How long can a bed bug live without blood?

by | May 22, 2023 | 0 comments

The Creepy Crawler that Terrorizes Your Sleep

Bed bugs are hardy pests, which is why they can infest homes and remain undetected for long periods. An essential question many ask is – how long can a bed bug live without blood? This article offers insights into the survival capabilities of these pests and how to effectively manage an infestation with a Houston bed bug exterminator. We’ll discuss topics like the bed bug maturation process, the surprising places they can hide in your home, and how long bed bug sprays last.

The Importance of Understanding How Long Bed Bugs Can Survive Without Blood

One of the critical behaviours of bed bugs is their dependence on blood as a source of nutrition. Without regular blood meals bed bugs cannot grow or reproduce effectively. This dependency makes them vulnerable to control measures such as starvation or treatments that prevent them from feeding.

Understanding how long bed bugs can survive without blood is essential for designing effective control strategies. It helps pest management professionals predict where infestations may occur based on the availability of food sources and determine how long they need to maintain control measures before considering the infestation eradicated.

Did you know?

Bed bugs can survive extreme temperatures, with some studies suggesting they can withstand temperatures as low as -25°C (-13°F) and as high as 50°C (122°F).

Moreover, knowing how long bed bugs can survive without food helps individuals who have experienced a bed bug infestation take preventive measures to avoid reinfection. In short, this information is crucial for anyone looking to protect themselves from these pesky parasites.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs undergo gradual metamorphosis, meaning they hatch from eggs laid by adult females and go through several nymph stages before becoming adults. There are five distinct stages in the bed bug life cycle: egg, five immature nymph stages, and adult. Bed bugs need a blood meal to moult from one stage to the next, so they must feed on human or animal hosts to grow and reproduce.

See our blog post on: How long does it take a bed bug to mature

Explanation of the different stages in a bed bug’s life cycle

The first stage of life for a bed bug is the egg. A female can lay up to 5 eggs per day and as many as 500 during her lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about 1 mm) and white, making them difficult to detect with the naked eye.

After about one week, the eggs hatch into first instar nymphs, which closely resemble adults but are much smaller (only about 1.5 mm long). Over time, each juvenile bed bug goes through several molting stages called instars before reaching adulthood.

Emphasis on the fact that bed bugs need blood to molt and grow


Blood is essential for bed bugs to develop from one stage to another in their life cycle. Once they hatch from their eggs, juvenile bed bugs will not survive without obtaining blood meals within days. The amount of time between molts depends on temperature and availability of food sources; warmer temperatures usually result in faster molting times than cooler ones.

For an immature nymph-stage bed bug or even an adult-stage insect to take its successive molt – it needs access to a fresh warm mammalian-blood meal. This indicates that when there is no presence of humans or animals nearby, these pests may eventually enter into starvation mode leading to their death.

Did you know?

Bed bugs can live for up to a year in favorable conditions and can produce multiple generations within that time.

Knowing this information helps pest control professionals determine effective treatment options for eliminating bed bugs. It’s important to target all life stages of bed bugs and their hiding places to prevent them from feeding, molting, and reproducing.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Blood?

Bed bugs are notorious blood-sucking insects that can cause severe discomfort and stress to their human hosts. However, few people know how long these pests can survive without a blood meal, which is crucial in understanding bed bug behavior and implementing effective control measures.

Fortunately, researchers have conducted several studies on this topic, which provide valuable insights into the survival time of bed bugs without blood.

Overview of studies and research on the topic

Several studies have been conducted to determine how long bed bugs can survive without a blood meal. One study found that adult bed bugs could survive up to 400 days without feeding when kept in an environment with low temperature and high humidity. Another study showed that nymphs (young bed bugs) could live up to 70 days without feeding at room temperature.

Discuss factors affecting a bed bug’s survival without blood (temperature, humidity, etc.)

Various factors influence the length of time that bed bugs can live without feeding. Temperature and humidity are two critical environmental factors affecting their survival rate.

Bed bugs prefer temperatures between 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C), with relative humidity ranging from 70% to 80%. When kept outside these preferred conditions or exposed to extreme temperatures or dry environments like deserts, they tend to die faster due to dehydration.

