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How Long Do Bed Bugs Live? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Bed bugs can be pretty challenging to get rid of. Some property owners think a “leave it alone” approach will solve the problem. After all, how long can bed bugs actually live for? This is not a good idea, especially if you own a property like a hotel.

How long do bed bugs live? Let’s discuss.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

On average, bed bugs can live up to four months in typical hideouts like on the mattress and in car seats. Even so, bed bugs’ lifespan ultimately depends on the availability of a host and the external temperatures. Bed bug infestations are more common in the summer months because that is when these parasites are active.

You’ll know you have a bed bug problem when you notice blood stains on your bedding, see black-pepper-shaped droppings, spot actual bed bugs or suffer itchy red bed bug bites.

Bed Bug Identification

Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped, reddish-brown, wingless, and usually about ¼ inch long. Notably, the body appears flat if the bed bug hasn’t fed and elongated after a blood meal. Bed bugs have a musty odor which they produce using their lower body glands.

The Cimex lectularius is the most common species found in U.S homes and other commercial properties.

The Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs go through three life stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults.


Bed bug eggs are the size of a grain and white-colored. Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs daily and about five hundred throughout their lifetime. These bed bugs will either lay them singly or in a bundle. Within fourteen days, the eggs hatch, and the bed bugs start feeding.


Nymphs are immature bed bugs that molt five times before moving to the adult life phase. When they get close to the transition stage, the young nymphs turn from yellowish-white to reddish-brown. Also, nymphs need a blood meal to molt. If the temperature is ideal, it takes them about five weeks to become adult bed bugs.


Upon reaching the adult stage, bed bugs feed once every five to ten days unless there’s no host nearby. Once they get their blood meal, male and female bed bugs will mate, and before you know it, you have a full-blown bed bug infestation in your home.

What Temperatures Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs can survive under temperatures ranging from 1.4°F to 113°F. At 118°F, it takes a few minutes to kill bed bugs. If the temperatures are at 113°F, it’ll take about 95 minutes to kill these parasites.

As for lower temperatures, bed bugs only survive four days at 0°F and less than a day if in contact with dry ice. Bed bug eggs are more challenging. It will take about seven hours to kill them at 113°F and at least an hour at 118°F. Pest management professionals typically use about 130°F for 180 minutes to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live if You Use Spray Treatment?

Bed bugs may live for several months after incorrect spraying. These resilient pests will migrate to other crevices that did not receive the treatment. It will take about three weeks to eliminate bed bugs if sprayed correctly.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live if Placed in a Plastic Bag?

If you put them in a plastic bag and freeze them, bed bugs don’t live for more than two weeks. Alternatively, you can add dry ice into a plastic bag with infested items. It will then take about 24 hours to kill both bed bugs and their eggs.

Placing bed bugs in plastic bags is the most recommended action if suffering a bed bug infestation. Next, call pest control and schedule an immediate inspection visit.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Without Oxygen?

Bed bugs cannot survive without air. Unfortunately, suffocating bed bugs is a challenging action to put into practice. It would require air-tight bags, and even then, this move is not as efficient as bed bug heat treatment.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live in an Empty Property?

Bed bugs can live for months without their human hosts by feeding on mice or going dormant. Therefore unless the temperatures are extreme, you will need to seek pest control services to remove them.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live Without Their Blood Meal?

Bed bugs can live up to a year without their blood meal. However, their survival depends on temperatures or their life stage. Adults can go through “diapause,” thereby conserving their energy.

McDonald Pest Control Offers Effective Bed Bug Control

Freezing bed bugs and placing infested items in the dryer under high temperatures is not enough to achieve a bed bug-free home after an infestation. Spraying on the other hand is dangerous if not conducted by a professional. McDonald Pest Control is your trusted extermination company offering specialized bed bug treatment at an affordable cost. Our team relies on heat treatment to eliminate bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs fast.

Call us today to book a free consultation with our trained exterminators.