How Long Do Bed Bugs Live Without a Host?

Bed bugs are one scary pest: they’re sneaky and hardy, spread easily, and can last a long time between meals. How long do bed bugs live without a host? Can you “starve them out?”

Today, we’re answering this important question! Keep reading to learn how long bed bugs can go without a meal and what to do if you find bed bugs in your home.

What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs are actually a type of parasite. Like mosquitoes, they bite humans and feed exclusively on blood throughout all their life stages. (Creepy, we know!) While bed bugs can also feed on animals (like cats, dogs, and other warm-blooded animals), they mainly feed on people.

How often do bed bugs feed?

A single bed bug typically bites and feeds once every week or so. (Of course, if you have an infestation of many bugs, that means you may still be bitten every night or multiple times a night.)

Because they need to feed on people fairly often, they live near their hosts. You can often find bed bugs in beds (hence their name), couches, chairs, cribs, or anywhere else that people sleep or rest. They’re most active at night, when they emerge from their hiding places to bite the nearest host before scurrying away to hide again.

How long do bed bugs live without a host?

Bed bugs are an incredibly hardy pest. They can go a long time without feeding. In fact, bed bugs can go several months without feeding—up to a whole year!

How long a bed bug can go without a host depends on a few factors:

  • The life stage of the bed bug
  • The temperature and environment where the bed bug lives

Nymphs—young bed bugs—can’t live as long as adults without a host. Nymph bed bugs only survive around 2-3 months without a host before they die. Older nymphs and adult bed bugs, on the other hand, can go longer: up to a year!

Bed bugs can only go a year without feeding under very favorable conditions, in specific environments.

Bed bugs are cold-blooded (like all insects). When the temperature drops, they go into diapause. Think of diapause like the insect version of a bear hibernating in the winter: their metabolism slows and they go dormant. In this state, bed bugs can go longer than normal without feeding. This is when they can last up to a year without a meal—almost the entirety of their lifespan.

This situation is uncommon, however. Why? Bed bugs typically live indoors, near people. And most people’s homes are climate-controlled. That means your home is unlikely to see temperatures low enough to send bed bugs into hibernation or kill them outright.

Still, bed bugs can go months without eating. This means that you can’t starve them out—say, by staying at a hotel for a few weeks if your home has bed bugs.

What should you do if your home has bed bugs, instead?

What should you do if you have bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tough to kill. You can’t starve them out, they’re resistant to many pesticides, and they’re adept at hiding. The DIY methods you can find online won’t make a dent in a bed bug infestation.

Getting rid of a bed bug infestation is a nightmare for the average homeowner!

Fortunately, that’s where ScherZinger Pest Control comes in. We’re here to help you get rid of bed bugs quickly and discreetly. We use proven methods—like our signature Heatigation—that are safe for you and your family.

If you suspect your home has bed bugs, call us today.

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Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.