much more troubling when we consider larger populations of these parasites.

As a bed bug colony grows each of the members must feed to a regular schedule and they will all have to feed at different times. This creates something of a perfect feeding storm, and people living in highly infested buildings often wake up to find themselves covered in bed bug bites. There could easily be hundreds, if not thousands, of hungry bed bugs feeding on one host. As the bed bug population increases so will the number of bites inflicted on the hosts.

Living Conditions

The second factor to consider is the environment itself. The conditions within the environment will directly impact the number of times a bed bugs feeds and by extension the number of bed bug bites one might experience.

For example, bed bugs thrive in moderate temperatures. A moderate indoor temperature of say 78° Fahrenheit is optimal, and at this temperature bed bugs will bite and feed to a regular schedule. In agreeable temperatures the females will continue to lay eggs and the population will continue to grow. This, naturally, leads to a greater occurrence of bed bug bits for the unlucky hosts.

If the ambient temperature drops, becoming significantly colder, the bed bug population will typically slow down and their feeding will become more intermittent. It is important to note, however, that even in cooler temperatures the feeding will not stop entirely. It takes extremely frigid temperatures to kill a bed bug and they can easily wait out a common seasonal shift in temperature.

Even in somewhat unfavorable conditions a bed bug colony will continue to grow. While you may see a drop in bed bug bites that doesn’t mean they aren’t still feeding on you and your family. Once conditions return to normal they can, and typically will, return with a vengeance.

How to Stop Bed Bugs from Biting

The only sure way to stop bed bugs from biting is to eliminate the infestation. That means calling in professional help. Over the counter treatments and home remedies usually do little more than postpone the inevitable, and in some cases they can make the situation much worse.

If you are waking up to find yourself covered in bed bug bites there is no time to delay, Contact a bed bug removal service and schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Working with your removal consultant you can develop an attack plan that will eliminate the bed bug infestation and allow you family to sleep soundly once again.

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