How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bed bugs are a formidable foe for anyone who has the misfortune to discover an infestation in their dwelling. One of the reasons eradicating them is so challenging is because of their ability to withstand extreme conditions and persist despite a lack of food. So just how long can bed bugs live? Let’s take a look.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
Several factors affect a bed bug’s longevity, such as food availability, the temperature of the room they’re living in, and competition from other bed bugs. Given favorable conditions, the lifespan of a bed bug can range anywhere from six to twelve months.
Having favorable conditions for bed bugs means primarily inhabiting a space with ideal temperatures. Bed bugs thrive in temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s not to say they can’t survive out of this range. Quite the contrary.
Bed bugs can maintain their activity levels in temperatures as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. They also seem to enjoy balmy temperatures, as staying active is not a problem for them up to around 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Bed bugs will perish in consistent temperatures over 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
So how long can bed bugs live? Unfortunately, quite a while—even in unfavorable conditions.
How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Without Food?
We mentioned that food availability is a factor that affects a bed bug’s longevity. Under ideal circumstances, they feed every three to seven days. But what happens if their food supply is compromised? How long can bed bugs live without host?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, namely the stage of life of the bed bug and the temperature of the room it’s living in.
To become a full-fledged bed bug, nymphs must pass through five stages of development, molting in between each stage. To progress to the next stage, the nymph requires a blood meal.
Despite being a young bed bug, they can survive several weeks without feeding. Their adult counterparts can last even longer—fully grown bed bugs can go up to five months without food.
Adults can survive for even more extended periods if they live in a cold environment. If the conditions are less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, they can persist for up to a year. That number is reduced to a still impressive two to six months in temperature-controlled dwellings.
All of this information means that it’s unrealistic to think that if you leave for a week or two that they’ll perish. Plus, the bed bugs may be able to find other hosts besides you to snack on.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
Putting bed bug-infested clothing and textiles in plastic bags is an excellent way to kill them, but only if done correctly. To kill bugs and eggs, the items need to be in a freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit for three and a half days.
Can Bed Bugs Live Outside?
You may be wondering if bed bugs can live outside. You won’t find them in the grass like you would other pests because they prefer to be tucked away in corners, folds, and anywhere they’re not exposed. While somewhat atypical, it’s possible to find them in places like a patio, porch, or a pet bed. But in general, bed bugs are indoor dwellers.
They’re indoor dwellers because their food source (us) lives inside. Bed bugs are unable to fly, so they generally enter our homes by hitching a ride on clothing or suitcases. And if they can reach your lawn or backyard, they’ll continue their journey into your home.
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