In the case of many insects, homeowners get rid of them by simply taking away their food source. If someone has an ant problem, they’ll clean the surfaces in their kitchen and ensure there was no food lying around. They are a living creature and so, they cannot live without a food source. It makes sense then, that bed bugs would work the same way, right? The answer to that question is not as cut and dry as you may think. For example, going down and checking into a hotel for a few days isn’t going to solve the problem. While bed bugs do need a food source to survive, they can go quite a long time without one.
How long a bed bug can live without food depends on several factors. These include the age of the bug, if it is resistant to any pesticides, and the temperature of its environment. It also depends on the maturity of the bed bug.
Newly hatched bed bugs are called nymphs. These baby bed bugs go through five different stages before they are considered mature bed bugs. During each nymph phase, the bed bug molts and it must feed with each molt. Due to this, nymphs must feed more often than adult bed bugs. Even with this more frequent feeding, nymphs can still live for several weeks without a food source nearby.
Fully mature bed bugs typically feed every three to seven days. When they are living in a warm environment, they will feed quite regularly. When a bed bug wants to eat, it will leave its crevice and find the host. The length of feeding time will depend on several factors such as how much the bug ate at their last feed, how long since it has fed, and the developmental stage it is in.
Adult bed bugs can go five months or more without a meal. Even though they don’t feed as often as nymphs, and most of the colony is in a digestive phase, bed bug bites are still a real nuisance.