Bed bugs are tiny, reddish-brown insects with the one and only life goal to feed on fresh blood. They live around us and they do their best to invade our households. Us, humans are their main targets since thousands of years and they are willing to feed on the blood of other warm-blooded animals too.
Bed bugs are really good at hiding. In fact, they are nocturnal and prefer to hide throughout the day. They are patiently waiting in bedrooms until people lay down to get some sleep. That is their opportunity to feed, biting exposed areas of skin and laying eggs around the place.
But how long do bed bugs live? What is their exact life span and what can we do to make it shorter? In this article, we are going to answer these questions and similar ones to make things clear.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live?
Although the longevity of bed bugs depends on factors such as food availability and environment, we can say that bed bugs live for 6 to 12 months. However, in the right conditions, these insects can live for years. One of the reasons why bed bugs have lived with us for thousands of years is because we provide them with blood of the highest quality.
- Related: Do Bed Bugs Die in the Winter?
Consuming it on a daily basis can certainly guarantee them a long life. Now, the typical life of a bed bug in a household environment is far from ideal. First off, they have to compete with each other for food. Secondly, there are predators, chemicals and people cleaning their houses in various ways that all count as risk factors.
Also, eggs laid down by bed bugs might not even hatch because we might just crush them accidentally.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live Without Food?
It depends on the temperature how long a bed bug can live without food. This can vary between 20 to 400 days because their metabolism is slower when the environment is colder. It also depends on their age because adult bed bugs can survive for longer.
Older nymphs can also survive for quite a while but younger ones have more difficulties. Laboratory conditions can keep an adult bed bug alive for about 400 days given that the temperature is low. If an adult lives for one year without food, then it will reproduce four times during that period.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
Once you put bed bugs in a plastic bag, you also need to put them in the freezer. This way, you can guarantee that they are going to be dead in 2-3 days. If you catch many bed bugs, there are likely going to be nymphs, eggs and adults as well.
During the 2-3-day period, none of them will survive no matter how old those bed bugs are. You can kill bed bugs both with cold temperature and high heat. A temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit is low enough to kill bed bugs, while they also die at 122 degrees or more.
These are the laboratory-tested temperatures to kill bed bugs. You either need to set the freezer to a low setting or to set the drying machine to a high setting.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live on Clothes?
Bed bugs can live 1 to 4 months on clothes without a problem. Because of this, leaving your clothes untouched hoping that these insects will eventually die is not a good tactic. They are definitely not going to die from starvation for a long while.
Wearing those clothes is even worse because it only gives bed bugs the opportunity to regularly feed on blood. As a result, they are going to live and multiply as long as they want to. If you want to get rid of them, you need to wash those clothes.
Although this might sound pretty basic, it definitely works on the long term.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live after Spraying?
This really depends on the effectiveness of the spraying. If you have managed to catch all of the bed bugs and their eggs with the spray, then they are going to die in a few hours. Once you have sprayed an area, the insecticide is going to stay there for many days, killing bed bugs over and over if they venture there.
However, bed bugs can quickly move and they can also lay their eggs in the most hidden of places. You might think that you have sprayed them all, but some of them can always manage to get away. This is why bed bug exterminators re-visit the same place after about 10 days to spray again.
How Long do Bed Bug Eggs Live?
After mating, the bed bug female lays down 200-250 oval-shaped eggs. These bed bug eggs are usually hard to find, as they tend to lay them down in crevices and cracks that are hidden from sight. Then, depending on the temperature, those eggs will hatch in 6 to 10 days.
Hundreds of bed bugs can appear in your household every week if you do nothing about them. Eggs are also easy to miss when you try to kill them with sprays, steam cleaner or any other method. The only long-term solution is to understand the behavioral patterns of these insects and clean up regularly.
How Long do Bed Bugs Live Without Air?
One of the first questions that comes to mind when it comes to killing bed bugs is how long can they live without oxygen? After all, no living organisms can live without it, right? The thing about bed bugs is they are very good at surviving in cold and warm temperatures as well.
They can survive for quite a while without food too. It turns out when oxygen levels are low, bed bugs can stay alive for up to 8 hours. Now, it is rather easy to get rid of oxygen in a laboratory setting. In a household, this is not the case.
Usually, there is plenty of oxygen left for bed bugs to survive in a container of any type. Therefore, the answer is not clear. All we can say is that bed bugs can survive for 8 hours given that there is almost no oxygen.