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How Long Can Blood Sucking Insects Live Without Blood?

Insects have a range of dietary preferences. Some feed on plant nectar, some prefer eating other insects, and then there are those who drink blood. We usually notice these bugs when we’re left with red and sometimes itchy bumps. Though they need blood, some species can survive for a while without feeding. Check out how long blood-sucking insects can live without blood.



Mosquitoes have no problem spoiling your outdoor fun. These bugs are notorious for leaving you with red, itchy bumps after biting you. Mosquito species vary in size and color. In general, they all have long, thin legs and a proboscis. They range in size from 3-9mm and are covered in tiny scales. Though all mosquitoes have a bad reputation, only female mosquitoes actually bite us. They use the protein in your blood to help produce eggs. Mosquitoes are grouped in three categories depending on how much blood is needed to produce eggs. Anautogenous mosquitoes have to have blood to produce each batch of eggs. Facultative mosquitoes can produce one batch of eggs without feeding, but any other batch requires blood. Obligate autogenous don’t need any blood to produce eggs. Since female and male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar and water, they don’t actually have to have blood to survive. They typically will live for 1-2 months.

Bed Bugs

Bed bug

Bed bugs love to sneak into small spaces and hide. These bugs have a flat, oval body and don’t have any wings. They are small bugs that usually grow between 4-5mm. Bed bugs are normally brown but after feeding their body can have a red tint. They also will enlarge after a blood meal. Both male and female bed bugs require blood meals. These bugs feed on humans and can cause small, red bumps. These can sometimes become itchy and swollen. Though bed bugs need blood, they are able to survive without it for several months. Bed bugs can go 20-400 days without a blood meal. The environment they are in plays a role in how long they will last without feeding. If they are living in a location with average room temperatures, adults can survive 3-5 months without eating. If the temperature is cooler, they can live even longer.


Tick on plant

These bugs have a habit of catching a ride on you and your pets after a day outside. Ticks vary in color based on their species. They can be brown, reddish-brown, and sometimes have a gray hue. After feeding, many ticks develop a red tint and will swell in size. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but they will latch onto fur or clothing when a potential host walks by them. All ticks require blood meals to survive. The length of time they can go without a meal depends on the lifecycle phase they are in and the species of tick. Black legged tick larvae can live for less than a year without a blood meal. Nymphs will survive for 2 seasons and adults can live for about a year. American dog tick larvae can live up to 540 days without feeding. Their nymphs can survive for 584 days and adults will live for 2-3 years. Brown dog tick larvae can survive for 8 months and their nymphs can last up to 3 months without a blood meal. Adult brown dog ticks can live up to 18 months without feeding.



When our furry family members start scratching, we start worrying about fleas. These bugs most often feed on cats and dogs. However, if they are in need of a host, they will feed on humans. Flea bites can result in red, itchy bumps. Fleas are wingless and have a flat body. They are roughly 2.5mm in length. They have a reddish-brown, shiny body that is covered in tiny hairs. Their shape allows them to move easily through the fur of their host. These bugs may not be able to fly, but their long legs provide them with excellent jumping skills. Flea larvae feed on organic debris, but adults require blood meals. Female fleas won’t be able to lay eggs until after they have had their first blood meal. After their first meal, they will be able to produce 50 eggs per day. Fleas can survive about 100 days without feeding.


Blood-sucking bugs may seem like the villain in a horror movie, but they can be a real problem. When they invade your yard or home, it’s necessary to find a quick and effective solution to avoid a serious infestation. If these blood-suckers are giving you a fit, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.

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