When bed bugs infest your one and only home where you live, there is clearly an urgent need to get them removed right away. But what if they infest a property you own that you’re not living in? Tempted to let the bed bugs die off on their own, you might be wondering, “how long can bed bugs live in an empty house?”
Bed bugs can live for as long as 4.5 months or more in an empty house before completely dying off. The two primary factors that determine how quickly or slowly the bed bugs could die off are the existence of a blood meal host, and the temperature of the house.
In most situations, even situations where a house is left unoccupied for extended periods of time, we still recommend exterminating bed bugs as quickly as possible to prevent a larger infestation and damage to furniture, and to ensure that they are gone for good.
Click below to request a bed bug consultation now. Or if you’re daring enough to see if bed bugs will die off by themselves, keep reading to learn about this possibility.
How Long Does It Take For Bed Bugs To Die Without a Host?
If you’ve seen the damage that bed bugs can cause to bedding and furniture, you may be thinking that bed bugs feed on furniture, but that’s not the case. Bed bugs survive on blood, and without access to a “blood meal,” they will eventually die.
If there was absolutely no host available from which to feed on their blood, a young bed bug could die as quickly as within several weeks, while an adult bed bug could survive as long as 4.5 months under optimal conditions of heat and humidity before dying of starvation1. They need humidity supplied by their blood meal in order to survive, and once that is utilized they will dry out and die.
It’s also important to note that humans are not a bed bug’s only source of food; bed bugs can also feed on rodents, pets, and other animals that may be living in the house too. So even if humans aren’t around, if there are animals in the house that the bed bugs can feed on, they could end up surviving well beyond the expected 4.5 months.
Another factor to consider is the temperature of the house. Bed bugs cannot survive for more than 3 weeks if the temperature is consistently below 25 degrees F, and they’ll also die if exposed to temperatures above 113F for more than a week. So if the house coincidentally maintains those temperatures for long enough, it will kill the bed bugs. But keep in mind that if the temperature drops below 25 degrees at night but then rises above 30 degrees during the day (for example), bed bugs can still survive.
What all of this means is that if you simply vacate a home for a long period of time (even a year or more), you might still return to a bed bug infestation. The best course of action is to exterminate the bugs as quickly as possible. Click below to get started.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide In An Empty House?
The most common places for bed bugs to hide are places where humans spend considerable amounts of time, such as couches, beds, and other furniture. So if there are any furniture items still remaining in the house, this would be the most likely place to check first.
If the house is completely empty, bed bugs could be hiding between cracks in the wall, they could be sneaking into small hideout areas in the gaps between light switch sockets and the wall, or they could be hiding behind loose trim or molding. If there’s hardwood flooring in the house, the bugs could be hibernating between the cracks and possibly under the floorboards if they’re loose enough.
This is why it’s very important to use traps and lures to draw out bed bugs in vacant buildings. Without traps, bed bugs will likely find a good hiding spot and the treatment will be ineffective.
What this means is that it’s important to hire an experienced professional to remove bed bugs from an empty house instead of attempting treatment yourself.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In An Empty House
The process of getting rid of bed bugs in an empty house is similar to getting rid of them in an occupied house, although it is a bit simpler and faster.
If there’s any bedding, couches, or other furniture, remove any sheets, blankets, pillows, etc, and put them in large airtight bags or containers to transport them to the washer (so that the bed bugs don’t spread through the hallways on your way to the washing machine). Then wash with hot water and dry with high heat.
Then follow our other recommendations for getting rid of bed bugs, including hiring a professional exterminator to ensure the bed bugs are eradicated as quickly as possible, and to make sure no bed bugs are left hiding in cracks or crevices in walls or flooring.
If you’re in southern Pennsylvania, call us today at 717-393-7879 to get a free quote on bed bug removal. We’re based in Lancaster PA and serve the surrounding areas including York, Harrisburg, Lebanon, and Hershey.