Though they can look similar, bed bug carpet beetle pests are two very different insects. The first one is infamous for its bites while the latter is mostly known for its damage to carpets, furniture and other fabrics. It’s not a secret that these two pests can both be found in homes and can be tricky to get rid of.
They can be especially complicated to get rid of if you are not sure which one you’re dealing with or if you misidentify the culprit.
When it comes to bed bug carpet beetle identification, we have you covered. We’re going to talk about how to tell the two apart and how to get rid of them once and for all.
What Are Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are not insects but instead arachnids more closely related to spiders.
Wondering how to tell the two apart? Bed bugs are small, flattened insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts like people and animals. They are found worldwide in a variety of environments and are most active at night.
Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, they become swollen and reddish brown. Their body shape and coloration enables them to hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night undetected.
Though they are called bed bugs, bed bugs are not in fact insects. They are arachnids more closely related to spiders and ticks, which can help when it comes to bed bug carpet beetle identification
Bed bugs also don’t fly, though they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces, and they can easily spread throughout an entire home quickly. This is because a single female bed bug is capable of laying hundreds of eggs during her lifetime, meaning one pregnant female bed bug can be responsible for an entire infestation within a home.
Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 inch long and reddish-brown to mahogany in color; nymphs are smaller and lighter in color than adults. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees–instead they live in colonies which contain up to 1,000 individuals at one time. Bed bugs hide during the day within mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards of beds as well as behind baseboards, picture frames, in appliances, and even inside cracks in walls or flooring.
Though they are infamous for biting people and living on blood, bed bugs luckily don’t spread disease. However, they can cause allergies and discomfort for those with sensitivities, and their bites can be painful and itchy.
Bed bug bites are usually not felt at first. It may take 15 minutes to 2 hours for them to begin itching and several more hours for the bite marks to develop into welts. The welts may be more visible if someone has dark skin. The welts will disappear after a couple of days without treatment but they may reappear if another person is bitten by an adult female or nymph on the same spot again.
Bed bug bites are often misdiagnosed as mosquito bites or other skin conditions since they share many of the same characteristics. However, when bed bugs bite, they inject their victims with an anesthetic and an anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting while feeding. Bites usually appear in rows of three or four red bumps each (though some people experience more intense reactions), which can itch for days after being bit.
So, does a home become infested with bed bugs?
Bed bugs are incredibly common throughout the United States and they are only becoming more common, regardless of your living conditions, lifestyle, or cleanliness. They are often spread by travelers who unknowingly bring them home in their luggage or clothing (often via infested hotel rooms). Bed bugs can also be picked up on clothing or by bringing second-hand furniture into your home that has not been thoroughly checked.
What Are Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are small beetles. Their larvae feed on fabrics and other organic material.
Bed bug carpet beetle identification can be tricky, but carpet beetles are different looking than bed bugs. The carpet beetle is a type of beetle that feeds on materials made from animal fibers, such as wool, silk, and even hair. Carpet beetles can be found in homes, offices, and other buildings where woolen goods are stored.
While many species of carpet beetles can damage natural fibers, including wool, cashmere and silk, other species feed on shed pet hair and feathers. In homes, carpet beetles often appear near pets or in rooms with cat litter boxes.
Carpet beetles are common pests in homes throughout the United States. They’re attracted to homes by natural food sources such as dust mites (tiny arachnids that live in bedding and carpets), pet dander (skin flakes from animals) and dead insects found inside wall voids or attics. Once inside a home, carpet beetles may move into other areas that contain food sources – such as clothing closets – but they usually remain near where they enter the structure.
In addition to damaging carpets and fabrics, carpet beetles may cause an allergic reaction in people with sensitivities or chronic illnesses like asthma. They also produce a foul odor when crushed or disturbed.
The two pests can look similar. However, Carpet beetles are between one-fourth inch and one-half inch long, with a wing length of about 1/8 inch. They have oval bodies with short antennae and six legs. Their wing covers are usually dark to light brown with a pattern of lines and spots. Some species also have white or yellow spots on their backs.
The larvae of carpet beetles are white with brown heads and can be found in almost any room in your home. These larvae are about 1/4 inch long at maturity. The adult female lays eggs near sources of food for her young such as woolen materials or animal hair. After hatching from their eggs, the larvae eat through the outer layer of fabric before spinning cocoons for pupation into adults that emerge later in the year to start the cycle all over again.
