If you see an insect in your bed, you may have one of a couple of reactions. First, you may freak out at the sight of something unexpected in your bed. You may also be angry that a bug is there, and you may want to get it out as soon as you can.
Carpet beetles are more likely to be in thick carpet next to a bed rather than the bed itself but can crawl on a bed. Adult carpet beetles are reddish-brown, and they have an oval shape. Meanwhile, their larva is yellow-brown and white with prickly hairs.
If you think you have a carpet beetle in your bed, you should try to rule out other insects, like bed bugs. Having an infestation of bugs isn’t fun, so if you see one, you can take the proper action to avoid getting more. Consider how to identify carpet beetles and other insects so that you can contact a professional for help.
Signs of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are small and annoying, and it can be easy to confuse them for another insect. Adult carpet beetles are shaped like ovals, and their color is a mix of red and brown. They might also have a speckled appearance. The larvae are a mix of white and yellow-brown and have what look to be hairs sticking out of them giving them a bit of a soft, prickly sort of distinction.
Even if you don’t see a carpet beetle, you may notice that they’ve been feeding on plants in your bedroom. Meanwhile, the larvae can feed on various fabrics and leave holes and other problems. They especially prefer fabrics that come from animals, including silk, wool, and leather, and they also enjoy feeding on down pillows.
Carpet beetles love to congregate around areas of pet or human hair, and some of them may also feast on plant-based fabrics. Seeing a carpet beetle can be startling, especially in your bed. But before you do anything about it, you need to make sure it’s not another common insect.
One insect that carpet beetles are frequently mistaken for is bed bugs. Let’s take a look at how to differentiate them below.
Signs of Bed Bugs
It can be very easy to mistake carpet beetles for bed bugs and vice versa. Dark spots and red stains underneath or on your mattress are signs of bed bugs as the dark spots are their excrement, and the stains appear if you crush them. You may also notice tiny eggs or eggshells, which are signs of a new generation of bed bugs (its not a good sign).
Live bed bugs are just thicker than a dollar bill and they aren’t as round as carpet beetles. Even more so, bed bugs of all ages feed on humans rather than fabrics like carpet beetles
Bed bugs thrive in various places, and they can hide in small corners and under furniture. They’re also more active at night, but they can go out during the day. In reality, their sleep schedule will generally coincide with that of their host (YOU).
If you think you have carpet beetles, you should compare the signs you have to those of bed bugs because beetles may not be the issue.
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My Experience With Carpet Beetles
Keeping it short, I had carpet beetles after I thought for the longest time that I had bed bugs. I grew up in a rural area of Upstate, NY, but since have moved around a bit with one spot being an apartment in a beautiful, but older house.
Once I moved into that apartment, I noticed that I was getting bit / had these weird bumps occasionally (but not every night) on the back on my neck, legs, etc, whenever I was sleeping.
Over the next few months, I had a constant battle with trying to find this mystery bug. At first, I had actually found the shell of a carpet beetle inside one of my windows in my room, found one on the back of my couch, and even found some droppings!
Relieved to have found the culprit that was antagonizing me – I called up a professional, big brand pest control service who convinced me that carpet beetles won’t get into your bed during your sleep and that it HAD to be bed bugs.
I was reluctant because there would have been SO MANY bed bugs if that were the case. However, I let them come and paid them a good chunk of change to inspect my home for bed bugs. They didn’t find anything and told me that they would have to bring in another expert to search for a different insect but if I wanted to pay, I could have them spray for spiders (which that’s not what it was).
Long story short, I didn’t spray for spiders.
Instead, I did 3 things:
I worked with my landlord to have the place sprayed with general insecticide from a local professional source, purchased this SafeRest Mattress Encasement Cover that seals your mattress entire mattress and purchased these Eco Pest Bed Bug Blockers just in case it was carpet beetles OR bed bugs OR whatever else could have been in the mattress / crawling up the bed to play it safe.
Please understand that this Is what worked for me. ALWAYS consult a professional about steps you should take and stand true to what insects you think are invading your home.
Unfortunately / fortunately, I did all of these at once so there isn’t one real way to tell which one worked. The spray definitely did some heavy lifting, along with the mattress encasement. Essentially, if there was anything in my mattress like a bed bug, it wouldn’t be able to get out.
Conversely, if there were carpet beetles living in my shag rug next to my bed and crawling on my blanket/mattress, the bed bug blockers would be the defense for that as carpet beetles, like the bed bugs, wouldn’t be able to pass the blockers.
Luckily for me, things worked out. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what bug was causing me all this trouble. The only thing I know is that I found carpet beetle evidence and took action
Other Common Bugs
Sometimes, you may not have carpet beetles or bed bugs, but it could be another common insect thats invading your room.
