Having uninvited guests that bite can turn your cozy bed into a nightmare. Believe it or not, bed bugs can survive over a year without their favorite snack: you! Our blog will guide you through the mysterious survival skills of these pesky critters and offer insights on tackling infestations.

Keep reading; there’s hope ahead!

Key Takeaways

  • Bed bugs can survive a staggering 400 days without food in laboratory conditions, with adults able to endure for over a year under the right circumstances.
  • Temperature is crucial; low temperatures can extend bed bugs’ survival time without feeding while high temperatures can kill them more quickly.
  • Humidity levels influence how long bed bugs live without nourishment, as higher humidity helps prevent dehydration and extends their life span.
  • A female bed bug lays numerous eggs, up to 500 during her lifetime, and access to regular blood meals increases their reproduction rate significantly.
  • The presence of accessible hosts directly impacts bed bug survivability; the less access they have to feeding opportunities, the shorter their lifespan.

The Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs go through several stages of development, including egg, nymph, and adult. They require blood for each stage to progress and can survive long periods without feeding.

Stages of development

Understanding the stages of development in bed bugs is key to combating an infestation. These tiny pests change significantly from birth to adulthood, affecting their feeding habits and resilience.

  • Egg Stage: A female bed bug lays white, oval eggs about 1mm long. These eggs hatch in one to two weeks. While they don’t need food at this stage, once hatched, the nymphs will seek out a blood meal immediately.
  • Nymph Stage: After hatching, the bed bug goes through five nymphal stages before reaching maturity. Nourishment is crucial here; nymphs require a blood meal for growth and to molt between each stage.
  • Adult Stage: Once fully matured, adult bed bugs can live shockingly long periods without food – up to a year or more under laboratory conditions. They are ready to reproduce and can survive over 400 days without feeding by slowing down their metabolism.

Length of time without food

Bed bugs can survive without a blood meal for an astonishingly long time. In laboratory conditions, adult bed bugs have been known to live for over 400 days without feeding, while some instances of survival without food lasting up to a year have also been reported.

However, the exact length of time bed bugs can live without food is not straightforward and varies due to factors such as temperature, humidity, and access to hosts. Sealing bed bugs in plastic bags or exposing them to extreme temperatures like hot and cold weather can also impact their ability to survive without sustenance.

Factors such as temperature play a crucial role in determining how long bed bugs can go without feeding. Under laboratory conditions at low temperatures, some adult bed bugs have survived longer than 400 days without food.

Factors That Affect Bed Bug Survival Without Food

Temperature and humidity play a crucial role in the survival of bed bugs without food. Certain conditions can either prolong or shorten their lifespan without a blood meal.


Temperature significantly impacts the survival of bed bugs without food. In lower temperatures, bed bugs can live longer without a blood meal. For instance, in laboratory conditions at low temperatures, some adult bed bugs have survived for over 400 days without feeding.

However, high temperatures can expedite their demise. Exposing infested items to heat above 118°F (48°C) for an hour is an effective way to kill all life stages of bed bugs.

Humidity also plays a role in bed bugs survival; it affects how long they can live without sustenance. High humidity can prolong their lifespan during starvation, while low humidity levels have the opposite effect by dehydrating and killing them more quickly than under normal conditions.


Humidity affects how long bed bugs can survive without food. High humidity levels can help bed bugs live longer without feeding, as they are less likely to dry out and die. On the other hand, low humidity can shorten their survival time, making it more challenging for them to endure extended periods without a blood meal.

Additionally, humid conditions may also impact the development of bed bug eggs and nymphs, potentially affecting their population growth.

The level of humidity in the environment plays a critical role in determining how long bed bugs can go without food. A moderate to high level of humidity provides a conducive environment for bed bug survival by preventing them from dehydrating, while lower humidity levels could hasten their demise due to increased dehydration risk.

Other Factors That Impact Bed Bug Survival

Temperature and humidity are crucial factors that can affect the survival of bed bugs without food. Additionally, access to hosts and their reproductive capabilities also play a significant role in their ability to survive for extended periods.

Access to hosts

Bed bugs require regular blood meals to survive and reproduce. When they have access to hosts, such as humans or animals, bed bugs can feed frequently, allowing them to live longer without food.

Their lifespan without feeding is greatly impacted by their ability to find hosts for nourishment. Factors such as temperature and humidity also play a role in determining how long bed bugs can survive without access to hosts, influencing their ability to search for food.

The presence of accessible hosts directly affects the longevity of a bed bug infestation. Without consistent access to blood meals, these pests struggle to survive and may not be able to perpetuate an infestation.

This emphasizes the importance of addressing any potential host environments when attempting to control and eliminate a bed bug problem effectively.


Bed bugs reproduce through a process called traumatic insemination. During this, the male bed bug pierces the female’s abdomen to inject sperm. The female then lays eggs that hatch into nymphs after around 6-10 days.

A single female bed bug can lay between 200 and 500 eggs in her lifetime, which is usually about six to twelve months.

Factors such as temperature and food availability influence bed bug reproduction rates. Warmer temperatures accelerate their life cycle, leading to more frequent egg-laying and faster development from the nymph to the adult stage.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Really Live Without Food?

Bed bugs can survive without food for over a year in laboratory conditions, with some adults lasting more than 400 days. Their ability to live without feeding is influenced by various external factors such as temperature and humidity.

In general, bed bugs can endure for 6-12 months without a blood meal, indicating their resilience in surviving prolonged periods of starvation. Factors like sealing bed bugs in plastic bags or exposure to hot and cold weather also impact their survival without food.

The duration of how long bed bugs can live without food varies under different circumstances and environments, making it essential to consider these factors when dealing with an infestation.


In conclusion, the ability of bed bugs to survive without food for extended periods is influenced by a variety of factors. Temperature and humidity levels play a crucial role in determining how long these pests can live without feeding.

Understanding these factors can help inform effective strategies for controlling and eradicating bed bug infestations. While it’s important to know how long they can go without food, taking proactive steps to prevent their presence is key to avoiding the headaches associated with dealing with an infestation.


1. How long can bed bugs survive without eating?

Bed bugs can live for quite a while without food; adults may last up to one year in cooler conditions, but normally they can make it about five months without a blood meal.

2. Do baby bed bugs need to feed more often than adults?

Yes, bed bug nymphs or baby bed bugs must eat more frequently – typically every few weeks – for them to grow and reach adulthood.

3. Can the climate affect how long bed bugs live without food?

Definitely! Bed bug survival varies with temperature: they tend to live longer in colder climates because their metabolism slows down, allowing them to conserve energy when not feeding.

4. What happens if a bed bug doesn’t get its regular feeding?

When a bed bug goes a long time without feeding, it won’t be able to reproduce and will eventually starve though this fasting time differs based on the age of the bug and the surrounding environment.

5. Will cleaning help with controlling or preventing an infestation even if these pests are not currently feeding?

Cleaning is essential for control; it reduces hiding spots where they endure their sustenance period between feedings and aids in finding signs of any ongoing presence so you can act fast with extermination measures.