Bed bugs can be a big problem in NYC, causing not only itchy bites but insomnia and anxiety. One big question that people ask when it comes to bed bug control in NYC: How long can bed bugs live without food?
The answer isn’t simple. How long bed bugs can survive without feeding depends on a number of variables: their age and developmental stage and the strain of bed bug that’s in your home.
Bed Bug Life Stages and Feeding Requirements
Understanding a bed bug’s life stages is helpful in knowing its needs and how long it can survive without food.
Nymph stages: Newly hatched bed bugs go through five molting stages before they become adults, and must feed before they molt. Ideally nymphs will feed about once a week. They are growing fast, and need a lot of food in order to reach adulthood. This means that they must feed at least six times before they become adults. Nymphs can survive for at least several weeks without feeding.
Adults: In ideal conditions, bed bugs will stick to a somewhat regular feeding schedule of once every three to seven days, but adults can survive around five months without feeding.
If food is unavailable, both nymphs and adults enter a hibernation-like state that lets them survive for long periods.
Challenges with Bed Bugs in NYC
One of the biggest challenges of treating bed bug infestations is knowing when you’ve succeeded. Since they don’t all come out to feed at once—they do like to spend most of their time hiding—it takes a careful extermination program to ensure that you and your family can sleep in peace.
Another major challenge is that different strains of bed bugs affect how long they can survive without food. The general consensus among exterminators and researchers is that most bed bug strains can survive for two to five months without a blood meal.
Once a bed bug has fed, it will go back to the crack or crevice it hides in—usually with other bed bugs—and remain there until it needs to feed again. While most bed bugs will stay around the bed, the entire room must be treated since they can hide behind picture frames, in closets, under furniture, behind baseboards, and in walls.
Since bed bugs can survive for so long without a blood meal, what’s your best course of action? If you suspect bed bugs are in your midst, it’s best to be safer than sorry and call in a bed bug exterminator. An inspection will reveal whether you do indeed have a problem and what the best course of action is. In fact, you can send in the dogs! Our highly trained bed bug dogs have proven to be 96% to 98% effective at finding bed bugs within a 3 foot radius.
Cryonite freezing is a non-toxic and efficient way of ridding homes of bed bugs very quickly. It emits carbon dioxide “snow” (liquid carbon dioxide) and freezes bed bugs right where they are. There’s no residue left over as you may find with other treatments. After a Cryonite freezing treatment, you will no longer have to worry about whether bed bugs can survive off the crumbs you left on your kitchen floor and you’ll know for sure that they are all gone.