Bed bugs are warm-blooded, reddish-brown, and wingless pests that survive from blood meals. But what’s the lifespan of a bed bug without blood.
In brief; adult bed bugs will live for 400 days (a year) without taking that blood meal (they’re well resilient) while the nymphs will only survive for 20 to 90 days.
- Thus, there is a very limited chance that you can starve the bed bugs to their death as the 20 to 400 days will be too long before they die.
But luckily for you, female bed bugs will not reproduce without taking that crucial and regular blood meal. The nutrients in the blood allow them to lay eggs – reproduce.
- But the bed bug’s flattened body allows them to hide in upholstered furniture, beds, carpets, and floor cracks.
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When Do Bed Bugs Die If There is no Blood Meal?
Adult bed bugs will survive or live for about 400+ days without taking that blood meal (human contact) – but at the low laboratory temperatures.
- However, the bed bug nymphs will die within 1-5 months if they don’t get that blood meal. Further, the females won’t reproduce without taking the blood meal.
The bed bugs will molt to their next stage if they acquire a blood meal – this is to complete that life cycle – but they must also have the right temperature.
- So, on how the bed bugs will survive or live without that blood meal, the answer depends on the bed bug’s age. For example, age affects if the bed bug stage is resistant to temperature variations and specific pesticides.
The bed bugs that are newly hatched such as the Nymphs – will require to feed soonest (and very often) so that they can molt into adults – but that stage can survive for a number of weeks without that crucial blood meal.
- But the adults will live for over 5 months with warm conditions – but most of these bugs will be in the digesting phase and not the feeding stage.
Can Bed Bugs Reproduce Without Feeding?
Female bed bugs will lay their eggs that have some adhesive and this makes sure they’ll stick in one place – these will take about 6-17 days to hatch.
The young-lings will start feeding after emerging from the eggs – but the adults and nymphs will survive for some time with no food or blood meal.
So, the main challenge when controlling these bed bugs is having to know when they’re done. Thus, since you can’t see all the bed bugs in the space, it’ll be hard to decide you’ve won.
- For example, after encasing objects, spraying, or even steaming for the bed bugs – you’re not sure when it’s enough.
How Do Bed Bugs Feed?
On considering how the bed bugs feed, nymphs hatch and then go through 5-instar stages as they grow to become adults.
- The bed bug nymphs will be weaker and smaller organisms but they’ll feed and behave like adults.
- But the nymph feed (once weekly) – once digested the blood – they’ll be ready to molt (feeding about 6 times) prior to reproducing.
Despite that scientific reports show different death times for instar nymphs with starvation but younger ones will die faster compared to adults.
With their excellent hibernation characteristics, bed bugs will survive better compared to other animals – they can go into that fasting mode through the creation of some “hunger bubble” which occupies their stomach.
- But, some bed bugs such as the Virginia strain are reported by entomologists to be able to only survive for about 2 months without blood meal – so various bed bug strains could survive for longer or shorter.
The surviving capacity of those bed bugs will also be affected by the temperature in that area. For example, nymphs (at 98.6 degrees in the areas) will only live for 3 weeks.
How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in An Empty House?
In an empty house, bed bugs will survive for about 8 to 18 months without that critical blood meal. Thus, leaving the house empty for over a year may reduce the bed bug population.
- However, even when there are no bed bugs in the house, the bed bugs might some blood source from pets like shrews, mice, and rats to survive.
But bed bugs are excellent in hibernating cold temperature and lack of blood meal in the spaces such as in the empty houses – thus it’ll challenging to specifically pinpoint when the bugs will die from starvation.
Issues or conditions that’ll affect how long the bed bugs survive or live without that blood meal in your empty house are:
1. Bed Bug Life Stage
Bed bugs will require massive blood to develop from nymph stage (via 5 steps) to become adults – these stages demand rapid development.
- That’s the reason the bed bug nymphs will live shorter (about 2 months) if it won’t get that blood meal after hatching.
- However, when the nymphs have feed and appear reddish – they’ll survive even up to 8 months without feeding – taking that human blood meal.
But the adults will prove more stubborn when it comes to starving when it lack a blood meal – they’ll survive for slightly over 1 year (around 1.5 years) in their dormant condition without taking blood.
- Thus, its evident that it won’t be possible to starve those bed bugs by simply leaving the house for a another home and coming back later.
Thus, bed bugs largely survive for long with no blood meal thanks to remaining in that hibernation (semi-dormant) state as they use less energy and have slowed metabolism.
2. Weather and Temperature
Despite that bed bus will evidently survive for long even when your house is empty, this will depend largely on the prevalent temperatures.
- The don’t love overly cold or overly warm in the empty spaces and house – and if the temperatures are extreme, these bugs will die in a number of weeks.
Notably, the bed bugs will withstand just about 25 degrees Fahrenheit – just a number of days. Thus, for the houses in extreme weather – you can leave the empty space to exterminate the bugs.
- Further, for the extreme high temperatures such as above 113 degrees Fahrenheit – the bugs would also die.
3. Bugs Present Like Mice and Rats
The bed bugs can also survive thanks to other bugs like mice and rats – particularly when there is limited human activity in the spaces – allowing the bed bugs to survive.
- Further, bed bugs will also love other pests when there are no humans – and they’ll feed on such pest blood awaiting human blood.
Thus, if there are numerous rats and mice if your empty house, the bed bugs will adapt with their less-frequent feedings to survive awaiting reproduction (if they get human blood).
So, the lifespan of a bed bug without blood is about 2 months to 13 months – so you’ll require appropriate treatment – they won’t reproduce easily with no that human blood meal.
- So, you can reduce the scratching and itching brought by the bed bug bites – this is by reducing the supply of food. But practically, bed bugs will go hunting for any available host to suck blood from them.