How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed? How Many Times Can You Get Bitten?

Christian Mba
Oct 31, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Dec 06, 2021
How often do bed bugs feed? The answer to this question is once a week or every 5-10 days.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that can be found in most parts of the world.

These creepy insects are attracted to heat, blood, and carbon dioxide. Bed bugs feed on blood meals to go through their life stages.

Bed bugs are known as Cimex lectularius in scientific terminology. They belong to the class Insecta and genus Cimex. Another common bug belonging to this family (Cimicidae) is called the bat bug, which preys upon bats. Meanwhile, bed bugs suck the blood of humans and sometimes cats. Bed bugs usually have oval-shaped flat bodies, which after feeding, become rounder.

The life cycle of bed bugs involves three main stages. The first stage is the hatching of the egg.

The next one involves the five phases of nymphs. The term 'nymphs' refers to young or juvenile bed bugs. Before young bed bugs can become adults, they have to pass through five phases where they not only shed their skin but also need a blood meal for each of these phases.

Adult bed bugs have a unique and painful way of mating, which is called traumatic insemination In this process, the adult male bed bug pierces the abdomen of the female bed bug. Then the male fills this wound with sperm.

On average, after fertilization has taken place, females hold the eggs inside themselves for around five to seven weeks. Then, the female bed bug, feeding for around three more days, starts laying 12 eggs per day.

Females can lay around 200-500 eggs in one lifetime. The eggs are laid in very narrow cracks and crevices where after 17 days, they hatch and juvenile bed bugs then begin their life cycle.


After you are done reading this article, you might also be interested finding out how big bed bugs are and where do bed bugs come from here on Kidadl?

Do bed bugs feed every night?

Bed bugs absolutely love a blood meal. These parasites are mainly active during the night. However, there have been instances where bed bugs might come out of their hiding spots and feed on blood during the day.

Usually, a bed bug feeds once every 5-10 days or once a week. This means the same bed bug does not bite every single night.

However, different bed bugs might bite you every single night. Interestingly, bed bugs only need a blood meal to perform vital functions of life such as mating, laying eggs, and going through the stages of their life cycle.

Infestations of bed bugs can be frequently found in box springs, various furniture pieces, mattresses, and cracks. If there is no check on the growth of this pest, it can keep feeding and growing in numbers.

Therefore, if you don't want your blood to become their meal, it is necessary that you call professional pest control to deal with these pests.

To treat the problem and kill bed bugs once is not enough because the infestation can spread again. You should call for pest management quite frequently to completely get rid of bed bugs.

Will bed bugs die if they have nothing to feed on?

Even though bed bugs depend only on blood as a source of food, they do not need it to survive everyday life but to complete certain life processes. Bed bugs do not die easily and are known to survive.

Rather than room temperature, bed bugs like cold temperatures that allow them to live for longer periods of time in their hiding spots. It should not come as a surprise that bed bugs, on average, can live up to six months or sometimes even up to a year without feeding on even a drop of blood.

This means they can survive without feeding for weeks. If you think you can just starve them to decrease their population, think again!

Moreover, bed bugs can only die without any food when they are living in extreme temperatures. These blood-sucking insects cannot survive major heat or cold in the absence of food. Their lifespan decreases as the temperature increases.

However, the lifespan of bed bugs can decrease to three to five months when they hide in places that are at room temperature and have normal humidity. Interestingly, adult bed bugs can survive longer than young ones.

Bed bug feeding depends on the vital stages of their lives.

How far will bed bugs travel to feed?

Bed bugs are parasites that are quite determined to live. Yet, you may wonder the distance a bed bug will travel to find its food source and feed on it.

Since a bed bug does not have any wings and cannot jump, the only way to travel for a bed bug is to crawl. At nighttime, a bed bug can travel a distance of up to 100 ft (30.4 m) in order to feed.

Meanwhile, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a bed bug typically edges close to within 8 ft (2.4 m) of the host's sleeping spot when it is planning to feed. Once the bed bug is done with its feeding, it goes back to its hiding place in order to digest the blood.

Can bed bugs feed through clothing?

Bed bugs have a needle-like part that is called a proboscis. The proboscis is usually folded under the body of the bed bug. When it is time for feeding, the proboscis extends outward from its folded position in order to pierce the skin.

Unlike mosquitos that break through the surface of clothing to get to the host, bed bugs do not suck blood through clothes. In other words, bed bugs bite the skin directly as they cannot bite through the barrier of clothes.

However, because of their minuscule size, bed bugs can creep under clothes to reach the surface of human skin. They can also cling to clothes to travel from one host to another or from one place to another.

How many times can a bedbug bite you in one night?

Bed bugs like to creep upon the host at nighttime, mostly when you are sleeping.

When you sleep on your mattress, bed bugs are very much likely to attack your skin at that time as you do not move much. However, how many times is it possible for bed bugs to bite a person during the course of one night?

Bites of bed bugs are not painful at first. Their bites only leave a red spot which then becomes itchy as time passes.

The marks of their bites can disappear in a day or two. Even though bed bug bites are not really harmful, they can cause an allergic reaction or even lead to a condition known as anaphylaxis. This condition is an extremely life-threatening allergic reaction that can be caused by any kind of allergy.

Moreover, this bed bug bites not just once but a few times to suck enough blood. This is the reason that you can see a trail of red spots on your skin where a bed bug might have bitten you.

The number of bed bug bites you can suffer from in one night depends on the extent of the bed bug infestation in your apartment or house.

If the infestation is low, then you might have one or two bites in a day. However, if there is a heavy infestation, you can suffer from more than 50-bed bugs bites per night.

Any human should do an inspection of the furniture and the spring box in the house regularly and kill any bed bugs when found.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked discovering how often do bed bugs feed, then why not take a look at why do ants bite, or bedbug facts.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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