Though both pests are commonly found indoors, carpet beetles can also live outdoors under leaves or bark. When inside, they can be found in closets, attics, basements, or other areas where woolen fabrics or similar materials are stored. They also live in carpets and upholstered furniture where they feed on lint and hair left behind by people who sit or lie down on the furniture regularly.
Bed bug carpet beetle pests are not dangerous to people or pets, but carpet beetles can be destructive to materials such as carpets, rugs and clothing stored in attics and basements.
The best way to prevent problems with carpet beetles is to keep your home clean and free of food crumbs that might attract them. If you already have carpet beetles in your home, there are several ways to get rid of them. But it’s important to first know for sure you are indeed dealing with carpet beetles and not a look-alike like bed bugs.
Keep reading to learn more.
How To Tell A Bed Bug Carpet Beetle Apart
Carpet beetle larva are small and furry, while bed bug nymphs look like smaller versions of bed bugs.
As we now know, bed bugs carpet beetle pests are two common pests that can be found in homes. If you have a pest problem, you may see one or both of these insects around your home. Bed bugs and carpet beetles can be difficult to distinguish from each other. However, there are some key differences that will help you tell them apart. Let’s talk about the best bed bug carpet beetle identification tips.
Identifying Bed Bugs
Wondering how to tell bed bug carpet beetles apart? Bed bugs are flat brownish-red insects that feed on human blood when they are dormant, usually in their hiding places during the day. They prefer to hide in cracks and crevices within your mattress, furniture or walls. They are nocturnal and usually come out at night to feed on humans as they sleep.
Bed bugs are not attracted to light like many other pests. Instead, they’re drawn to the carbon dioxide in our breath and the heat from our bodies. There are a few signs you can look for to tell if you have bed bugs. Here are some common ones:
Bites on your body or face – Bed bug bites may look like tiny red dots, but they can also lead to blisters, raised bumps, welts, or hives. These bites appear in clusters of three, sometimes around the mouth, cheeks, ankles, shoulders, neck, and arms.
A sweet musty odor in your home – Bed bugs release a strong scent when they feel threatened. This smell is similar to moldy laundry or something similar. If you notice a musty smell that’s not coming from a dirty laundry hamper or pet bedding, it could be an indicator of bed bugs.
Small red stains on your sheets and pillows – If there are small blood spots on sheets and pillowcases, it could mean you’re dealing with an infestation of bed bugs. The small blood spots are from your own blood and left behind after a bed bug has made a meal out of you.
Small black marks on your mattress or bedding – The small black marks on your bedding, mattress, or furniture may look like someone has taken a black marker and poked little dots wherever they saw fit. The truth is, these spots are actually excrement stains from the bed bugs themselves.
Identifying Carpet Beetles
When it comes to identification, carpet beetles look similar to bedbugs due to their flat shape and brownish coloration. Carpet beetle larva have four tiny tufts of hair on their backs near the middle of their bodies (which is not present on bedbugs). Carpet beetles also have wing covers that are striated with rows of fine hairs along the outer edges (again not present on bedbugs).
Small piles of fine powder (frass) on the floor or carpeting – This frass is made up of insect remains, shed skins and waste material from feeding activity by the adults and larvae of these beetles.
A musty odor – The musty odor comes from the feeding activities of these beetles on natural fibers in carpets, upholstered furniture, etc. It can also come from damaged materials that have been attacked by these insects.
Pillowcases and sheets with small holes – The beetles lay their eggs in these materials, which become the food source for their larvae. The larvae are the stage of development that causes damage to fabrics. The adults don’t eat fabric; they just lay eggs in it.
Gnaw marks on wood trim around windows and doors – The beetles chew on wood trim during the spring months when they emerge outdoors from winter hibernation as well as in late summer or fall after mating takes place indoors.
Abandoned webs in corners of rooms – These webs are used by adult beetles to protect their eggs from predators until they hatch into larvae that will feed on fabrics and other organic materials around your home during summer months before returning indoors to overwinter again. When they do return to overwinter, they may do so under insulation within walls or attics until springtime when the cycle begins over again.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Getting rid of bed bugs can be tricky but it is possible.
Now that you know how to identify them, it’s important to use the proper products to get rid of the pests. If you’re dealing with bed bugs, you’ll want to take several steps to get rid of them.
