When you researching online for the answer to a particular question that seems straightforward you often find many different answers. Nowhere is this more apparent than if you’re wondering how long a bed bug can live without food, can you believe 63 different answers? You might come across the statement that they can live 18 months or longer without food. Just why are there so many different answers, to answer that let’s look at why there is no clear answer.
A whole list of reasons account for the different answers, for example a baby bed bug can’t survive as long as an adult one. Another variable is the activity level of a bed bug if they’re actively searching an empty apartment for food they’re not going to live as long. If that same bed bug is sitting in a jar it’s lower activity level will allow it to survive longer than if it was searching for food.
The reason a person is looking for an answer might be the best way to find the answer for their particular situation. Say bed bugs are discovered in an apartment you are wanting to rent out and wonder how long before the bed bugs move out. Research has found live bed bugs in vacant apartments 6 months after the premises have been vacant and it could take as long as 9 months to be rid of them. The length of time will depend on the length of time they’ve been active, the temperature of the apartment and what stresses they have been exposed to. There is no easy answer and in fact leaving the apartment vacant may result in surrounding apartments being infested as the hungry bed bugs search for a food source.
There is the example of bed bugs being found in summer camps 10 months after the camp was vacated. The cooler temperatures in the unheated cabins allowed them to survive longer than normal.
Many people want to know how long they need to keep personal items in sealed storage bags to rid these items of bed bugs. There is no simple answer to the question, they could live 9 to 12 months or much longer. The best advice is that adding stresses to the setting to make the situation as difficult as possible on the bugs. For instance increasing the temperature, adding pesticide dust ( by Label ) along with any other treatment options to increase the stress level of the bugs and decrease the time they can survive.