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How Long Can Bed Bugs Stay Dormant?

Picture of Adult Bed Bug on Human Hand for Scale

Bed bugs, like most other insects, possess a behavioral characteristic that allows them to enter into a hibernation-like condition called diapause that enables the insects to go dormant.

The Purpose of Diapause:

  • Slow down the bed bug’s metabolism.

  • Conserve energy and enable them to resume their normal behavior when environmental conditions are again conducive.

Bed Bugs Generally Do Not Go Dormant Because:

  • Homes and businesses are environmental conditions both bed bugs and people find conducive.

  • Environment has warm temperatures without extreme variations.

  • Controlled humidity.

  • Favorable place to take meals and a place that provides shelter and protection.

  • Where bed bugs have available hosts and a source of blood, they may rarely, if ever, go into diapause.

A laboratory study that is decades old showed bed bugs being dormant for about 500 days; however, that is not typical since bed bugs in a natural setting will attempt to consume a blood meal rather than remain dormant for such a long period.

More recent studies related to bed bugs and dormancy showed cooler temperatures inhibit bed bug activity when the temperature in their habitat is below approximately 60° Fahrenheit.

Cold Temperatures & Bed Bugs:

  • Bed bugs are resilient to cold temperatures and adults may survive for up to a year without feeding and nymphs up to three months without taking a blood meal.

  • Even when dormant, cold temperatures reach a point where bed bugs do not survive.

  • Studies have generally shown that bed bugs do not survive temperatures of 0° Fahrenheit for more than four days.


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