You can get rid of bed bugs in a number of ways. The most effective way is to call an exterminator, but that’s not always an option. You can also try using pesticides, natural products, and home remedies. It’s also a good idea to take some preventive measures to keep the pests away once you’ve managed to get rid of them.
Below are a few of the products we recommend.
Hot Shot Bed Bug Fogger Aerosol
The Hot Shot Bed Bug Fogger Aerosol helps to get rid of bed bugs and can work for both a bed bug and a carpet beetle infestation. Once the product is sprayed into the room, it works quickly to kill any bed bugs in its path.
The insecticide used in this product is pyrethroid, which is a powerful chemical that will kill most pests on contact. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of natural pyrethrins that come from chrysanthemums.
Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer
Ortho Home Defense Max BedBug Killer is a non-repellent insecticide specially formulated to kill bed bugs. It kills by contact, ingestion, and inhalation. This product can be used in a variety of areas including homes, apartments, hotels and motels, hospitals and nursing homes, offices, schools and commercial buildings.
The active ingredient found in Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer is deltamethrin. Deltamethrin belongs to the pyrethroid family of insecticides which are considered to be among the most effective types of pesticides when it comes to killing pests like bed bugs. When it comes into contact with these pests it will quickly kill them by disrupting their nervous system.
Eco Defense Bed Bug Spray
Eco Defense Bed Bug Spray is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating and odorless bed bug spray that kills bed bugs on contact. It is made of essential oils and other natural ingredients that are safe for humans, pets and the environment.
The spray works by killing the bugs directly through contact or by suffocation. The main active ingredient in Eco Defense Bed Bug Spray is peppermint oil, which is a natural insecticide.
Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer is an all-natural, non-toxic and pet friendly solution to get rid of bed bugs.
This product works by using the abrasive nature of diatomaceous earth (DE) to aid in the elimination of bed bugs. The DE particles are so tiny that they enter the bed bug’s exoskeleton and dehydrate them, causing death.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for many years as a food additive, abrasive and as a filtering medium. It is made up of fossilized remains of diatoms, which are microscopic, single-celled algae that have been compressed into hard rock formations over millions of years. As you’ll see below, you can use DE for both problems.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are luckily easier to get rid of than bed bugs.
When dealing with bed bug carpet beetle identification, both can be difficult to get rid of. Luckily, the carpet beetle tends to be the lesser of the two evils of the two. Bed bug carpet beetle identification can be stressful, but if you’re dealing with carpet beetles you’re in luck.
They are relatively simple to get rid of so long as you follow the proper steps and use the right products.
One of the best ways to get rid of carpet beetles is to adopt good habits. Carpet beetles are attracted to dirty areas of your home, like behind furniture, in corners or under rugs. These pests are also attracted organic materials like stored bedding and wallpaper.
It’s important to store these items properly in sealed containers that make it difficult for carpet beetles to get to the food sources inside. You can also use products like insecticides, home remedies, and natural repellents to get rid of carpet beetles once you have identified them from our bed bug carpet beetle identification guide above.
Below are several products that experts recommend when it comes to getting rid of carpet beetles specifically.
Cedar Space Cedar Blocks For Clothes Storage
Cedar Space Cedar Blocks For Clothes Storage is an all-natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative to store your clothes, linens and other fine fabrics from carpet beetles. The cedar blocks are made of high quality wood that is naturally resistant to moths and other pests. It helps keep your clothes fresh and smelling great again.
Cedar blocks come in two shapes: a cube or a rectangular shape. You can choose whatever shape you prefer because both work well to keep the moths away.
The blocks are made of 100% natural ingredients, which means they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to your health or the environment. They are also very easy to use. Just place them in a drawer or closet where you keep your clothes and linens. These blocks will only work for carpet beetles and other pests and are not effective against both bed bug carpet beetle issues.
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Insect Killer
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Insect Killer is a natural insecticide made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. The powder works by absorbing the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. It’s safe for use in food preparation areas and can be used on carpet beetles, ants and other crawling insects. If you’re dealing with bed bug carpet beetle issues, Diatomaceous Earth will work with both, as we mentioned above.
The product is useful for getting rid of carpet beetles that have infested your home as the powder can be sprinkled around the baseboards and floors of your home, or applied directly to cracks and crevices where carpet beetles are found.