Specific time frames for each stage in a bed bug’s life cycle without blood

The amount of time bed bugs can survive varies depending on their developmental stage. Nymphs require regular feedings more frequently than adults because they molt several times before becoming mature adults capable of reproducing.

The first-stage nymphs usually last about six weeks while second-stage nymphs require up to eight weeks before needing another meal. Third-stage nymphs need food every ten weeks; fourth-stage nymphs can survive for up to six months without feeding.

Did you know?

Bed bug infestations are not necessarily a sign of poor hygiene or cleanliness.

Adult bed bugs, however, can last nearly a year without food in ideal conditions. Knowing how long bed bugs can survive without blood is crucial information for pest control.

Understanding the factors that affect their survival rate and their developmental stages’ varying food requirements is essential for developing effective control strategies. The following section focuses on some of the implications of this knowledge for preventing infestations and re-infestations after treatment.

Implications for Bed Bug Control

bed bugs

The Importance of Knowing How Long Bed Bugs Can Survive Without Blood for Effective Control Measures

Knowing how long bed bugs can survive without blood is crucial in developing effective control measures. It allows pest management professionals to determine how long to keep a structure isolated and helps them decide which treatment options are most effective.

For example, if a property has been vacant for some time, it may be necessary to use a more aggressive treatment approach to eliminate any bed bugs that may have survived without a blood meal.

Discussion on How This Knowledge Can Be Used in Monitoring Infestations

bed bug with eggs

In addition to understanding the implications for control measures, knowing how long bed bugs can survive without blood is also useful in monitoring infestations. Pest management professionals can determine if bed bugs are present and estimate the size of an infestation by placing interceptors under the legs of furniture or using other monitoring tools.

Knowing how long bed bugs can survive without blood also helps with determining the frequency of follow-up inspections and treatments. For instance, if it is established that bed bugs can survive up to six months without feeding, then follow-up inspections should be scheduled within that timeframe.

Tips for Preventing Re-Infestation After Treatment

While eliminating an infestation through treatment is critical, preventing re-infestation is equally essential. And knowing how long bed bugs can live without feeding plays a significant role in this process.

To prevent re-infestation after treatment, homeowners and property managers should treat luggage and personal belongings before bringing them into treated areas. It’s essential also to inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home or property as this could reintroduce bed bugs into an otherwise treated area.

Did you know?

Bed bugs have a flattened body shape, allowing them to hide in narrow spaces and squeeze into tiny cracks.

Additionally, sealing potential entry points, such as cracks or crevices around baseboards, windows, and doors, will help limit bed bug movement within the property. Maintaining a clean living environment and vacuuming regularly are essential steps in preventing bed bugs from infesting again.

Lesser-Known Facts About Bed Bugs

bed bug

They Can Survive Extreme Temperatures

One common fact about bed bugs is that they prefer warm temperatures for survival, but did you know they can also survive in frigid temperatures?

Bed bugs have been found to survive in temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius. Some researchers have suggested that extreme cold can be used as a non-toxic method for bed bug control.

They Have a Color Preference

Another lesser-known fact about bed bugs is that they have a color preference. Studies have shown that bed bugs attract specific colors, mainly red and black.

This may explain why they are often found in dark crevices of furniture or bedding. However, it’s important to note that this preference is not absolute, and bed bugs can still be found in other colors of fabric or surfaces.

They Can Go Months Without Feeding

While it’s well-known that bed bugs need blood to survive and reproduce, it’s surprising how long they can go without feeding. Adult bed bugs can go up to six months without feeding on blood while remaining alive.

This makes them particularly difficult to detect and eliminate, especially if they hide deep within cracks and crevices where they are less likely to come into contact with humans.

They Emit an Odor

Bed bugs emit an odor that is often described as sweet or musty. This odor comes from glands on the underside of their body and is used for communication between bed bugs. It’s also speculated that this odor plays a role in attracting other bed bugs when searching for a suitable host.

Overall, these lesser-known facts highlight how complex bed bugs’ behavior and survival mechanisms are. Understanding these facts can help inform more effective control strategies and may even provide new avenues for developing non-toxic bed bug control methods in the future.


