How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 17th, 2023

We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” but how much do we really know about these small, pesky insects? If you’re grappling with a bed bug problem or are just curious about how long they can actually survive, you’re in the right place. By exploring their origins, survival tactics, and various ways to eradicate them, this article aims to become your go-to guide for all things related to bed bugs.

What Are the Origins of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are sneaky little creatures, often hitching rides undetected in furniture, luggage, and clothing. They may also travel in cardboard boxes and other packaging materials. This ability to stow away is why a change of address won’t necessarily free you from a bed bug issue—they’re quite adept at following humans. Bed bugs have flat bodies that make it easier for them to hide in tight spaces, often going unnoticed for months. So before bringing any new furniture or boxes into your home, be sure to inspect them thoroughly; these bugs can survive for an extended period without feeding.

Bed Bugs

What Causes Bed Bugs to Bite?

Before laying eggs, the adult female bed bug needs a blood meal. Sounds creepy, right? But it’s a necessary part of their lifecycle. This ‘dining experience’ is usually unnoticeable to humans, but it’s crucial for bed bugs to reproduce. So, if you’ve been bitten, you may be unwittingly aiding the expansion of their colony.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

Life expectancy for a bed bug ranges from 4 to 6 months under typical conditions, such as in our homes and luggage. However, this lifespan can extend to as much as a year under optimal conditions, including access to a regular blood meal and favorable temperatures. It’s a sobering thought that these creatures can live for several months, sometimes a year, sharing your living space.

Factors Affecting Bed Bug Longevity

Factors that influence the lifespan of a bed bug include temperature, environmental hazards like chemicals or predators, and availability of food sources. For instance, during the summer months—July through September—bed bugs are most active due to the warm weather, thus affecting their longevity.

Bed Bugs and Temperature: A Survival Guide

Bed bugs have distinct survival rates at different temperatures. For instance, at temperatures over 113°F, adult bed bugs will die within 95 minutes. On the colder end of the spectrum, bed bugs can survive up to 4 days at 0°F. Bed bug eggs, however, are a bit more resilient, requiring even longer exposure to extreme temperatures.

Temperature Chart for Bed Bugs

Adults & Nymphs113°F95 minutes
Eggs113°F7 hours
Adults & Nymphs118°FA few minutes
Eggs118°F72 minutes

How Long Does It Take to Remove Bed Bugs?

Eliminating bed bugs from your living environment is no small feat. According to Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management, the complete eradication process can last upwards of three weeks. This includes preparation, application of insecticides, and follow-up inspections to ensure all bugs and their eggs have been exterminated. If a pest control company isn’t asking you to prepare your home before the extermination process, consider it a red flag and look for another provider.

Can Bed Bugs Die on Their Own?

Wishful thinking won’t make bed bugs disappear. They’re survivors, and as long as they have access to a food source, they will continue to thrive. Therefore, professional intervention is almost always necessary to eradicate an infestation.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Without Being Sprayed?

You might think that home remedies and over-the-counter sprays will do the trick, but they often fall short. These bugs are good at hiding deep within furniture and fabrics, making it challenging for such sprays to be effective. It’s far safer and more effective to consult a pest control specialist who can employ more potent methods.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive on Clothes?

These pesky critters can live up to 4 months on your clothing if they don’t have access to a blood meal. The key to getting rid of them is to wash and dry your clothes on the highest heat setting available and then keep them sealed in plastic bags until you’re sure your home is bedbug-free.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive in Dormancy?

Bed bugs can enter a hibernation-like state known as diapause, particularly if they don’t have access to a food source. In this dormant state, they can survive up to 500 days, although this is quite rare.


If you’re dealing with bed bugs, knowledge is power. Understanding their lifecycle, survival rates, and effective extermination methods can make a significant difference in your battle against these resilient pests. And remember, when it comes to bed bugs, half measures will only prolong your suffering; thorough, professional treatment is almost always the best course of action.


Editorial Staff

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