How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. The average length of a bed bug is about 1/4 of an inch long. They typically stick to dark spaces, such as the seams of mattresses and pillows, but they can also hide in other places around your room.

If you’re wondering how long bed bugs can live, here’s what you need to know.

Bed Bugs

What Are the Origins of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can be found as stowaways in furniture, luggage, clothes, and cartons when transferred from one area to another.

This is why moving will not eliminate bedbugs — they will follow you.

They have flat bodies that assist them in blending in better in situations where they will be difficult to notice. If transferring anything into your house, check the furniture or boxes thoroughly since they may survive for months without nourishment.

What Causes Bed Bugs to Bite?

Before egg-laying, the mature female must consume a blood meal.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

On average, bed bugs survive for 4 to 6 months. This is their lifespan in the actual world, such as our beds, bags, and backpacks. However, the lifespan of bed bugs varies depending on several circumstances, as illustrated below.

Some live up to a 10-month window, and some are thought to live up to a year.

Their longevity varies greatly depending on temperature and high-quality nourishment – human blood availability.

Fortunately, we are typically unaware when they feed on us, and they can’t do much harm, but they can leave irritating bed bug bites. Scratching can lead to infection, so try not to scratch anymore.

The following are the primary elements that influence bed bug lifespan:

  • temperature and other environmental hazards (chemicals, predator insects, etc.)
  • availability of blood genetics of blood availability of blood genetics of blood genetic

A recent study reveals that interceptor monitors, which are extensively used by PMPs, may successfully identify and catch bedbugs (pest management professionals).

Summer is the busiest season for bed bugs because they become active during warm weather, which lasts from July through September.

Let’s take a closer look at how long they live.

Bed Bugs Die at What Temperature?

According to IPM at the University of California and Quarles, bed bugs die fast at temperatures over 113°F (45°C) and below 1.4°F (-17°C).

Temperatures of 118°F (48°C) are instantly deadly to adult bed bugs in heat, but death at 113°F (45°C) takes around 95 minutes.

It takes 4 days at 0°F (-17.8°C) in the cold to kill all the bed bugs and less than 24 hours with dry ice. (References: 1, 2, 3)

It takes a little longer to destroy bed bug eggs. At 113°F (45°C), bed insect eggs are killed after 7 hours, and at 118°F (48°C), they are killed in 72 minutes. Bed bugs that are not destroyed by high temperatures are rendered immobile.

Temperature Chart for Bed Bugs

Bed bug adults and nymphs113°F (45°C)95 minutes
Bed bug eggs113°F (45°C)7 hours
Bed bug adults and nymphs118°F (48°C)few minutes
Bed bug eggs118°F (48°C)72 minutes
Bed bugs in all stages0°F (-17.8°C)4 days
Bed bugs in all stages−109.3°F (-78.5°C)24 hours

Bed bug life stages die as a result of time and temperature.

Lower temperatures will limit the growth of bed bugs, and as the temperature rises, so will their activity. Bed bugs will stop moving at 97°F (36°C), but they will still be alive. To eliminate them, we must raise the temperature above 113°F and maintain it for the duration stated in the chart above.

Temperatures of at least 140°F for two hours or 130°F for three hours are recommended for commercial heating services. Most bed bugs and eggs will be killed by this method.

The lowest deadly temperature is 113°F.

It doesn’t matter what stage the bed bug is at; temperatures exceeding 113°F will kill it. The only difference is the amount of time required.

How Long Does it Take to Remove Bed Bugs?

According to Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management, getting rid of bed bugs would take at least three weeks.

Here are some of the reasons:

  • It takes roughly a week to prepare.
  • Because insecticides do not kill the eggs, which take about two weeks to hatch
  • The area must be inspected again after two weeks, and more insecticides must be applied if necessary.
  • The owner must prepare for extermination and the cultural and mechanical control work, while the PMP (pest management professional) handles the insecticides.

PMPs should be informed about bed bugs and why preparation is critical and takes so long.

If the firm does not ask you to do any preparation, NYSIPM advises you to contact the next company on your list.

Can Bed Bugs Die on Their Own?

No. In most situations, bed bug infestations will not vanish on their own.

Bed bugs will continue to eat and breed as long as there is a constant food source nearby until that food source runs out.

Most bed bug infestations in flats and homes necessitate using pest control services.

Bed bugs may flourish even if your flat is uninhabited for lengthy periods by infesting your neighbors.

Bed bugs accomplish this by creeping through wall and baseboard crevices.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Survive Without Being Sprayed?

You may attempt various bed insect sprays at home, but they are less efficient than professional techniques. Sprays cannot penetrate enough through textiles to reach bugs burrowed themselves within beds or couches.

As a result, it is essential to contact a pest control specialist to handle your case.

It’s also critical to use extreme caution while applying pesticides in your home since prolonged exposure might harm your children or pets.

As a result, diatomaceous earth is seen as a risk-free, do-it-yourself alternative to standard pesticides.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Survive on Clothes?

Bed bugs can be spotted on your clothing because dead skin cells and dried blood can move from your skin to your clothing.

Without a meal, bed bugs may survive for 1 to 4 months on your clothing. However, Bed bugs will continue to feast on you if you wear afflicted clothing.

To remove bed bugs from your clothes, use the maximum heat setting for washing and drying cycles.

After drying, store the objects in firmly sealed plastic bags for a lengthy period until you’re certain the bugs are no longer living within.

This might take months, but quarantining any susceptible objects is worth the wait to ensure your home does not get infested again.

Most individuals start utilizing previously contaminated goods too soon…

Contributing to an average recurrence rate of up to 80%.

How Can Long Bed Bugs Survive in Dormancy?