Learning about the survival capabilities of bed bugs, such as how long they can live without blood, is vital in understanding and managing an infestation. Along with this knowledge, ensure you know how to dispose of a bed bug-infested mattress, what to do post-treatment, and what actions to avoid after treatment. Remember, professional extermination costs are an investment in the safety and comfort of your home.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Understanding How Long Bed Bugs Can Live Without Blood

Knowing how long bed bugs can survive without blood is essential for effective pest control. It can help with monitoring infestations, prevention strategies, and eradication measures. By understanding their survival capabilities, we can develop targeted treatments that are more efficient and cost-effective.

Additionally, understanding these facts about bed bugs could bring peace of mind to those who have experienced an infestation in their homes. Knowing these pests cannot survive indefinitely without a host may reassure those who fear a re-infestation.

While bed bugs are uncomfortable for many people, knowing how they behave and survive is key to eliminating them from our homes. With a better understanding of their biology and behavior, we can create more effective measures to prevent infestations from occurring or quickly eliminate existing ones.


What instantly kills bed bugs?

Several methods can instantly kill bed bugs, including:

  • Heat treatment: Exposing bed bugs to high temperatures above 120°F (49°C) can kill them instantly.
  • Insecticides: Certain insecticides are specifically designed to kill bed bugs on contact.
  • Steam treatment: Using steam on infested areas can instantly kill bed bugs by denaturing their proteins.

Will bed bugs die if no one sleeps in bed?

Bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding, so simply avoiding the bed for a short period of time is unlikely to eliminate them. Bed bugs can hide in various areas of a room, such as cracks, crevices, and furniture, not just in the bed itself. Therefore, it is important to implement comprehensive treatment methods to effectively eliminate bed bugs.

What causes bed bugs to die?

Several factors can cause bed bugs to die:

  • Extreme temperatures: Bed bugs are sensitive to both extreme heat and cold. Exposing them to temperatures above 120°F (49°C) or below 32°F (0°C) for a sustained period can be lethal.
  • Insecticides: The use of insecticides, both chemical and natural, can kill bed bugs by targeting their nervous system or disrupting their exoskeleton.
  • Lack of blood meal: Bed bugs feed on blood, typically from humans. If they are unable to find a blood meal for an extended period, they can eventually die.

Do bed bugs die if they don’t bite?

Bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding. While they require blood meals to reproduce and develop, they can enter a dormant state called “diapause” where their metabolic rate slows down, enabling them to survive longer periods without feeding. However, if they are deprived of a blood meal for a significant duration, they can eventually die.

What kills bed bugs permanently at home?

Eliminating bed bugs permanently from your home usually requires a combination of strategies:

  • Professional extermination: Hiring a licensed pest control professional who specializes in bed bug extermination can be highly effective in eliminating the infestation.
  • Heat treatment: Using specialized equipment to raise the temperature in infested areas above 120°F (49°C) can kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Insecticides: Applying appropriate insecticides, following the instructions carefully, can help eliminate bed bugs.
  • Thorough cleaning: Vacuuming, laundering infested bedding and clothing, and decluttering the affected areas can aid in getting rid of bed bugs.

What homemade spray kills bed bugs?

While homemade sprays may have limited effectiveness, some people have reported success with the following:

  • Vinegar: Mixing white vinegar with water and spraying it directly on bed bugs or their hiding places may help kill them on contact.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Spraying rubbing alcohol directly on bed bugs can be effective, but it is important to use caution and proper ventilation due to its flammability.
  • Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, or peppermint oil, when diluted with water and sprayed, may repel or kill bed bugs.

Please note that while these homemade remedies may show some efficacy, they may not completely eradicate a bed bug infestation. Consulting a professional pest control service is recommended for effective and thorough elimination.

Duane Cepeda is a highly skilled and experienced bed bug exterminator with a passion for creating pest-free living spaces. With a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of bed bug behavior, Duane is dedicated to providing effective and tailored solutions to help clients rid their homes of these persistent pests. Trusted by many, Duane Cepeda is committed to delivering top-notch pest control services that ensure peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for his customers.


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