The bed bug is a tough cookie. They can tolerate extremes of temperature, from the freezing point of water to the scorching point of the sun. Their tops are flat, which makes it easier for them to hide in crevices, and they’re active mainly at night.
They can also go for long periods of time without food. Many folks are curious about bed bug sustenance requirements. You may be surprised by the answer!
An adult bed bug can go up to a year without eating if it is kept in a dark, cool, dry place. This makes getting rid of them quite tough. These creatures could be lurking in your attic, inside your walls, or even under your bed, waiting for the right moment when they can pounce and go without leaving any trace.
Where Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bedbugs are likely to be found near your home no matter where you live in the world. Temperature isn’t a problem for the creatures. From the coldest winters of Canada, to the hottest summers of India and the Middle East, they’ve been found everywhere.
As they go around, they can conceal themselves in various items of baggage, bags, and even clothing. It takes just a few months for a bed bug epidemic to begin. As a result, the bugs pose a severe hazard, particularly in urban areas.
Most of the time, you have no idea that your carpets and furnishings are infested with bed bugs. Colonies are the norm for them. There’s a considerable possibility you have more than one if you find one or two.
Bed Bug Feeding Cycle
Unlike most other household insects, bed bugs do not feed on organic garbage or food crumbs. In order to eat solely blood, their mouths have been designed. Blood from other mammals cannot be processed by them, hence they must eat human blood.
There is no doubt about it: Your family and friends are their primary food supply if you have an infestation.
Many people believe that bedbugs only come out to eat at night, however this is a common fallacy. Despite the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal by nature, this does not mean that they cannot feed during the day.
In many cases, homeowners who find bed bugs in their homes attempt to starve the pests to death. Keep them at bay with proper bedding and furniture. As a last resort, some individuals lock up their homes and leave for a few weeks in the hope that the bedbugs will die of starvation.
This is not going to work at all. A full-grown bed bug can survive for up to 400 days without feeding, according to research. It’s difficult to think that they can go for such lengthy periods of time without eating, given that their lips aren’t intended to take in anything else.
Factors that Affect Bed Bug Survival without Food
The amount of time that bed bugs can go without feeding depends on a variety of conditions. The bug’s age is the first consideration.
The insect’s age is the most noticeable factor. Each step of a bed bug’s life cycle is broken down into five distinct stages. Every time the beetle goes through a growth stage, it has to eat at least once. If a bed bug isn’t fed for a few weeks at a time throughout each growth stage, it will die.
The amount of time they can go without food grows as they grow older. As adults, they can go without food for up to a year without refueling. Adult bedbugs have been found to be able to survive without food for up to 18 months, as long as other living conditions are ideal.
The bugs’ habitat and activity levels are also important factors in their survival. If a bed bug colony is established in close proximity to a bed or piece of furniture, the bugs have to travel a shorter distance to get a meal. As long as the bugs aren’t required to travel a long distance, they can go without nourishment. If a bug has to go a great distance to acquire food, it will need to eat more frequently.
Not to mention, the weather. Bedbugs are less active in chilly environments, thus they remain dormant. Because they expend more energy when it’s hot outside, they have to eat more frequently to stay alive.
In 2009, a comprehensive research of bedbugs was conducted. Nymphs were fed only once and allowed to mature into the first instar stage by entomologists. Afterwards, the bugs received no additional food or water. At different temperatures, their survival period was dramatically variable.
The initial instar-nymph stage of bed bugs took an average of 28 days to develop at a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the study’s findings. Insects that were held at 98.6 degrees for an average of 17 days only survived.
How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed?
Those who have a bed bug infestation are bitten nearly every day, on average. For some reason, many believe that removing food sources for the bugs, even for a few days, will help them get rid of the pests. This is a misconception.
This isn’t accurate at all. In order to maintain its functionality, an adult bed bug only need feeding every ten to twelve days on the average. It takes a nymph a week to molt and grow to the next stage of development. If you’re getting bitten every day, it’s likely that you have a serious bug problem.
Feeding a bed bug nymph might take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Adults who weigh more than 100 pounds need more blood, which can increase feeding time to as much as ten minutes. They eat on tiny minute insects, and their bites are rarely stingy.
A few minutes after the bed bug has completed feeding, the stinging sensation begins to register in most people’s skin. People who are more sensitive to pain are more likely to react strongly to the bite.
When it comes to sucking blood, nymphs can suck what they need in one swoop, whereas adults typically have to bite numerous times to collect the blood they need. After a bed bug has fed on your arm, leg, or torso, you will notice a trail of tiny pimples on your skin. Due to the fact that female bed bugs produce eggs on a daily basis, they necessitate more feedings than male bugs.
The bug’s form is often rectangular. Upon feeding, it turns circular and resembles a reddish black bead.
Bed Bug Population Growth
In comparison to other pests, bed bugs don’t reproduce as quickly. One egg is laid by an adult female bedbug per day. Ten days after the egg is laid, the larvae hatch, and it takes another five to six weeks for the bugs to mature into full-grown adults.
To put this in perspective, a typical housefly produces up to a thousand eggs in three to four days. Every day, female mosquitoes deposit hundreds of eggs.
To make bed bugs even more harmful, they are able to expand their population without being seen. A problem won’t be discovered until the colony is too large for you to govern. When a single female bed bug enters a home, it can quickly multiply into a large colony.
Despite the fact that you may be able to stop bedbugs from feeding, you may not be able to totally eliminate them from your home. A blood restriction does reduce the spread of their infection, though.
At least once a week, newly hatched bugs and nymphs must be fed in order to progress to the next stage. Colonies fail if the bugs don’t get enough food in time.
After a few weeks of not eating, female bed bugs cease laying eggs.
Cleanliness Does Not Affect Bed Bug Growth but It Can Help In Early Detection
Bedbugs do not eat dust or food crumbs that are made of organic material. Even if your house is spotless, bed bugs can infest even the most meticulously maintained residence.
However, the level of mess in your house does matter. A bed bug infestation is more likely to occur if you have a lot of furniture, carpets, wardrobes, or other places where the bugs can hide and lay eggs. It is more probable that you will notice the problem sooner if you clean them on a regular basis.
According to studies, growing urbanization in major cities is a contributing factor to an increase in bed bug infections. Smaller homes and condos in big cities are generally close together, making it easier for bedbugs to spread.
Additionally, bedbugs are adept at concealing in baggage and other household items. Even if they just eat once in a while, they can get inside your house and start spreading. A dozen or more bedbugs is the point at which most people discover they have the pests.
Restricting the bugs’ ability to obtain food is a good way to control their population. Because an individual adult bed bug can live for months or even years without feeding, it is not assured that this method will eliminate them from your home.