Bed bugs can enter a latent condition known as diapause, a form of hibernation.

Bed bugs do not enter diapause provided they have access to a food source and steady temperatures.

A bed bug can stay quiescent for up to 500 days if it enters diapause.

(Though this is quite unusual.)

Cooler temperatures help bed bugs to survive longer, although temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower will kill bed bugs after 4 days.

How Long Will Bed Bugs Survive in a Plastic Bag?

According to NYSIPM at Cornell University, freezing a plastic bag with bed bugs would kill them in less than two weeks. Dry ice may eliminate bed bugs by placing them in plastic waste bags or boxes containing your things. Bed bugs and eggs will be exterminated in 12 to 24 hours.

When you locate a bed bug, wrap it in a plastic bag and toss it away.

Then bring in the pros to eliminate them.

You could try eliminating them independently, but it would take a lot of effort and time.

Bugs are more likely to be discovered on wood, paper, or fabric than on metal or plastic, but if you catch one, try not to disturb the others.

Check back shortly for another post on how to get rid of bed bugs, and you’ll never have to worry about bed bug bites again. It will enable you to educate yourself on what has to be done to eliminate them and begin arranging your removal.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive in the Absence of Air?

Bed bugs cannot survive without air or oxygen, yet, smothering them may be difficult.

Even if an experiment was conducted, the procedure is far from ideal and is not described in any of the scholarly sources I consulted to construct this article.

In their experiment, scientists placed hundreds of bedbugs in airtight vials at room temperature, and after 5 days, no bedbug survived. They concluded that this procedure could be utilized to exterminate bedbugs with big enough airtight bags.

According to my study, this strategy is not widely employed by PMPs (pest management professionals), most likely because it is less successful than utilizing pesticides and heat.

Is It Possible to Obtain Bed Bugs in Your Car?

Bed bugs can enter your vehicle if they get onto your clothing, furniture, luggage, or other objects you carry with you. They’re unlikely to crawl so far away from a sleeping location. Bed bugs are seldom found in large quantities in automobiles because they must be carried in.

Bed bugs may survive in a car for an extended period.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive in an Unoccupied House?

Bed bugs may live in a vacant house for several months by relocating to safe spots, preying on mice or cats, or staying dormant.

Taking a trip from your home is unlikely to cause them to go hungry.

Bed bugs can live in an empty house unless the temperature is considered, and more treatments will be required.

To exterminate bed bugs, according to NYSIPM at Cornell University, the temperature in the house must be over 120°F for an hour and maintained at every place in the building: the exterior walls, deep in the sofa, and so on.

Even if there is no human touch, bed bugs may exist for a long time without blood (check below).

How Can Long Bed Bugs Go Without Eating?

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, an ordinary bed bug may go without feedings for 20 to 400 days, provided the correct temperature and humidity are present. Some adults have lasted more than 400 days in the laboratory at low temperatures without sustenance. That implies they can remain hidden for an extended period.

Adult bed bugs and older nymphs may survive for up to a year without nourishment.

Younger nymphs can survive without nourishment for many days to several months. However, they will ultimately require blood to shed their exoskeleton and go to the next growth stage.

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs are ready to consume even in their nymph stages. They typically prey on humans but will bite animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and chickens. A bed bug can survive a year or more without eating if favorable conditions are favorable.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive in the Open?

Bed bugs are only found indoors, not outside.

They are not usually seen on grass but in woodlands, the sun, or in the rain. They may be found in various locations, although only very seldom outside.

Bed bugs are seasonal, most observed in the summer, from July through September. Nonetheless, they may be found at room temperature all year.

Bed bugs cannot live in freezing conditions for more than two weeks, such as those found in your freezer, on ice, or outside during the winter. However, if you want to eliminate bedbugs by shutting off the heat in your home during the winter or placing your furniture outside and keeping it there, you will most likely be unsuccessful.

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, bed bugs are far more resistant to cold than heat. They have evolved to be resistant to frigid temperatures.

“Flash freezing” is required to eliminate bed bugs with frigid temperatures. This entails putting dry ice on a 0°F surface and leaving it there for at least 12 to 24 hours. Either that or high heat over 113 degrees.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive on Clothes?

Bed bugs may survive on clothing for as long as they have a food supply, which might be months or years. If you wear such garments, they will last as long as you do not wash them.

According to Usinger’s 1966 and Potter’s 2005 studies, washing your garments at 140°F (60°C) kills all life stages of bed bugs.

The bed bugs can be killed by tumble drying in a hot dryer at temperatures over 104°F (40°C) for 30 minutes or freezing at 1.4°F (-17°C) for many hours.

Soaking your garments will kill the adults and nymphs of bed bugs, but not the eggs. According to Naylor and Boase (2010), freezing 5 pounds of laundry at 0.4°F (-18°C) for at least 8 hours will disinfect it. Other studies have found that this period might range from 24 hours to 4 days.

Is It Possible for Bed Bugs to Live In Your Hair?

Bed bugs can be found in crevices or concealed gaps in chairs, furniture, and clothing, but not on your hair.

They like to reside in remote regions, where they can remain hidden most of the time.

They don’t live in your hair for the following reasons:

  • It’s too risky — they can’t hang onto or traverse the hair
  • They feed very seldom, every 5 to 10 days, and the rest of the time, they hide in secure locations, not on moving areas like your head, which you wash, touch, move, and so on.
  • They also do not live in warm environments, which your hair can sometimes be in.

They may reside in your clothes rather than your hair, although they are more likely to live on furniture, briefcases, chairs, backpacks, shoes, etc.

So don’t be concerned; bed bugs do not reside in your hair.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!