How Often Do Bed Bugs Need To 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.


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.

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:

Everything you need to know about bedbugs

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Bedbugs are small, wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Humans are the preferred hosts for the two main species.

There are two species of bedbugs that are known to feed on human blood. They are known scientifically asCimex lectulariusandCimex hemipterus. They have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians from 3,500 years ago.

Over millions of years, bedbugs have evolved as nest parasites, inhabiting the nests of birds and the roosts of bats. Some of them have learned to adapt to the human environment.

Newborn bedbugs, called hatchlings or nymphs, are tiny but visible and about the size of a poppy seed. Adults grow to about 0.25 inches long with an oval and flattened shape when they are not feeding. After feeding, they can double in size. Nymphs, eggs, and adults are visible to the naked eye.

They are called bedbugs because of their preferred habitat in human homes: Sofas, bed mattresses, clothing, and other soft furnishings. They also prefer the dark.

Bedbugs are seen as a growing problem within all types of dwellings, including private homes, dormitories, cruise ships, army barracks, and shelters.

When seen close up, their color may range from a white, light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange color. When they have fed, a dark red or black blob may be observed within their body. They seek shelter in dark cracks and crevices when disturbed.

Fast facts on bedbugs

  • Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals.
  • Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they are asleep.
  • The peak time for feeding is between midnight and 5 am.
  • Bites can be seen quickly but may take up to 14 days to become visible.
  • Bed bugs need to feed regularly to reproduce, lay eggs and survive.

Share on Pinterest A bedbug may cause a coriander-like smell.

The most obvious sign of bedbugs in the home is that people complain of bites that occurred while they were asleep. If this happens, examine the bedrooms for bedbugs and signs of bedbug activity.

Look carefully in bed linen and the seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs for bugs or eggs. The eggs will look like tiny, pale poppy seeds.

Signs of bedbug activity may occur beneath loose areas of wallpaper near beds, in the corner of desks and dressers, in the laundry, and in drawers.

Keep an eye out for dark brown or rust-colored bedbug droppings that stain material and mattresses. Bedbug excrement is a liquid that looks either light brown or black, and it usually either beads up or is absorbed by the material around it.

A large population of bedbugs may produce a coriander-like odor.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and includes:

  • topical creams, such as cortisone, to relieve itching
  • an oral antibiotic, if infection occurs because of skin irritation around the bite
  • corticosteroids, if a person has a severe allergic reaction
  • antihistamines, to help relieve allergic reactions

Most bites heal within 1 and 2 weeks of occurrence.

Some of these treatments are available for purchase online, including cortisone and antihistamines.

Since bedbugs can hide in a wide range of places in the home, they are not easy to remove. It is advisable to bring in a pest control professional.

Removing excess clutter from the house, giving the bedbugs fewer places to hide, makes inspection and removal less difficult.

Some pest control companies request that furniture is pulled away from walls and mattresses and box springs stood on edge before they enter the home. Other companies prefer everything to be left where it is so that they can perform a check before moving the furniture themselves.

Scientists at Ohio State University have determined that combining the chemical signals of bedbugs with a common insect-control agent can make it an effective treatment for killing the bugs.

Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they sleep. They draw blood in a painless way.

While feeding, they inject a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin. If they feed on one particular person for several weeks, the individual may become more sensitive to their saliva and the chemicals that it contains. The host might eventually develop an allergic response.

Bedbugs, like fleas, tend to bite in rows. There are likely to be two or three bites in each row. This is probably because the bedbug is interrupted while feeding, and then comes back about half an inch further down for its next bite.

Bites can take up to 14 days to become visible but often appear within several days. Bedbug bites are larger than fleabites and do not usually have a red dot at the center. The bites tend to be raised and red.

They can be scattered or occur in clusters of three over the paths of blood vessels, known as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner sign.”

Most people who are bitten show no symptoms at all and often do not know it happened. This makes it more difficult to prevent or identify potential infestations. Some individuals, however, may become ill and nauseous. It is possible to get scars and skin infections from scratching the bites.

Very rarely, people might have an anaphylactic reaction to bedbug bites. It is possible but rare to have an asthmatic reaction to bedbugs.

Bedbugs are adaptable, and there are many ways in which a bedbug infestation can occur.

They may get into a new home as stowaways when luggage, furniture, and bedding is moved in. People should be careful when purchasing second-hand furniture and should never purchase used mattresses. A careful visual inspection should allow a person to detect bedbugs or their droppings.

Even vacant and seemingly clean homes may have bedbugs in them. They can survive for over two months without any food. It is also believed they can move from apartment to apartment through hollows and holes in the walls and the tubes through which wires and pipes run.

Bedbug infestations can be difficult to prevent.

It is possible to encase both the mattress and box spring in a protective cover, as some people do for allergy relief. Some pest control firms sell them, as well as a number of retail outlets. Click here for a range of products that can help to protect a bed against infestation.

Once encased, any bedbug trapped inside and prevented from feeding will eventually die. Some people keep their new beds encased, as it prevents the bugs from getting into the crevices in the mattress and makes it easier to keep the surface clean and bug-free.

When traveling, avoid putting luggage on the bed to reduce the risk of bringing bedbugs home in a suitcase. It is also worth vacuuming any luggage after you return home and making sure you get rid of the contents of the vacuum in a tightly sealed bag. Dispose of this bag in a trashcan outside.

Separate travel clothes from laundry and immediately wash them in hot water.

If you spot bedbugs in the home, call a professional and do not attempt to resolve the infestation. Bedbugs can spread from room to room in clothing, and trying to remove them yourself can often make the matter worse.

Although they are not known to carry diseases, bedbugs can affect an individual’s quality of life, causing distress, discomfort, embarrassment, and broken sleep.

Here are the important facts to have in mind when trying to remove or identify a bedbug infestation:

  • The peak time for feeding is between midnight and 5 AM. Hungry bedbugs will try to feed at any time, but they do not like sunlight and prefer the dark. One feed will take between 5 and 10 minutes. The bug will then return to its hiding place.
  • Bedbugs will feed every 5 to 10 days. They can, however, last for about 70 days without feeding. A well-fed bedbug has a lifespan of several months.
  • They find their host by seeking out human body heat and sensing the presence of the carbon dioxide on the breath.
  • A bedbug will pierce the skin of its host with its mouth part. It first injects saliva that is a mixture of an anesthetic, so that the host feels nothing, and an anticoagulant so that the blood flows out freely. It then sucks out blood until it is full. The bites are not noticeable until after the skin reaction has occurred. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can take up to 14 days for bites to appear.
  • Bedbugs can only reproduce when they have reached maturity. A female bedbug lays approximately seven eggs in a day and hundreds during her lifetime.

A review of bedbug research conducted in 2016 found that while they are highly resistant to removal methods, bedbugs seem to be more of a nuisance than a serious health problem. Research has failed to show any link between the bedbugs associated with humans and human disease.

The biggest risk for humans comes from secondary bacterial infection. With bedbugs, this would occur as a result of scratching the skin. Scratching, if it breaks the skin, allows normal bacteria from the surface of the skin to penetrate deeper.

The source of any bacterial infection is, therefore, the human host and not the bedbug.

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