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Do Bed Bugs Eat Each Other?

If bed bugs eat each other, the bed bug population in your home will naturally decrease, right?

Unfortunately, bed bugs do not eat each other, so your bed bug colony won’t shrink from this sort of behavior. They also don’t drink the blood of other bed bugs. Instead, bed bugs only feed on warm-blooded creatures, with humans being their favorite hosts. 

What Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Close-up photo of a bed bug crawling on a fabric.

Bed bugs only feast on the blood of warm-blooded animals, with humans being their preferred choice. 

They do not eat other insects, plants, trash, human food, or each other. 

Why Won’t a Bed Bug Eat Another Bed Bug?

First of all, most species don’t eat each other, or at least don’t do so regularly. 

If a creature feeds on members of its own species, it will decrease the number of potential mates it can access. 

Thus, cannibalism is bad for a species’ survival, so animals only resort to it in the worst possible situations. 

But bed bugs can’t even eat each other if they are starving and have nothing else to consume. 

One reason is that bed bugs do not have teeth, meaning they can’t chew on food to crush it up. 

So, there is no way for them to eat another bed bug or any other solid object. 

Instead of teeth, bed bugs only have a tube-like beak, similar to a mosquito, which they use to drink blood. 

Yet, they still can’t feed on other bed bugs with this appendage, even in the direst of circumstances. 

For one, bed bugs do not have the same type of blood as warm-blooded creatures, and the blood they do have doesn’t contain the nutrients that would make the meal worthwhile. 

Additionally, a bed bug’s shell is much tougher than human skin, and their beaks can’t penetrate through that hard material. 

Why Do Bed Bugs Eat Blood?

Close-up photo of a baby bed bug on human skin.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to why bed bugs eat blood or why they prefer human blood. 

Basically, all we can say is that bed bugs eat blood because they have always done so. 

Bed bugs evolved from another group of parasites called bat bugs, which solely feed on bats. 

Over time, the bat bugs realized that humans were preferable hosts, mainly because we have a lot more blood than bats. 

This change in behavior caused the bat bugs to get a taste for human blood, turning them into what we now call bed bugs. 

Yet, they can still feed on other warm-blooded animals, such as bats, if necessary. 

Several creatures evolved to eat blood, though, including leeches and ticks, so bed bugs aren’t exactly an oddity. 

Overall, scientists believe these animals learned to feed on blood because it is rich in proteins and lipids, which all creatures need to survive. 

Can I Starve the Bed Bugs in My Home?

Honestly, it is almost impossible to starve bed bugs. 

Bed bugs can live for four months or more without eating, so you would need to cut them off from a host for a long time to get them to die of hunger. 

And the chances of you starving the bed bugs in your home are slim to none. 

Bed bugs are small, about the size of an apple seed. 

They are also flat, especially when they haven’t eaten in a while. 

These two factors make it effortless for bed bugs to slip into another room without you noticing. 

Plus, bed bugs will travel long distances to find a meal if they can’t access a person. 

And as I said, they can feed on any warm-blooded animal if they need to, meaning they will eat off of pets like cats and dogs if they can. 

So, your chances of actually getting away from the bed bugs and effectively starving them to death aren’t great. 

Read Also > How Long Does It Take for Bed Bugs to Starve and Die?

Do Bed Bugs Live Together?

Close-up photo of bed bugs on a mattress.

Bed bugs usually do live together. 

Typically, if you find a bed bug’s hiding spot, you will see a whole group of them clustered around each other. 

Yet, they don’t actually make nests, like many other insects. 

They still prefer to remain together in groups, though, when they aren’t eating or looking for food. 

When Do Bed Bugs Eat?

Bed bugs usually eat at night. 

Nighttime makes it easy for the bed bugs to move around and eat from you since you are most likely sleeping and won’t see them. 

In fact, bed bugs don’t really like the light because it makes them feel exposed. 

However, they can and will eat from you at any time of the day if they are hungry enough. 

Thus, if you are just sitting or laying on an infested bed, couch, or another piece of furniture, they may come out and bite you while you’re awake. 

And you probably won’t even feel the bite because bed bugs release an anesthetic that numbs you before they insert their beak. 

Do All Bed Bugs Eat Human Blood?

Close-up photo of a bed bug on a person's skin.

The insects we call bed bugs (Cimex lectularius, Cimex hemipterus, and Leptocimex boueti) feed on human blood. 

However, there are about 90 different types of insects that are very similar to bed bugs. 

All of these insects feed exclusively on blood, but only three prefer human blood over anything else. 

Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Garbage?

Many pests are attracted to garbage, such as cockroaches. 

However, bed bugs do not consume human food as roaches do. 

Thus, there is no reason for bed bugs to be interested in your garbage. 

And because they don’t care about garbage, they don’t only infest dirty places. 

Since bed bugs solely eat blood, you can potentially find them anywhere that humans live or frequent, including bedrooms, hotels, and even bus seats. 

Do Bed Bugs Spread Disease?

Close-up photo of a bed bug on a stick with a black background.

People are used to hearing about the awful illnesses caused by other blood-sucking creatures, such as mosquitos and ticks. 

But, bed bugs do not pass on diseases to people. 

Yet, bed bug bites can harm people by giving them allergic reactions, rashes, infections, and even anemia. 


Bed bugs only eat blood and can not consume or feed on each other. 

However, unfortunately, you can’t really just starve out these insects by cutting off their supply of blood because they can live for several months without food. 

They will also do anything they can to find and feed on you, your family members, or your pets, and there isn’t much you can do to stop them.