Updated: April 26, 2023

How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed?

Bed bugs typically feed on blood every 5 to 10 days, but this can vary depending on the age of the bed bug and other environmental factors.

If a blood meal is easily available, bed bugs will feed more frequently, and can even feed multiple times in one night. Since bed bugs don’t fly or jump, they will try and hide close to their victims and feed on them while they’re sleeping.

This is why bed bugs typically infest bedrooms and tend to live around the folds of the mattress or within bed sheets.

How Long Can Bed Bugs Live Between Feedings?

Bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding, although their survival time depends on temperature, humidity, and other external factors.

At room temperature (around 70-80°F or 21-27°C) and with normal humidity levels, adult bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding.

Nymphs, on the other hand, can only survive for a few weeks without food, as they require more frequent meals in order to mature into adult bed bugs. Though bed bugs can survive for quite a while without feeding, they will travel and find a new host within a few months if there is no food source nearby.

How Often Do Females Need to Feed to Lay Eggs?

In general, female bed bugs need to feed on blood at least once every 14 days in order to produce eggs at their preferred frequency. Females that don’t feed as often will still produce eggs, but not nearly as often.

The number of eggs a female can lay per day varies depending on factors such as age, temperature, and availability of food. Though in general, a single female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime if she has access to regular blood meals.


After a meal, the female bed bug will start to produce eggs within 2 to 3 and will continue to multiply every few days as long as she has continued access to food. This is why one female bed bug can create a full-scale infestation within a matter of months.

How Far Bed Bugs Will Travel to Feed

Bed bugs can travel a distance of up to 20 feet (6 meters) to feed on a host, although they tend to stay relatively close to the bed so that they don’t have to travel far after they come out of hiding.

Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide that people exhale, as well as to body heat and other chemicals in human sweat, so they are more likely to be found in areas that contain heavy foot traffic.

Nevertheless, bed bugs can easily spread from one location to another by hitchhiking on clothing, luggage, and other items.

It’s worth noting that bed bugs do not fly or jump, so they typically travel by crawling along surfaces or by being transported by people or their belongings.

They can also move through cracks in the walls, electrical outlets, and other spaces in search of a host to feed on.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

The bed bug life cycle consists of several stages, including egg, nymph, and adult.

Here is a brief description of each stage:

Egg: Eggs are oval-shaped, about 1 mm in length, and have a sticky coating that helps them adhere to surfaces. Eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days, depending on temperature and humidity.

Nymph: After hatching, bed bug nymphs emerge and look for a blood meal. The larvae undergo five molts before reaching adulthood, and each molt requires a blood meal. The nymphs are translucent, straw-colored, and about the size of a pinhead.

Adult: Once the bed bug nymphs reach adulthood, they are about the size and shape of a pumpkin seed. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and have a flat, oval-shaped body.

The entire bed bug life cycle, from egg to adult, typically takes around 6 to 8 weeks, although it can vary depending on temperature and availability of food.

Do Bed Bugs Feed on Pets?

Yes, bed bugs can feed on pets if they do not have access to human hosts. Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide that animals exhale, as well as to body heat and other chemicals in their skin secretions.

While bed bugs prefer human blood, they will feed on other animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and rodents, if necessary.


If you’re worried that you might have an infestation, consider investing in bed bug traps to help you detect bed bugs early. These traps use heat and carbon dioxide to attract bed bugs, which can then be monitored for signs of activity.  Additionally, regularly checking your pet’s fur for signs of bites can also help you detect an infestation early on.

Pets can also serve as carriers for bed bugs, as the insects can hitchhike on their fur or bedding and be transported to new locations. However, pets are less likely to experience severe bed bug infestations, as bed bugs generally prefer to feed on humans which provides bed bugs easier access to exposed skin.

If you suspect that your pet has been bitten by bed bugs, it’s important to take steps to eliminate the infestation and prevent future bites.

This may include washing your pet’s bedding, vacuuming regularly, and contacting a professional pest control company to treat your home.

Bed Bug Lawyer Logo

Date Published: 2023-04-26

Written By Aziz Fuentez

Aziz is a pest control expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for many different residential and commercial buildings in New York City. He is an expert in both traditional pest control methods alongside cutting-edge and innovative pest removal solutions to keep bed bug populations under control.

    What's Your Case Worth?
    Get a Free Case Review

    By submitting this request, I confirm I have read and agree to the Consent to Receive Email, Phone, Text Messages, and Privacy Policy. Information sent is not privileged or confidential.
    (855) 733-9217

    Leave a Reply