How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed?

Bed bugs are little creatures of the cimicid family that survive on blood. During the day, they hide in cracks and crevices of beds, walls and furniture. Despite their size, they are a big health concern as they can travel from place to place via luggage, clothing and furniture. It’s important to learn about their feeding habits to control their populations.

When do bed bugs feed?

  • Bed bugs mainly come out at night when it’s dark. They usually emerge around one to two hours after midnight and stay active for about 4-5 hours.
  • They can feed any time during the night or day if they find a host. But mostly, they feed between 3-6am when humans are sleeping and unaware.
  • Bed bugs can also crawl up walls and across ceilings while searching for food.


How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed?

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal creatures. They feed on blood. Different from mosquitoes, bed bugs feed without being noticed. They usually feed every 5-10 days. During this period, bed bugs can take many blood meals and stay hidden.

Let’s examine how often bed bugs feed.


Life Cycle of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have five stages in their life cycle – egg, nymph, and mature adult. Except for the egg stage, these stages all require blood for sustenance.

Usually eggs hatch within one week. Right after hatching, nymphs (immature bed bugs) start to feed on blood. Growing from 1.5 millimeters to 5-7 millimeters requires three blood meals. During this time, the nymphs molt five times.

At night, the adult bedbugs are most active. They take only five minutes to consume a meal. Although, they don’t need to eat every night. They can go months without food, as long as the weather is warm enough.

After one meal, mature bedbugs wait 5-10 days before their next feed. But, if they are very hungry or the meal was nourishing, they may look for another host sooner.


Bed Bugs Feeding Habits

Bed bugs are pests that feed on sleeping hosts. The frequency of their meals depends on the age of the bug and if it’s recently hatched. Knowing how often they feed and their habits is important for controlling them.

  • Adults feed once every four to seven days. They can live up to 12 months without a meal. During this period, females don’t lay eggs, but feed off other adults.
  • Younger bed bugs feed more often. Nymphs require a blood meal every five days. Adults need one every four days after mating.
  • They prefer nighttime hours when humans are asleep. They’re attracted to heat sources like water beds, mattresses, and box springs. They become more active in colder months in search of prey, mostly at night.


Factors that Affect How Often Bed Bugs Feed

Adult bedbugs can feed every five days. Younger nymphs need regular meals until adulthood. An adult female can lay up to three eggs per day after a meal. This can lead to a rapid population increase if not controlled.

It is important to monitor sleeping areas for signs of bed bug activity and take steps towards an effective treatment option.

  • Most of their activity happens at night when humans are sleeping.
  • Bed bugs are attracted by heat signatures from warm-blooded animals nearby. This can be within 20 feet of where they are looking for food sources.


Prevention and Treatment

Bed bugs are pests that feed on blood. You’ll find them in mattresses, furniture, and soft furnishings. It’s important to know how often bed bugs feed, to help with prevention and treatment.

This section will explain their feeding habits, so you can be more informed and prepared for an infestation.


Preventing Bed Bugs

To avoid a bed bug infestation, take preventative action. Before bringing any secondhand furniture home, inspect it. Check the seams and around buttons or tufts for live bugs and eggs. When travelling, check suitcases for bed bugs. Vacuum all areas of a room. Keep clutter to a minimum, as this gives bed bugs more hiding spaces.

When travelling, check hotel beds for signs like black spots from feces or rusty streaks from bug carcasses. Check your own room, and if possible, rooms next door and down the hall. This helps to reduce potential exposure to infestation in other rooms. Ask hotel personnel if they have had recent reports of bed bug concerns before finalizing your stay.


Treating Bed Bugs

To prevent bed bug infestations, check secondhand furniture before bringing it home. When staying in hotels, inspect for bed bugs in potential hiding spots. If prevention fails, there are treatments available. Insecticides, heat treatments, and freezing temperatures can be used, with vacuuming and trapping. Best results come from professional pest control service.

Store-bought insecticides should always be used according to manufacturer directions. Heat treatments require specialized equipment and should be done by professionals. Freezing temperatures can take multiple rounds at specific temperatures to be effective.



To sum up, the number of bed bug bites changes from person to person. However, studies show bed bugs usually eat every three to five days. So, it’s important to know what signs to watch out for. These might include:

  • Dark patches on mattresses
  • A musty smell
  • Small brown spots (bed bug poop) on bedding or other places where bed bugs hide.

If you think you have an infestation, call a pest control expert as soon as possible. They can help you assess and treat the situation.


Frequently Asked Questions

How often do bed bugs feed?

Bed bugs typically feed every 5-10 days, but can go longer without feeding if necessary.