How Long Do Bed Bugs Live? Can They Survive Without Eating?

bed bugs

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests in households. Being able to survive without having a blood meal for couple of months is one of their best characteristics. There are different stages bed bugs need to undergo to reach adulthood. Once reaching maturity, bed bugs will start to reproduce a new generation.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live

bed bug again

The common household bed bug need up to 10 months to transform from an egg into an adult, while some adults can live up to a year without proper conditions. The typical lifespan of an adult bed bug after reaching maturity is between 4 to 6 months. During the course of it lifetime, an adult female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs and set up to three new generations.

Without Feeding On Blood

A household bed bug’s life depends on its age. The younger the bed bug, the more likely it will die sooner if not being able to feed on its host. It's also dependent on whether the bug is resistant to pesticides and temperature range. The cooler the climate, the more likely a bed bug can survive without feeding. A newly hatched bed bug nymph can survive weeks without feeding.

Adult bed bugs can live for about five months without having to take in blood. Due to their cold bloodedness, their metabolism will slow down in cooler climates.

Stages Of A Bed Bug's Life

Stages Of A Bed Bug's Life

1. Eggs

The egg of a household bed bug is a grain-like and milky white in colour. A female bed bug can lay between one to five eggs each day and up to 500 eggs within one lifetime. The eggs can be laid singly or in cluster and are usually place within tight cracks and crevices.

The size of an egg is about 1mm in length, usually comparable to two grains of salt. The eggs will hatch and immature bed bugs will start to feed within 2 weeks after birth.

2. Nymphs

Nymphs or young bed bugs will pass through five times of moulting before entering adulthood. They are smaller in size and are not capable of reproduction. Nymphs are yellow-white to reddish-brown in colour. Within five weeks, the nymphs become adults.

3. Adults

Bed bugs often make weekly feedings. They are sexually mature and are capable of producing eggs. Adult bed bugs usually live 4 to 6 months under the right conditions and can live up to 5 months without having to have a blood meal.

The Life Cycle Of A Bed Bug

These are the essential seven stages of a bed bug’s life cycle. Each phases will be discuss briefly.

1. Eggs

bed bug eggs

The eggs are about 1 mm in length and milky white in colour. They are laid by an adult female bed bug. The eggs usually hatch six to ten day after being laid.

2. Nymphs

nymph bed bug
  • 1st stage nymph: At this stage the nymphs are 1.5 mm in length. They will start to feed right away and once full they will start to molt.
  • 2nd stage nymph: After the 1st molt, the nymph is not over 2 mm in length. They will begin to feed until they are full.
  • 3rd stage nymph: The nymph is now 2.5 mm long and will begin to feed on its host's blood.
  • 4th stage nymph: Again, the nymph will molt and now it will be 3 mm long.
  • 5th stage nymph: This is the final nymphal stage. The bed bug can grow up to 4.5 mm in length.

3. Adults

adult bed bug

Each nymphal stage will take about a week. This is the point where adult bed bugs start to breed and begin the reproduction process.

How Fast Do They Breed?

bed bugs breeding

Bed bugs are usually brought by people through their luggage after staying at hotels or other places. A couple of bed bugs will usually hitchhike through your belongings. A couple of days later, the adult bed bugs start laying eggs. Afterwards, you could have for yourself a infestation of bed bugs in your own house.

Female bed bugs lay about one to six eggs per day after a blood meal. Sometime it is difficult for an adult female bed bug because frequent mating can cause injury. A female adult bed bug is more likely to travel far from her original location, where she can guarantee a food source for her hatchlings. With an access to food and without disruption, a female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs.

We bet you want to kill these pests after reading this article, click Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs and Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs to find out ways to get rid of them.

To Conclude

In general, a household bed bug can live for about 10 months since being hatched. Some bed bugs can live up to a year. Young nymphs can survive for weeks without a blood meal, but adult bed bugs can survive about 5 months to a year if the conditions are right. Cool weather can cause bed bugs to hibernate leading them to be less active and live longer. There are multiple stages in a bed bug's life, from being an egg to a nymph and the last stage is adulthood. A female adult bug can lay hundreds of eggs through her lifetime.

By Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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