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How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in an Empty House? [Answered]

If you’ve ever experienced having bed bugs at home, you know that these tiny creatures can wreak havoc on your life, sleep, and general existence for as long as they are in your space. They often go by undetected, but once they enter your home, attempting to get rid of them can become a massive pain in the neck.  

Even though their name might suggest otherwise, bed bugs infest many pieces of furniture in a home, like sofas or recliners, mattresses, and dining chairs. Bed bugs have often been found on trains, seats in movie theaters, and even suitcases. It is worth knowing that human beings and animals serve as bed bugs’ primary food sources, which is why they tend to live in the crevices of furniture. 

However, you might wonder what happens when bed bugs infest an empty house. Can they live in an empty house for very long, and how long can they survive without a steady food supply? If you’ve got many questions, don’t worry because we’ve got all the answers! 

In this article, we will explain what causes bed bugs, how to kill them, and whether they can survive for long inside an empty house. 

Let’s take a closer look.

What is the main cause of bed bugs?

A common misconception about bed bugs is that they enter your home if you haven’t cleaned the rooms in a while or haven’t thrown out your garbage in a few days. However, we’re here to tell you that that isn’t true! Bed bugs can enter your home in various other ways, and most of them have very little to do with hygiene at all. This is because they need blood to survive; therefore, bed bugs have a steady food supply as long as humans or animals are around. 

What is the main cause of bed bugs

Here are some of the leading causes of bed bugs: 

1. Traveling and staying in a hotel 

You might have gone on a long trip by plane, stayed at a hotel with questionable hygiene, and picked up bed bugs from the hotel linen. Bed bugs are often found under mattresses in hotel rooms, which means that a few could have slipped into your clothes or suitcase. 

2. Public transport

Since blood is what keeps bedbugs alive, it is safe to say that if you are a regular public transport user, there’s a good chance that you might have picked up some bed bugs on your daily commute to work or school. 

3. Apartments or dorm rooms 

If you live in an apartment building or dorm room cluttered with piles of boxes or clothing, you might not notice that you have bed bugs at first because they hide very well. 

How long can bed bugs live in an empty house?

If you have a bed bug infestation in your house but go on vacation for a month or two, you’ll probably come to find that the bed bugs have either died or gone into hibernation. As we mentioned earlier, bed bugs need blood to survive. This means that they can survive on either human or animal blood. They feed every few days, but the amount of food they need depends on their age. 

Empty old bed

It is important to remember that the older the bed bug is, the longer it can survive without food. On average, adult bed bugs eat once every three to seven days, while young bed bugs, or nymphs, as they are known, can survive even longer without food. 

If the house is empty of humans, but there are still pets or rodents that come in from time to time, you must remember that the steady supply of blood keeps the bed bugs alive. Therefore, if they cannot eat human blood, they will turn to animals and other creatures for food instead. 

Ultimately, the answer to the question of how long bed bugs can live in an empty house boils down to two factors: the temperature of the empty house and how old they are. 

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Earwigs in a Bathroom?

How long does it take for bed bugs to die without a host?

Studies have shown that bed bugs can survive without food for more than a year after being bred and studied in a controlled environment. However, in the real world, their survival situation differs significantly. The average bed bug can live for four to nine months in an empty house without food. 

However, if there is no food source in an empty house, the bed bugs will die within four months. The older the bed bug, the more likely it can survive without food. 

Another factor that you must keep in mind is the temperature. If the house’s temperature is less than 25℉ for over three weeks, the bed bugs won’t survive. These creatures thrive in warm places, which means that if the temperature is low, they won’t live for very long. However, you must remember that fit must remain consistently low, or the temperature to kill them. If it changes and gets warmer during the day, then the bed bugs will live longer. 

Where do bed bugs hide in an empty house?

If your house is empty of people but still has furniture in it, the most common places they hide will be in the crevices between beds, couches, and chairs. We’d recommend checking underneath your mattresses, between the cushions on your couch, and under your dining chairs. 

Tea on the bed

Additionally, bed bugs will hide behind the frames on top of paintings and photographs and even behind tube lights. 

If your house is empty, bed bugs could hide under loose floorboards or behind loose switches or switchboards. They could also hide inside the cracks in walls if they are big enough. 

What kills bed bugs instantly?

Here is a list of methods to kill bed bugs instantly. 

1. Insecticide

This first option might sound like the most obvious choice, but we highly recommend using insecticide to kill the bed bugs. It will kill them instantly. All you need to do is purchase a few bottles of insecticide online, read the instructions carefully, and spray the infected areas of your home to kill the bed bugs. 

2. Diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is another excellent product that quickly gets rid of bed bugs. It is a type of dust that you can sprinkle all over your home, particularly in and around your bed and mattress, the carpets, and any other surface. 

