How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Blood?

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Blood?

Bed bugs can live between two to three months without blood. At a normal room temperature of about 74 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs can survive for quite some time despite being unable to feed on blood. In controlled laboratory environments, bed bugs have been known to live for over a year without feeding.

How often do bed bugs bite a person?

On average, a person with a bed bug infestation will wake up with three or four bites in a row after a night’s sleep.

A bed bug will feed every five to ten days, or about once a week, if they are in an environment where their human host is always readily available. They take five to ten days between feeding because they need to digest all of the blood they consumed before venturing out again.

Bed bugs feed to the point where they balloon to three times their normal size because of all the blood they drink.

There are some factors that can affect how frequently a bed bug needs to feed. For example, in warmer climates, bed bugs will need to feed more often. In colder climates, if they absolutely need to, they can go months without feeding.

So, if you count three or four new bites each day, that means there are multiple bed bugs currently in your house because a different one is feeding on you each day.

Is there anything else aside from blood that bed bugs can eat?

No, there is nothing else a bed bug can possibly live off of apart from blood. Primarily, they prefer human blood, but in a pinch they are fine with preying on birds and other pets in your home.

Bed bugs do not have a typical mouth like other insects have which they use to bite and burrow deeper into our skin. Instead, bed bugs have mouthparts that are similar to a mosquito’s. The straw-like beak will pierce the skin until it reaches a blood vessel, then a longer inner tube inserts further into the blood vessel to drink the blood though.

Their mouthparts do not have teeth or lips which they could use to break down solid food, because those are unnecessary. They have all the nutrients they could possibly need in blood. They do not eat crumbs or little leftovers on the counters or floors like cockroaches do.

What is the bed bug life cycle and how does it affect its feeding behavior?

A bed bug’s feeding habits are closely related to its life cycle, because one of the main factors of how much and how often they feed is their age.

After the female bed bug lays its eggs, it will take seven to ten days before they hatch. The baby bed bug, or nymph, that hatches is immediately going to search for food because it is hungry. Over the next few weeks, the nymph will grow bigger and continue to mature. It will go through five nymphal stages. After each stage, it sheds its shell and takes a blood meal to grow a new one.

After its fifth shedding, it will become a sexually mature adult. It will then have to continue feeding in order to mate. Female bed bugs need to feed in order to produce viable eggs, while males need to feed in order to impregnate the female effectively by producing viable sperm.

Eventually, after about a year, the bed bug will slow down and die, typically from old age and not from predation.

How long can bed bugs live without blood?

A bed bug’s need to feed is different from humans. Bed bugs only feed when they are really hungry, if a person did the same thing, they would be severely malnourished.

It is not known exactly how long a bed bug can survive without a meal in normal home settings, but estimates range between six to eight months.

The maturity of the bed bug and the temperature of its living space determine how long it will survive. A nymph will die quicker than an adult bed bug if starved for the same amount of time, and a bed bug in a colder climate can survive for longer than one in a hotter climate.

How long can baby bed bugs live without blood?

First stage nymphs are the most vulnerable to starvation. They only survive between 13 to 36 days without feeding.

As the bed bugs get older and progress through their life stages, they will survive much longer.

The older the nymph, the bigger they get, which means they have more nutrients in their system to stave off starvation. Adult female bed bugs live slightly shorter than males because of the injuries they might have sustained after repeated mating attempts.

Can you be able to starve bed bugs to death?

Yes, you can starve bed bugs to death, but it can take longer than you expect to do so. The best way to do this is to use a plastic mattress encasement, which is like a large plastic bag you wrap around your mattress. They zip up securely so no bed bugs can make their way in or out of your mattress. The time it takes for the bed bugs to die inside the encasement is dependent on the temperature of your room, so to be sure, keep your mattress wrapped for a few years.

While the bed bugs are inside the encasement, they will continue reproducing because they have possibly fed fairly recently. The females that were impregnated within the past couple of weeks may continue laying eggs for a while.

After a few weeks, reproduction will cease because they need to have fed to mate or lay eggs.


On average, in a normal uncontrolled environment, bed bugs will live two to three months without blood. In a controlled laboratory setting, on the other hand, bed bugs have been observed to last over a year without blood.

The factors that affect a bed bugs survivability without blood are its age, sex, and the temperature of their living spaces.

The more mature the bed bug, the better its odds of surviving long periods without blood. Females are more vulnerable to starvation. The colder the temperature, the longer the bed bug can survive without blood.

Image: / JasonOndreicka