How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In An Empty House?

It’s no secret that bed bugs can be a real nuisance. These tiny pests can live in your mattress and feed on your blood, leaving you with itchy bites. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a bed bug infestation, getting rid of them can be a real challenge. But what happens if you move out of your home and leave the bed bugs behind? Can they survive in an empty house? And how long do they typically last? Read on to find out!

How long can bed bugs live in an empty house?

Many people have wondered how long they have to wait before moving into a new home that recently suffered a bed bug infestation. They are concerned about the house being “bed bug-free” for their comfort and safety. It’s natural to ask because anyone who has ever dealt with bed bug infestation knows just how horrifying these bugs are.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for an indefinite amount of time to pass before living in a newly purchased home, especially if it’s been thoroughly inspected and treated by a professional pest control company.

Bed bugs are usually found in older homes that have not been properly maintained. Most people think that they only live in beds and mattresses but this is not the case. They are known to live inside wall cavities and cracks of floors, baseboards, electrical outlets, picture frames, behind ceiling light fixtures, under carpeting and rugs, between upholstery seams on couches or chairs, along with drawer guides or door casings, in upholstered furniture cushions, behind wood paneling and crown molding, along carpet edges near the base of walls, underneath loose wallpaper or paint, and even within heating ducts or attics.

Bed bugs can live for up to a year without a blood meal, so they could potentially stay alive in an empty house for quite some time. However, there are some factors that will determine how long they last.

Factors That Determine How Long a Bed Bug Could Live Without Feeding


Areas with milder climates are less likely to have bed bugs survive in an empty house for a long since a colder climate slows down the bug’s metabolism and reduces their life expectancy. Bed bugs living in areas with cold winters usually die within a few months, but if the temperatures drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, they will last about four days.

Age of the Bug

The ability of a bed bug to survive without feeding can depend on its age. First nymphs (baby) bed bugs can only survive about two weeks without food, while older Juveniles and adults may live several months!

Lack of Access to Food and Water

Bed bugs must feed on blood, or they will eventually die, so they depend on warm-blooded animals (humans included) to provide them with their next meal. If there is a stray cat or maybe even a mouse that is staying in the home then the bed bugs will survive a lot longer if they are able to secure a meal or two. 

Availability of Hiding Places

If bed bugs don’t have any place to hide, they are more likely to be found by predators. They prefer cracks and crevices for hiding places, especially near the bed where people sleep and make for an easy meal. Hiding places also provide bed bugs with an opportunity to lay eggs. Therefore, if there are no hiding places available in the empty house then they are less likely to produce offspring. 


The presence of predators (such as ants, mites, and even cockroaches) may reduce the number of bed bugs you have in your home since these predators have an easier time hunting them down because bed bugs that have gone months without food are more likely to venture out in the open to find their next meal. Bed bugs are also fast travelers on foot and can travel about a meter a minute. 

How to spot a bed bug infestation in an Empty House?

If the house has been empty for over six months, you should be able to spot a majority of bed bugs by looking for:

You can also have a pest control professional inspect the house to determine the extent of the infestation.

Prevention Tips to ensure that Bed Bugs don't Infest Your Empty House

What are some ways to prevent bed bugs from getting into your empty house? You can implement these measures when you leave or when you have professionals take care of the problem in your absence:

Security System

If your home were to get bed bugs while you were away it would be because someone brought them in. Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and every so often you’ll hear about a public library being infested with bed bugs. This is because these places see a lot of foot traffic and with it is the opportunity for people to bring bed bugs with them. The same goes for your home. 

Well Secured Home

Seal off holes and cracks – use weather stripping, caulking, expanding foam, screens over windows, and other entry points to keep bed bugs out. Bed bugs are slow travelers and can only move about a foot an hour but that doesn’t mean that they can’t latch on to a stray dog or cat. So if you are remodeling a home or if you just bought a fixer-upper, then you’ll want to pay attention to the foot traffic be it human or animal because that is the most likely way your home will get bed bugs. 

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