3. Cleaning the infested areas

  • If you’ve found bed bugs mostly in your bed or under the cushions on your couch, remove the sheets, pillowcases, and cushion covers. Wash them in hot water and then place them in the dryer on the highest setting for at least half an hour to 45 minutes. 
  • While the linen is being washed, inspect your mattress. If you see too many bed bug eggs, it would be best to discard your mattress and get a new one. If you can save the mattress, vacuum it thoroughly to eliminate eggs and hidden bed bugs. 
  • Remove the mattress from the bed, and, using a stiff plastic brush, scrub the bedframe to get rid of any visible eggs and bed bugs. Vacuum the bedframe once you’ve scrubbed it with the plastic brush. 

4. An exterminator

While all the methods mentioned above are effective at getting rid of bed bugs quickly, it would be best if you called an exterminator. Exterminators are trained to assess the problem and fumigate your home to get rid of bed bugs permanently.  They will also tell you what to look for and how to prevent bed bugs from returning. 

How do I know if the bed bugs are gone?

Once you’ve hired an exterminator to fumigate your house, you might not be sure whether all the bed bugs have gone. If you still feel uncomfortable, all you need to do is the following: 

1. Check your house

To know if the bed bugs are gone, you will need to thoroughly check your house, making sure that you carefully check the crevices and tiny hiding spaces in your furniture. 

2. Look for signs of blood.

Once you’ve checked the different parts of your house, you must then look for signs of blood on your bedsheets, mattresses, and cushions. If you can’t see any blood, that is a good sign that there aren’t any more bed bugs. 

3. Bed bug feces 

You must also look for bed bug feces on your furniture and walls. Bed bug feces are black and resemble black mold. 

4. Bed bug skin 

You need to check for signs of shed skin as well. Bed bugs often shed their exoskeleton, which is white and easy to spot. If you aren’t sure about what to look for, we recommend that you watch for a white substance that resembles a husk. 

5. Bite marks on your body

One of the most important signs to look for is on your body! If you continue to find red marks that itch all over your skin, there’s a good chance there are still bed bugs in your home. If you don’t see bed bug bites on your body after the fumigation, you’ve successfully gotten rid of the bed bugs. 

Can a single bed bug multiply?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors. 

If a pregnant female bed bugs enters your home, there’s a good chance that she will lay around seven eggs at a time. The average female bed bug layers over 200 eggs in her lifetime. Bed bug eggs take six to 17 days to hatch, followed by 21 days of maturation. However, once a bed bug is fully grown, it can start to reproduce immediately. 

In other words, while it might take a few weeks, a single bed bug could potentially cause an infestation by giving birth and multiplying on its own. 

Do You Have to Move If You Have Bed Bugs?

Once again, the answer to this question depends on a variety of factors. 

While you might not need to move houses if you have bed bugs, it would be best if you could leave the infested area and move into a different room. For example, if you notice that there is a bed bug infestation in your bedroom, you could kill the problem at the source. This means that you can get your bedroom fumigated and exterminated as soon as you notice the bed bugs everywhere. However, it is worth noting that even though you might temporarily move into the living room or a spare bedroom in your house, you might risk carrying a few bed bugs that got stuck to your clothing into the new room. As a result, you could cause the bed bugs to spread. 

When you notice that there are bed bugs in multiple rooms in your home, you must get your home exterminated immediately. 

If you find that the bed bug infestation cannot be contained, then you might need to consider moving house. 

Can bed bugs survive if no one sleeps on bed?

As we mentioned earlier in the article, bed bugs can survive without a source of food for a few months if the temperature of the room or house is more than 25℉. 

However, if bed bugs cannot feed if no one sleeps on a bed, they can always move to a different part of your house to find food elsewhere. This means that instead of making a home inside your mattress and in between the wooden slats on your bed, they could migrate to your sofa and live underneath the cushions. They could also make a home underneath your computer chair and bite you when you work. 

Additionally, you might have pets that sleep on the floor or in a basket; bed bugs could start to nest near your pets and use them as a source of food. The only food a bed bug eats is blood, so if it cannot get human blood, it will seek out animal blood instead. 

Therefore, even if no one sleep on a bed, but there are still people and animals in your house, the bed bugs will continue to survive until your use natural or chemical methods to remove them. 

Do bed bugs usually stay in one room?

No, not usually. It isn’t wrong to assume that if there are bed bugs in one room of your house, there are bed bugs in the other rooms in your house. While bed bugs can crawl quite quickly on their own, they often travel by clinging to clothing. For instance, a couple of bed bugs might stick to your pajamas, and when you go to your living room, the bed bugs might hop off and start nesting in your couch cushions. 

Therefore, they will move to other rooms especially when they know that there are multiple sources of food in one place. 

How fast do bed bugs move from room to room?

It takes bed bugs only one minute to crawl four feet. If you live in a small apartment or house, this means that they can travel throughout your living space in the span of only a few minutes. 

Wrapping Up

In this article, we took you through a ton of information on bed bugs. These insects are disgusting to have in a home and they can be a huge pain to get rid of. If you’ve got a bed bug problem, you’ll find that you can rectify the problem very quickly by hiring an exterminator or using home remedies to eliminate them yourself. We hope that the information shared in this article was helpful!