Adams Carpet Powder With Linalool and Nylar
The Adams Carpet Powder With Linalool and Nylar is a ready to use insecticide powder for the control of carpet beetles. The product contains two active ingredients, linalool and nylar. Each of these materials has been shown to be effective at controlling carpet beetles in laboratory tests.
Linalool is an organic compound that is known to be highly effective at killing insects. It works by disrupting the nervous system of insects, causing them to die. It also has a strong odor that deters feeding by insects.
Nylar is an insect growth regulator that interferes with normal development of insects by inhibiting chitin synthesis in insects.
Reefer-Galler Store No Moth Closet Hanger
The Reefer-Galler Store No Moth Closet Hanger is an insecticide-free product that is designed to kill carpet beetles, as well as other pests like clothes moths. The product contains a plastic strip that you hang in your closet or pantry to help keep these pests at bay.
Reefer-Galler Store No Moth Closet Hanger is not a pesticide or chemical, but rather a natural repellent that will make your closet smell great and repel carpet beetles. It works primarily or carpet beetles and not bed bug carpet beetle issues.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bug Carpet Beetle Issues
It’s important to use preventative measures to manage and control pests in the future.
Dealing with any kind of pest in your home can be stressful, but it’s important to remember when dealing with bed bug carpet beetle identification that neither of these pests are dangerous. They also do not cause significant damage to homes unless the infestation is very severe, and they can be taken care of with dedication, good habits, and the use of proper products.
Once you have managed to get rid of either a bed bug carpet beetle problem, your next focus should be on preventing the pests from returning.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs In The Future
Bed bug infestations can be difficult to treat, due to their resistance to some insecticides. But there are steps you can take to help prevent a future infestation.
First, make sure you vacuum regularly. This is one of the best ways to prevent a future bed bug infestation, and it can even work to prevent a bed bug carpet beetle problem as well.
Remember, bed bugs often hide in seam lines and soft furnishings and below beds and furniture, so it’s important to vacuum these areas thoroughly. This will get rid of any eggs or insects hiding there, preventing them from developing into adults that can infest your home later on down the road.
Another way to prevent bed bug carpet beetle issues is by changing your linens frequently, especially if you have been traveling or visiting friends or relatives. You should also wash all clothes before putting them away as well as after they’ve been worn again, since bed bugs can hitch rides on clothing when you’re out and about at a movie or salon.
Last, make sure you check second hand furniture thoroughly before bringing it into your home. Check for signs of eggs, blood spots, or fecal marks left behind by bed bugs on furniture, and avoid bringing home second hand mattresses or furniture that may be difficult to evaluate thoroughly.
How To Prevent Carpet Beetles In The Future
There are two main ways you can prevent carpet beetles from infesting your home. The first is by cleaning up food spills immediately and vacuuming regularly to catch them before these pests have a chance to lay eggs in your carpets or clothing.
Just as with bed bugs, vacuuming regularly is another way to prevent both bed bug carpet beetle issues.
You should also control food sources by storing unused bedding properly and in airtight containers or thick plastic bags that zip lock closed for bed bug carpet beetle problems. If you have these types of materials stored in your attic, basement, or crawlspace, be sure you are storing them in plastic totes that are pest-resistant.
It’s also wise to dry items thoroughly before storing them away from sunlight and heat sources like radiators. Make sure any laundry is completely dry before storing it away from sunlight and heat sources.
Experts also remind you to maintain cleanliness throughout your home by cleaning regularly, washing properly, and removing clutter and debris where these pests could hide.
Best Habits For Keeping Both Bed Bug Carpet Beetle Pests At Bay For Good
Getting rid of a bed bug carpet beetle issue can be a process, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Make sure you keep your home free of clutter and debris, wash bedding properly, and vacuum regularly. These three good habits will help reduce your chances of having to deal with bed bug carpet beetle issues in the future.
If you do notice you’re dealing with bed bug carpet beetle issues routinely, this could be an indicator of a bigger problem. If this is the case, you may consider contacting a professional for assistance. A professional pest control expert will be able to pinpoint the root of the problem and help get rid of a bed bug carpet beetle issue once and for all.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on bed bug carpet beetle identification! Now we want to hear from you.
Do you have a better idea of how to tell a bed bug from a carpet beetle now? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.