Do Bed Bugs Eat Dead Skin?

Do Bed Bugs Eat Dead Skin?

No, bed bugs do not eat dead skin. Bed bugs have a specialized mouth anatomy that is designed to only consume blood from their hosts. They do not have moving mouth parts that can bite and possibly consume dead skin. Physiologically speaking, bed bugs will not be getting any type of nourishment from dead skin that they would need.

What do bed bugs eat or drink?

Bed bugs eat and drink only blood, specifically from warm-blooded animals such as humans, cats, dogs, and even birds. Humans are their favorite host but if there are no humans around, they will have no problem feeding on other animals to survive. 

How does a bed bug feed?

Bed bugs have a straw-like proboscis for a mouth, akin to a mosquito’s. They use this proboscis to puncture through their host’s skin until it reaches a blood vessel. Their saliva has anesthetic properties that help keep the bite area numb so that the host will not be aware that they are being fed on. Aside from that, their saliva also has an anticoagulant that keeps the blood vessel they are drinking from from clotting. This allows the bed bug to feed continuously without interruptions.

How often do bed bugs feed?

Adult bed bugs feed every five to ten days as long as they have a host to consistently feed on.

A bed bug will have its first meal almost immediately after it hatches from the egg.

A baby bed bug, or nymph, will go through five nymphal stages before it becomes a sexually mature adult bed bug. Before they advance to the next nymphal stage,  they need to feed. The nutrients from the blood will help in their growth. The nymphs will also shed its old exoskeleton after each stage in order to make space for growth.

When the nymph becomes an adult, they will feed every five to ten days in order to produce healthy and viable eggs. The male bed bug also needs to feed to  make sure he produces viable sperm.

Even if bed bugs only lay one to five eggs per day, the upside is that almost 100% of their eggs are going to hatch into healthy bed bugs. Bed bugs believe in quality over quantity.

The female bed bug also needs to be well fed for her to continue laying her eggs. 

How long does a bed bug survive without feeding?

Bed bugs can survive up to a year on a single blood meal if they need to. They are good at trapping moisture because their shell’s waxy outer layer stops the moisture from evaporating off of their shell. This is why not living in a room for a few months is not enough time to wait for the bed bugs to die of starvation. They are very resilient creatures.

Do bed bugs eat dead skin?

No, bed bugs do not eat bed skin. Yes, there are insects that eat dead skin, such as dust mites. Dust mites have evolved over millennia to survive on the consumption of dead skin, the same way bed bugs have evolved from bat bugs to favor human blood. Bed bugs do not have the mouth parts nor do they need anything nutritionally from dead skin. They get all of the nutrients they need to survive from blood.

Do bed bugs eat hair?

Some people have reported finding bed bugs in their hair, which makes them wonder if bed bugs eat hair.

No, bed bugs do not eat hair. Once again, their mouths are not designed to consume hair. They are most probably found on a person’s hair because it was trying to feed on the person’s scalp.Bed bugs actually do not like venturing onto the hairier parts of their host’s body. They prefer hairless areas where they need not walk through hairs to get to the skin.

Even parasites that are known to live in hair, like fleas and lice, do not feed on the hair but on the blood they can get through the scalp. Hair has close to no nutritional value, so it is not something most parasites choose to snack on. 

The only possible insect that may feed on hair is the cockroach. Cockroaches can live off of anything including literal garbage, so hair and dead skin is like a gourmet meal for them.

Do bed bugs eat each other?

No, bed bugs do not eat each other. If bed bugs do not have a host nearby to feed from, they simply wait until one comes along. Since they can wait up to a year without feeding, they are willing to be patient when it comes to food. They also understand that eating each other will simply deplete their colony. Insects work for the greater good, and eating each other is not part of that plan.

Bed bugs do not even feed off of each other’s blood. If a starving bed bug comes across one that has just fed, it will not try and drink their blood. When human blood is ingested by bed bugs, it turns into hemolpymh. Hemolpymh has no hemoglobin, and hemoglobin is a component of blood that bed bugs like.


No, bed bugs do not eat dead skin because all a bed bug eats or drinks is blood, specifically the blood of warm-blooded animals. Dead skin does not have the nutrients a bed bug needs to grow into an adult bed bug, nor does it have the nutrients bed bugs need to produce healthy eggs or sperm.

Bed bugs do not have the necessary mouth parts to bite, chew, nor consume dead skin. They only have specialized straw-like proboscis to puncture their host’s skin to drink blood.

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