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Questions & Answers About the Habits of Bed Bugs

By Chris Williams on September 8, 2015.

Bed Bug - Habits of Bed Bugs1. Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs hide during the day in cracks and crevices and move out at night to feed on a sleeping person (or pet). It follows, therefore, that they will hide during the day as close as they can get to the bed: in the bed frame, in tufts, folds, and around stitching on mattresses and box springs, and behind headboards. As the bed bug population increases, some bed bugs are forced to move farther out to find hiding places in dressers, bedside tables, behind baseboards, behind pictures on walls, even in shoes and clothing.

2. How often do bed bugs feed?

The time between blood meals for a bed bug depends on the life stage of the bug, whether hosts are available, and on the temperature. Cooler temperatures, disturbances, no people around, and competition between bed bugs will increase the time between feedings. At their ideal temperature of 80° F., bed bugs will search for a blood meal about every 3 days. At 64° F., they will feed about once a week.

3. How long can bed bugs survive without feeding?

Bed bugs can survive for a long time without feeding if they have to. Adult bed bugs and large nymphs can sometimes survive for more than a year without a blood meal. Small nymphs are more susceptible but can still go for months without feeding. This ability to survive starvation is the reason why bed bugs can remain alive in vacant buildings until people move back in.

4. Can you see bed bug eggs?

Bed bug eggs can be seen with the naked eye—but just barely, if you can find them. They are usually hidden in cracks, crevices, or holes – a staple hole on a bed frame can hide a dozen eggs. The eggs are translucent white and oval with a hinged cap on one end. Eggs are usually laid in clumps, attached to a surface with a sticky substance. Females prefer to lay their eggs on textured surfaces like fabrics, wood, or in furniture. A female bed bug lays 5-7 eggs/week and they hatch in 7-10 days at room temperature.

5. How do bed bugs disperse within a building?

Bed bugs are more mobile than you would think. Hungry bed bugs move around more than fed bed bugs and adult bed bugs are nine times more likely to migrate to a new location than are the nymphs. Adult female bed bugs are the most likely to move into new locations. An adult bed bug can travel more than 4 feet in a minute. Bed bugs travel much like cockroaches and will move along pipe and wiring runs in wall and ceiling voids to reach new areas. They will also move from one apartment to another through windows or by walking under doors, and they are often carried to new locations in belongings.

Photo credit: / Foter / CC BY-ND

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