How Long Can Bed Bugs Go Undetected? All You Need To Know

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Bed bugs are not typically associated with uncleanliness and can be found in clean and dirty environments. How long can bed bugs go undetected? I had dealt with bed bugs a few months back and found ways to get rid of them. But lately, they have returned to the exact places where they were found earlier. That is when I knew that the bed bugs hadn’t left their place and went undetected all that time.

Bed bugs focus on two things for their survival: feeding and reproduction. The feeding aspect can be taken care of if they have constant access to blood, which is required on a regular basis in order for the female adult to reproduce. Bed bugs can survive for a year without food. They can usually go undetected for months and return to their initial metabolic phase after dormancy.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that are most commonly found in the United States, but they are also found worldwide. You can find bed bugs in hotels, apartments, dormitories, and other places rented or lived in by multiple people. 

how long can bed bugs go undetected

They get their name from a habit of taking refuge in beds and feeding on humans while they sleep. Bed bug bites are frequently difficult to identify, and they are easily confused with bites from other pests.

Infestations of bed bugs are difficult to detect and treat. Early detection and treatment of bed bug infestations are critical for preventing severe health complications.

Can Bed bugs go dormant?

Yes, bed bugs, like most other insects, have a behavioral trait that allows them to enter a hibernation-like state called diapause, which allows the insects to go dormant. They can also go into semi-hibernation, conserving their energy when food is scarce.

The state of dormancy generally shows the following features:

  • Slow down the metabolism of the bed bug
  • Conserve energy and allow them to resume normal behavior when environmental conditions improve.

How fast do bed bugs spread from room to room?

Bed bugs can move at speeds of up to 4 feet per minute. However, that is their top speed, and they rarely move at that rate. In reality, bed bugs can travel up to 100 feet or more in one hour.

This characteristic of bed bugs can maximize their spread within no time. Bed bugs have high reproductive capacity. Thus they can develop infestations at a quick rate.

How long can bed bugs go undetected?

Bed bugs can go undetected for months without any trace of their existence. This state is known as “diapause.” When the temperature reaches less than forty degrees, bed bugs change their metabolic activities. They tend to escape the unfavorable situation and mark it as diapause.

Lateral shot of Bed bug, Cimex lectularius, Pune, Maharashtra, India. feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals

Because of the temperature, bed bugs do not survive long in domestic environments. The warmer the climate, the faster they can reproduce; once they breed and lay their eggs, the life cycle is nearly complete. As a result, the average bed bug life cycle is four and a half months.

What is the life cycle of the bed bug?

Bed bugs have a very simple life cycle. After feeding and mating, the female will lay approximately five eggs per day for ten days. She will then feed again, and the egg-laying cycle will begin again after each blood meal.

The eggs of bed bugs hatch in 7-10 days, and the nymphs mature in about five weeks. Once mature, they will mate and reproduce indefinitely as long as they have access to blood. You may find a growing infestation that, if not treated, will become out of control.

As if that weren’t enough, the female can mate with her male offspring once they reach adulthood. Within six months, a single female can be responsible for an infestation of more than 5,000-bed bugs.

Is it possible to have bed bugs and not see them?

Yes, they are the most notorious parasites that can hide in the smallest places possible. Adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye during the day. The eggs and the nymphs are difficult to find with the naked eye. Supplementary tools like a flashlight and magnifying glass can detect them.

Bed bugs hide in many places but congregate near where their host (human) sleeps. To detect bed bugs, start in the bedroom and look for:


-Bedside tables

-Ceiling/wall junctions

-Loose wallpaper or paneling

-Creases or crevices near where people sleep, including baseboards, mattress seams, and personal belongings

Where do bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs come from places where they live in the wild. They live in the cracks in walls, behind picture frames, in the seams of furniture, and in other places where they can hide. 

Bed bugs can survive in virtually any environment. They are typically found in mattresses but can also be found in soft furnishings like sofas and chairs.

Bed bugs come from many different places, including furniture, bedding, and even the cracks of walls. They can be spread through contact with an infected person or object or fly short distances to find new hosts.

How to find and identify bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, flat, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans, animals, and birds. It can be challenging to detect because of its size.

These parasites hide in the tiniest space possible and sometimes cannot be seen with the naked eye. Their existence can be known by finding their spotting around where they hide. Using an insecticidal spray to flush the out of the cervices can help to detect them.

What are the signs of bed bug infestation in your room?

The signs of bed bug infestation in your room are the presence of bloodstains. The presence of bloodstains is a sign that bed bugs are present.

Bed bug inside bed

They tend to bite their host with the well-developed suckers during the night. Thus, the blood can be visible the following day, proving their existence. You can also develop rashes on your body that might sting eventually.

How Long Does it Take for the Bed Bugs to Become an Infestation?

It takes about 30-60 days for bed bugs to become an infestation. This depends on how well you treated your bed before the infestation. Bed bugs have a high reproductive capacity that can cause an infestation in no time. 

It is always advised to prevent the emergence of an infestation as soon as possible. It is easy to prevent Bed bugs at an early stage. They take up the speed and spread tremendously within a short period, which causes a lot of difficulties to get rid of them.

How do you get rid of bed bugs in an apartment?

Bed bugs are a pest that can get into your apartment and infest your home. They can be found in places where people sleep, like your bed or couch, and they feed on blood, which can cause an itchy bite and even leave behind a flat, red mark. You can easily get rid of the bed bugs in three simple ways;

  • Steaming your mattress at a temperature greater than 140 degrees is ideal for killing the bed bugs
  • Using insecticides in your laundry will wash away the bed bugs
  • Diffusing essential oils in your room would kill the bed bugs

Can you have bed bugs for years and not know it?

Yes. Bed bugs can hide in several places, making it very difficult to spot them. They can go into a state of dormancy when they are exposed to unfavorable conditions. But this state is only for a few months.

The bed bugs can hide in the narrowest places possible. Thus, you can have bed bugs for years and not know it.

What are the three different types of bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny pests that feed on blood. They are not known to spread disease. However, they can be a nuisance to people who live in infested areas. When we are referring to human hosts under normal circumstances, there are three different species to be concerned about.

bed bugs on wood

While there is some overlap in the habitats of different bed bugs, it is relatively simple to narrow your options based on your location. The three types of bed bugs are;

  • Cimex lectularius
  • Cimex hemipterus
  • Leptocimex boueti

How long can bed bugs stay dormant?

Bed bugs can stay dormant for about four months. At this stage, the bed bug withdraws itself from its life cycle and enters a state of dormancy.

Metabolic activities of the bed bugs slow down and enter into a state of diapause. They can survive without feeding for about months and resume their life cycle when the conditions return.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.