What Do Bed Bugs Eat Other Than Blood?

Bed BugsWhat Do Bed Bugs Eat Other Than Blood?

Bed bugs are bloodsucking hemipterous insects that are well known for feeding on human blood. These parasites suck the blood of human beings with their tube-like mouth. But what do bed bugs eat other than sucking the blood of humans? The feeding procedure in mosquitoes and bed bugs is much similar. As noted above, the bed bugs have a tube-like mouths and they cannot take anything except liquid.

These tiny creatures feed for about 2- 14 minutes and various factors decide their feeding pattern. Bed bugs seek feed after 2-3 weeks as they turn adult. Additionally, few physical changes can be seen in a bed bug, instantly after they are done with feeding.

What Do Bed Bugs Eat & How Do They Feed?

Bed bugs have an elongated, straw kind of mouth. Hence it becomes necessary for them to feed only on liquid items. Blood is one of their favourites and it keeps them nourished and healthy for a long time.  

The process of feeding is pretty similar to other insects, like mosquitoes.  The bed bug first pierces the skin of a human with one of its pincers and injects an anaesthetic-like substance into the human to cut out the pain.  It then inserts the second pair of pincers that allow it direct access to the blood of the human.

How Long Does The Feeding Take?

The feeding process can take anywhere between 2 – 14 minutes.  The time taken for feeding depends on a number of factors.  It is obvious that younger bed bugs (nymphs) take a lesser amount of time to feed than mature bugs.

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How Often Does A Bed Bug Need To Feed?

Bed bugs and their eating ways!

Unlike humans, bed bugs do not need to feed thrice a day.  Mature bugs come out of their hiding space after every 2- 3 weeks for a feed.  They spend the rest of the time digesting the feed.

Nymphs will typically feed every other feed and significant physical changes can be observed to a nymph after every feed.  The nymphs keep growing in size after every feed.  They typically shed their skin (exoskeletons) at least 5 times before they can obtain full maturity.  This whole process takes no more than 3 – 4 weeks.

What Happens To A Bug Immediately After A Feed?

There are a few physical changes that can be observed in a bed bug, immediately after a feed.  They are:

  • The bed bug will appear to be full after a feed.  It will get rounder and fuller after a feed.
  • The skin colour of the bug will change from reddish-brown to a darker red.  This is owing to the bright red colour of haemoglobin that enters into the bug.
  • The bug will also appear to move slower than usual once it has just had a feed.  This is obvious because of the increase in body weight.

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Do Bed Bugs Eat Crumbs And Other Food?

The simple answer to this question is, No.  Bed bugs are incapable of eating or even digesting anything other than blood.  That is because their mouths are elongated and straw-like.

Do Bed Bugs Feed Only On Humans?

Though it is popularly known that bed bugs feed only on humans, the fact is that they can feed on any other mammal as well as they can feed on human beings.  So if you have pets at home, you can surely expect them to be affected by the same bed bugs that harass you.

Do Bed Bugs Eat Dead Skin Or Other Human Remain?

No, it is not possible for bed bugs to eat dead skin, hair, or any other remains of human beings other than their blood.  Human blood is required for the female bed bug to lay eggs.  It is, therefore, most likely that a female bed bug will somehow get to humans in order to lay eggs.

Can a bed bug eat another one?

No, bed bugs do not indulge in the activity of eating each other.  In fact, most insect populations do not resort to such means as it would mean the swift end of their species.  In reality, it is pretty easy for bed bugs to find prey.  

There is no dearth of humans that populate the Earth and modern times of constant movement have made it even easier for bed bugs to travel in search of food. There was a time when bed bugs were found only in tropical climates, that however is not the case anymore.

Final Words

This is one of the reasons that the bed bug population is thriving in almost every part of the globe. Their ability to adapt and grow immune to most adverse circumstances also helps them to grow and flourish.

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