Two words send a chill down every person’s spine: bed bugs. These pests are a living epidemic.
Not only are they notoriously difficult to exterminate, but they can cause extensive rashes. The thought of bugs waiting for you in your bed and feeding on your blood as you sleep isn’t fun either.
Some people who suffer from bed bugs try to “starve them out.” They theorize that if they isolate the bugs for long enough, the bug’s lifespan will end and they’ll all die out.
But does this work? How long do bed bugs live, and how long do you have to stay away from them to die out? Let’s look at the specifics.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
Just like humans and any other creature, bed bugs have varying lifespans. In general, the average bed bug lifespan is between six and twelve months. Sometimes they can live longer than a year.
That is their lifespan in a laboratory setting with ideal conditions, though. In a typical home, their lifespans are often shorter because they have risks and at least a few adverse conditions.
Factors That Affect a Bed Bug’s Lifespan
A person’s lifespan depends on many factors, like their diet and exercise habits, genetics, lifestyle risks, and more. It’s similar for bed bugs: many factors affect their life expectancy and it varies with each bug. By knowing some of these factors, you can make your home a less welcoming environment for bed bugs.
Excessive heat is a common way to kill bed bugs. As it turns out, the wrong temperatures will change the bugs’ life spans too.
As cold-blooded creatures, bed bugs’ metabolisms change with the temperature. The hotter it is, the faster their metabolism is and the faster they develop. The colder it is, the slower their metabolism.
In other words, in a warm room, bed bugs will progress through their lifecycle more quickly so their lifespans will be shorter.
Daily life is dangerous for bed bugs, and those dangers affect their lifespans. For one, they’re living on a mattress that a human, which is huge compared to their size, lays on every day. They’re at risk of being crushed at any time.
Bed bugs are also threats to each other because they can become competitive. While household cleaning chemicals won’t get rid of a full infestation, they may affect bed bugs enough to shorten their lifespans.
On top of those risks, some other household bugs prey on bed bugs. If those other bugs are in your home, they will shorten a bed bug’s life expectancy too.
Life expectancy goes in the opposite direction in bed bugs compared to humans. In bed bugs, females don’t tend to live as long as males. This is because the mating process in bed bugs can be damaging for the female, piercing her abdominal wall.
This is a commonly misunderstood part of a bed bug’s lifespan. People often ask, “How long can bed bugs live without blood?”
Bed bugs usually feed on humans every few days. Some people think that means that if they leave their bed for a few days, the bed bugs will starve.
That isn’t the case. It depends on each bug’s stage in the lifecycle as well as their metabolism and the room’s temperature. In a chilly room, though, some bed bugs can survive months or a year without blood.
With that in mind, bed bugs may live longer if they have a more consistent supply of food. Bugs in your household bed you sleep in every night are likely to live longer than those in your guest bed that only hosts people every several months.
Steering Clear of the “Starve Them Out” Strategy
With all the variation above, it becomes clear why the “starve them out” strategy is unreliable. It’s not a good idea to try to leave your home vacant until the bed bugs die.
For one, that can take a year or more. It’s far cheaper to pay for bed bug extermination than to pay for a second home for a year.
Second, it’s difficult to tell when you’ve reached your goal because the bugs’ life spans vary so much. By the time you return and you sleep in the bed one night, you’ve reset the clock and potentially given the bugs months longer to live.
Third, you may see no live bed bugs and think you’ve taken care of the infestation. It takes ten days for the eggs to hatch, though. There may be eggs you don’t see which will soon hatch and bring back the infestation.
The Better Choice: Professional Heat Treatment
Instead of sacrificing your home to the bed bugs for a year or more, you can take control right away. Resolve your infestation with professional heat-based bed bug removal.
During this treatment, our bed bug specialists use precise equipment to heat your full infested area. We heat it to temperatures that are lethal for bed bugs if sustained for 30-60 minutes.
Our technicians also arrange the heaters within your room so that no crevice is immune from the temperature. This ensures that all the bed bugs are affected.
When a heat treatment is done correctly, you’ll be bedbug-free after one session. This is why it’s so critical to hire an expert: you can complete the treatment once and move on with your life.
Scheduling Your Bed Bug Treatment
The answer to “how long do bed bugs live?” isn’t the answer most people are hoping for. Knowing the extended lifespan of a bed bug and the number of factors that can prolong it more, it’s clear that “waiting it out” isn’t a reasonable option. Instead, call our bed bug specialists to get a bed bug removal quote and learn more about how we can help.