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September 11, 2018 3 min read

How often do Bed Bugs Feed?

If there is one thing most persons know about bed bugs is that they like to feed at night. As it is with many insects, how often they eat, depends on some factors such as

  • Environmental conditions
  • Availability of host
  • Population size

Another point to note is that bed bugs don’t eat on a scheduled pattern. They often feed when they are in need of blood, and a host is available nearby to feed on. As it is always the case, when bed bugs feed, they return to their hiding place until there is the need to feed again.

Bed bug life cycle

  • Bed bugs go through three life stages- egg, Nymph and adult
  • An adequate blood meal is needed by bed bugs to molt from a nymphal stage to the next (there are five nymphal stages in all)
  • Adults female bed bugs need blood meals to produce healthy eggs
  • The bed bugs life cycle takes about five weeks for completion
  • An adult female bed bug can produce about 500 eggs in a lifetime

Other important information

  • Depending on humidity, temperature and other environmental conditions, bed bugs an go without a blood meal for 20 to 400 days
  • Bed bugs can live longer in a cooler environment. Although, at normal room temperature and humidity, adult bed bugs can only survive a maximum of five months.
  • Female bed bugs don’t follow a regular pattern when they lay eggs. This accounts for why their eggs hatch at different times.
  • In a house or environment that this centrally cooled and heated, bed bugs (nymphs and adults) fed once every week
  • Before becoming adults, bed bug nymphs feed at least five times. In ideal conditions, it takes less than eight weeks for nymphs to develop into adult
  • Bed bugs are indoor pest hence why their eating habits are different from outdoor insects
  • Majority of the bedbug population actively digest their blood meal rather than looking for a fresh meal as they only feed once a week

Insects that Resemble Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have some look alike. Insects like the barn swallow bugs and bat bugs, have similar physical appearance as that of the common bed bugs. This similarity is not strange as they all belong to the family Cimicidae. Physical differences that do exists among these insects often magnification for them to be spotted. These bugs all have roughly the same body shape and size, they love hiding in crevices, and they prefer to feed on blood (although the host varies depending on what species). Take, for example; bat bed bugs feed only on baths. Also, while common bed bugs like to dwell within the human environment, bat bugs like to inhabit bat caves and birds nest.

The Mexican chicken bug is also known as the poultry bug is similar to the bed bugs. This bug has certain similarities with the common bed bug. One contrasting difference is that the chicken bugs are found on poultry birds and domesticated fowls.

Another bug that resembles the bed bug is the barn swallow bugs. The barn bugs are known to feed on cliff swallows and dwell in their nests. Occasionally, when the bird migrates, these bugs are known to find themselves among humans. These bugs can survive long periods of time by staying semi-dormant.

How often do Bed Bugs Feed