Finally, you have found a new house/apartment, and you are planning to move in. However, the house you are about to move in was initially infested by bed bugs, and that keeps you wondering … Mmmhhh, how long can beg bugs live in an empty house?
Bed bugs survive on blood. They need blood as often as possible to not only maintain their body weight but also live longer. Does this mean that they will die once their food supply is removed or the house is empty? No!
The tiny parasites can survive up to over one year in an empty house without feeding. Nonetheless, several factors such as temperature and age determine their survival.
Unlike other pests in your home, bed bugs can thrive both in cold or hot temperatures. Conversely, if the temperature is extremely hot or cold, their body will not have enough resistance to keep them alive past a period of about one month. When the condition is somewhat slightly cold or slightly hot, then, these pests will not even notice that they do not have any food supply. Warm weather allows them to continue living comfortably in an empty house as they wait for a fresh food supply.
Therefore, instead of planning for a vacation while thinking of how to get rid of bed bugs, it is essential to start dealing with bed bugs. Unless you are sure you will expose them to extreme hot or cold conditions and your vacation will take approximately three months, they will still be around upon your return.
Bed Bugs Age Difference
Bed bugs have different age groups. They go through at least five stages before attaining maturity. When a bed bug hatches from an egg, the immature bug is called a nymph. A nymph goes through 5-stages before it reaches its full maturity. For a nymph to survive it mounts and feeds on every stage.
In other words, for a nymph to attain maturity, it will require to feed at least 2-4 times on every stage. However, even when there is not enough feeding supply, the young bug at its tender age still has the potential to live for a couple of weeks.
On the other hand, when the nymph attains its full maturity, its survival tactics enhance. Adults try to feed every 3-7 days. But when they are not lucky enough to feed all those days, they still have the strength to persevere.
Adults can survive scorching heat waves, hibernate in cold temperatures, and still have the fighting strength to push forward. Adult bed bugs can even lose approximately 1/3 of their body weight.
When there is food scarcity, they enter a semi-hibernation stage where they conserve their energy to prolong their life cycle.
If living in a controlled environment such as laboratories, adult bed bugs can live for up to 485 days without food. However, empty houses do not have the same settings as a controlled environment, hence limiting the survival of bed bugs infestation.
Will Bed Bugs Die When They Are Left In An Empty Room?
If left long enough, anything will eventually die due to starvation. Bed bugs are no exception. Although you may not be personally in the house, if there are animals and other living pests like mice, bed bugs are likely to keep living.
When you leave your household items uncovered, it also guarantees that the bed bugs are free to move around in search of food. Therefore, they will travel up and down to ensure they trace potential meals to keep living.
However, in the instances where there are no chances of finding any other source of blood, they will also try to conserve their energy and live pretty longer before dying of starvation.
Additionally, it is possible to hibernate them in a single room and seal all the escape routes completely. Even though there are still chances of surviving, when you do this long enough, you might be lucky to eliminate them in your home.
How To Trap Bed Bugs In An Empty House?
People often think that because a house is vacant, bugs cannot infest. Unlike other pests, bugs can comfortably survive in empty houses for the longest period. When there is a limited food supply, bugs go into the semi-hibernation state. At this stage, nothing will draw them out unless they sense carbon dioxide from a host.
However, you do not have to be the bait when trapping bugs from their hibernation. Instead, you can invest in traps such as active lures and SenSci volcano monitor, which mimics human skin chemicals. This trap will encourage bugs to leave their hiding nests and drive them directly to the trap.
There are also other tools like the bed bug interceptor that allows you to monitor infestation. These will lure the bed bugs and catch them when they try to climb on to furniture. They are also great because they tell you whether an empty house is infested.
You should always keep in mind that pesticide application will not always work when it comes to eliminating bed bugs in an empty house completely. Other elimination methods such as steaming, vacuuming, and laundering belongings are effective.
You should also consider sealing gaps where these pests can hide. You may also want to think about encasing mattresses, pillows, and bedsprings with bed bug proof protectors. Home remedies like kerosene also do an excellent job.