Widely regarded as pests worldwide, these vampire-like creatures, hiding in the depths of mattresses, box springs, and other places, have been a nuisance to humans for centuries.
Small yet mighty, these bed-dwelling mites are capable of causing skin irritation and discomfort to their unfortunate victims. But what many people don’t know is how often these pesky critters feed.
Bed bugs feed every 3-7 days – a surprising truth. Most people have had the misconception that they feed every night because of the bites and itchiness they experience.
This means that the ones that have bitten you last night, won’t bite you again, for another 3 days or so, and a new group will come out to feed.
Different Factors Affecting a Bed Bug’s Feeding Frequency
These nightmares on your mattress are excellent at finding the best spots to hide so that they can come out and feed when you least expect them.
Despite this, their feeding frequency is largely determined by a few factors:
Generally speaking, higher temperatures require more frequent feeding. Bed bugs are adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures, but when the temperature is higher than usual, they tend to become more active and need to feed more often.
Bed bugs also require humidity for survival. In drier climates, bed bugs become much less active, which means they don’t feed as often.
This is one of the major reasons why people living in more humid climates often experience more bed bug problems.
Availability of Food
When food is readily available, bed bugs find it easier to feed more often.
This means that if your home has many potential hosts, such as pets or other family members, the bed bug population will increase, which comes up to more frequent feedings.
Bed Bug Population Size
The more bed bugs are found in your home, the more often they feed. This is because when there’s a larger number of bed bugs, more food will be needed to sustain them.
Female bed bugs need to feed more than male bed bugs to produce eggs, so the size of the population can have a major impact on how often they feed.
Other Conditions Within the Structure They Occupy
Bed bugs can be found in many places within a home such as furniture, mattresses, and other pieces of fabric. Each place has its own unique environment which can affect the bed bug’s feeding frequency.
For example, if there are more hiding spots in the room, they will feed less often as they won’t need to go far to find food.
Otherwise, if the structure has poor air circulation or lacks food, bed bugs will feed more often because they need the energy to survive.
Do Bed Bugs Feed Every Night?
Not necessarily every night.
A single bed bug may have a feeding frequency of every 3-7 days. Although that particular bed bug doesn’t feed every night, other bed bugs may come out to feed, meaning that if you’re unlucky enough, you might experience bites every night.
Technically speaking, these pests do not have a predictable schedule. They don’t time their feedings, but rather feed when the opportunity presents itself.
A Bed Bug’s Life Cycle
To have a better understanding of these pests’ feeding frequency, it pays to know a little bit more about their life cycle. Here are some facts you should know:
Bed Bugs Will Feed on Anything – From Animals to Humans
In the wild, bed bugs will feed on a variety of hosts, ranging from animals to humans.
They are known to feed on small mammals and birds, but in urban areas, they tend to stick with human hosts simply because it’s easier to access.
Bed Bugs Have a Long Life Cycle
From the time a bed bug is born, it will go through five stages: egg, nymph, molting phases, and adult.
In each stage, they will need to feed several times a week in order to survive.
Bed Bugs Need Blood for Reproduction
Male bed bugs will feed on their female mates in order to produce sperm. This is why bed bugs are often found in larger populations.
Males look for mates after feeding, and female bed bugs feed more than their male counterparts in order to produce eggs. Adult females require a blood meal before viable eggs can be produced.
This means that the abundance of hosts also directly affects the bed bug population as more hosts mean more food, leading to larger populations.
When they starve, they can hold up and live for as long as they can, but this also means that their reproduction cycle is put on hold.
Newly Hatched Bed Bug Nymphs
These newly hatched bed bug nymphs need to feed every 5-10 days in order to grow and develop into adulthood.
After reaching adulthood, bed bugs will feed less often as they can survive up to a year without feeding.
They need a blood meal to reproduce, but adults can go several weeks or even months without feeding.
Female Bed Bugs Can Produce Up to 120 Eggs in Their Lifetime
A single female adult bed bug can produce up to 120 eggs in its lifetime. This means that it will need to feed frequently if it wants to survive and reproduce successfully.
If a female bed bug does not have enough food or hosts, she won’t be able to produce viable eggs and the population will eventually die off.
Do Bed Bugs Feed Every Day?
Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures – they feed during the night and hide during the day. This is one of the many reasons why we experience bed bug bites in the middle of the night, waking us up with a nasty surprise.
They don’t feed every day, but their feeding frequency does depend on the availability of food and hosts among many other factors.
If there is a shortage or lack of hosts or food, bed bugs may feed less frequently in order to conserve energy.
On the other hand, if there is an abundance of food or hosts, bed bugs will feed more often and the population will grow.
So while they do not have a predictable feeding schedule, the availability of food and hosts does affect their feeding frequency to some degree.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that bed bugs are opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will take advantage of any opportunity to feed when given the chance.
Therefore, it pays to be vigilant and take preventive measures to ensure that these pests don’t have easy access to your home.
Although bed bugs don’t follow a regular feeding schedule, they do feed frequently. Their feeding frequency depends on the availability of food and hosts, typically every 3 to 7 days.
Most often, they feed during the night as nocturnal pests and stay in their hiding spots during the day. It’s important to be aware of these facts in order to better protect your home from an infestation.
Keeping an eye out for any signs of bed bugs and taking preventive action is the best way to keep these pests away.