What Do Bed Bugs Eat

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs are parasites and they like to hang around our houses. You can find them in furniture, curtains, and other areas but what do bed bugs feed?

  • Bed bugs suck blood from humans and other animals known as hosts for their food. The blood they suck from the host is for survival and also for reproduction.
  • There are two main species of bed bugs i.e. Cimex hemipterus (tropical bed bug) and Cimex lectularius (common bed bug). Related: Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs.

Details: What Do Bed Bugs Eat? 

When you see a bed bug in your house, what comes into your mind? What do they feed on?

  • Bed bugs mostly feed on blood for their host. The host can be human beings or any other warm-blooded animal.
  • The mouth of a bed bug is not structured with teeth to bite or chew.

Much as bed bugs need a blood meal to survive and also reproduce, there are those that can stay for even a year without a single blood meal.

How do they survive that long without a blood meal? Is there any other type of feed that bed bugs eat? Let’s find out. Related: Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed Bug Mouth Parts

It is hard to express what a bed bug eats without mentioning its mouthparts. What insects and animals eat is largely influenced by its mouth.

Bed bugs don’t have teeth nor a tongue making it difficult for them to bite and chew.

A bed bug mouth is made of two snout-like structures – a long one and a short one. The long snout is for sucking blood while the short one is for applying anesthesia after biting.

Can Bed Bugs Eat Each Other?

Unlike other pests that feed on each other, bed bugs don’t. They can simply survive without eating each other or not eating at all until they find a warm-blooded host.

If they can’t get a blood meal, they will just get into the dormancy stage where they just survive.

Whether it’s the common bed bug or the tropical bed bug, none of them will eat each other no matter how long they have to stay without getting a blood meal. 

Do Bed Bugs Eat Dead Skin?

There are a lot of things at the disposal of insects to eat for survival. If you are wondering if the bed bugs can eat dead skin, no they don’t.

  • The mouth of the bed bugs is not fitted for eating but for sucking.

It is impossible with their mouth for them to eat dead skin but there are those that will eat.

Does Bed Bug Eat Food Crumbs?

Bed bugs like to hide in our homes, under the carpets, on the furniture, inside crevices and cracks.

Like many other pantry bugs, most people may assume that they eat food crumbs at home but they don’t.

As they hide in our houses, no matter how many food crumbs are available, they will still have to wait until they get a host for a blood meal.

They are also fond of crawling to get to the host so that they can get the blood meal for survival. 

Do Bed Bugs Eat Other Insects (Cockroaches and Others)

What happens in the event that bed bugs have no host and the only thing left for them to eat are other insects like cockroaches?

  • Just the way bed bugs will not eat others, the same way they will not eat other insects.
  • However, unlike bed bugs, cockroaches will not hesitate to eat bed bugs.

Bed bugs suck blood and they take it both for survival and in order to be able to reproduce. They like sucking blood from humans when they are still or sleeping. 

Related: Bed Bugs versus Ants

Do Bed Bugs Eat Wood?

Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices, in the furniture, and also on walls.

  • Other pantry bugs like cockroaches and silverfish will feed on wood but will bed bugs do? 
  • Bed bugs don’t eat wood, even though they will hide there.

The mouth of a bed bug is not adapted to bite through the woods, the best they can do is to suck blood.

How Do Bed Bugs Eat?

When sucking blood from the host, they will first make an opening into the skin before they insert the straws through the opening.

  • The smaller straw emits the anesthetic to prevent you from feeling any pain. The longer straw then starts sucking blood from you.
  • It takes approximately 20 minutes for the bed bug to suck enough blood to their fill. When they are full, they can bulge at least 3 times their normal size.

When they are full, they will return to their hiding places to reproduce and also undergo the next stage in their life cycle. 

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Feeding?

Well, if beg bugs don’t get a host to suck blood, they can survive for more than a year without feeding.

You may be asking how they do that. It’s very simple, they have an adaptation where they are able to minimize the energy and the moisture that the bed bug loses.

The outer lining which is waxy prevents the moisture that gets lost from the bed bug and conserves it for its survival. Related: Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?


What do bed bugs eat? Bed bugs are parasites that suck blood from humans and also from other warm-blooded animals.

  • No matter how much other insects and food is available for the bed bug, they would rather spend a year without taking anything until a blood meal is available.
  • Consequently, their mouths are precisely structured like straws for sucking and not biting or chewing.

Bed bugs like to hide in furniture, in walls, and other areas and come out to attack when human beings are resting or sleeping.

That said and done, they multiply very fast and their infestation in the house should be controlled as soon as you spot one.