Other bugs to check for include mites, ticks, and cockroach nymphs. Without prior knowledge, a lot of these insects can get confused with one another. Don’t worry though, that’s why we’re here.
- Mites (with the exception of dust mites) like to bite humans, so you may mistake them for bed bugs. However, they won’t feed on fabrics like carpet beetles do. If you have a bite, you should determine if it is from a mite or a bed bug.
- Many ticks are black, but they can come in different colors, like red, which can make them look similar to carpet beetles. It also doesn’t help that they have the same round bodies.
- Young cockroach nymphs look red, so they can be very similar to the look of carpet beetles. They won’t bite humans, but they can turn into cockroaches if you don’t control the infestation.
If you’re unsure if you have a carpet beetle or another bug in your bed, you should consider the signs. Consider whether or not you have any bites on you and if there’s any damage to your sheets or furniture. Once you know what the problem is, you can take the proper action to get rid of the issue.
Should You Get Rid of Them Yourself?
After you determine that you have a carpet beetle in your bed, you may want to get rid of it immediately. However, finding one and taking it outside won’t always solve the problem. As with a lot of insects, where there’s one carpet beetle, there are probably more nearby.
Noticing a carpet beetle is the first step to getting rid of an infestation, and it’s important. But even if you want to find any others and get rid of them, avoid the temptation. Here’s why:
The most likely course of final action is going to be that you end up getting your home or apartment treated with some form of insecticide. Sure, you can get the physical products I mentioned earlier, but ultimately, you will need to have your apartment sprayed.
This is why you should do your research, find evidence of carpet beetles living in your home, and call a local professional.
Unless you’re a professional yourself, it’s recommended that you contact an exterminator to handle carpet beetles. They will be able to confirm your suspicions, and they have the right tools for the job. A professional can tell you what types of carpet beetles you have, and they can inspect the more common hiding spots to find more beetles.
Benefits of a Professional
You may be positive that you have a carpet beetle in your bed, and you may be able to check-in small corners for others. However, there will most surely be spots that you will miss inspecting that a professional will see.
Even if you’re confident you can get rid of carpet beetles and keep them from coming back, a professional offers multiple benefits.
When you hire someone, you don’t have to worry about getting into tight spaces. You won’t have to use chemicals yourself or attempt to make home remedies that may not always work. Even if you aren’t scared of bugs, you don’t have to be the one to touch them.
Consider a few ways that a professional can help you if you think you have a carpet beetle near your bed.
Know the Signs
Professionals know all of the common and not-so-common signs of carpet beetles. They also know how to differentiate carpet beetles from other common pests. You don’t have to have all of the signs to have a carpet beetle infestation.
So, having someone who knows what to look for can help you figure out the problem. The professional will also know how and where to look for any nests or groups of carpet beetles. Then, they will know which areas to treat so that you can prevent more beetles from coming.
And since professionals have experience with different types of bugs, they can tell you for sure if you have carpet beetles or some other species. That way, you don’t have to waste time or money treating the wrong problem.
Professionals also have special tools and equipment that they can use to treat your bug problem. You can find homemade sprays and other remedies online, but they aren’t as effective as professional treatments.
At-home fixes can take longer, which gives the carpet beetles more time to reproduce. The more carpet beetles you have, the harder they can be to get rid of. Even though professional services can cost money, they can save you a lot of time and stress surrounding your infestation.
No one likes the feeling of knowing there are bugs in their home. Even if you only see one carpet beetle, it can be stressful to think more are on the way. When you call a professional, you can have them use treatments that work quickly and efficiently.
Sure, you may want to stay with a friend for a day or so. However, you won’t have to worry about seeing new carpet beetles each day for weeks. That reassurance can be enough to make professional services worth it.
Importance of Prevention
Once you contact a professional and they come to fix your carpet beetle problem, you should do what you can to prevent another outbreak. Consider a few ways to minimize your risk of attracting carpet beetles.
- Keep your home as clean as you can, especially around carpets and other fabrics.
- Store animal-based fabrics in bins or drawers so that carpet beetles can’t get to them. An air-tight bin is best, but other storage methods work.
- Check regularly for any signs of carpet beetles around special fabrics and carpets.
Preventing carpet beetles can help you avoid going through the treatment process in the future. By keeping things clean and storing fabric properly, you can reduce the chances of having more carpet beetles.
To Wrap Things Up
Finding any bug in your bed can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t know what it is. However, if you know the signs of carpet beetles and other common insects, you can contact a professional for help. Then, you can get the treatment you need to solve your bug problem.
Ridge, G. E. (2010). A HOME OWNER’S GUIDE TO HUMAN BED BUGS.
Ahmed, A. R., Moy, R., Barr, A. R., & Price, Z. (1981). Carpet beetle dermatitis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 5(4), 428-432.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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