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How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food?

Bed bugs rely exclusively on blood for survival. This fact makes many homeowners believe they can just starve them to death by leaving the house or apartment vacant for a while. These attempts to starve bed bugs are fraught with difficulty and usually fail because bed bugs have the ability to go without food for very long stretches of time. The amount of time they can live without a host varies greatly based on many factors, but can be anywhere from 20 days up to 400 days!

Some of the factors influencing how long bed bugs can live without a blood meal are: age, temperature, humidity, and energy exertion. Young bed bugs (1st instar) cannot survive as long as older bed bugs without a meal. This makes sense if you think of it the same way that young human babies cannot live as long as adults without food. Bed bugs are also sensitive to temperature and humidity. Although they can survive at temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, their ideal temperature for growth and development is much closer to room temperature, approximately 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature cools, the bed bug will exert less energy and can actually end up living longer than normal without a meal. Researchers have found that adult bed bugs can live without food in laboratory conditions for over a year (400 days). These optimal conditions typically consist of adult bed bug specimens living in cool temperatures where they use very little energy. These "perfect" conditions are unlikely to occur in the real world, but even in regular homes, they have found bed bugs alive after the home has been vacant for over 6 months. Long story short… it is unwise to try to starve bed bugs as a treatment plan. There are many treatment options available to helpcontrol bed bugs. Many people immediately turn to professional exterminators, but they can cost a small fortune. Few people know that with the proper products and a well-rounded treatment plan, they can do their own bed bug control. PF Harris has a full line of bed bug products to help you get rid of bed bugs. For the besthome pest control products, trust PF Harris to help you take back your home.