Bed bugs leave a trail of panic and anxiety wherever they go. But what about their often-confused doppelganger the carpet beetle? Carpet beetles are one of several bugs that look like bed bugs – they’re roughly the same size, have similar habits and can even cause welts.
If you’ve found tiny beetle-like insects in your furniture, bedding, fabrics or skin, it’s worth reading on to identify which pest you have. While neither is desirable, bed bugs pose a significant health threat and can cause major damage to your home.
Bed Bug vs Carpet Beetle: The Differences
The most significant difference between the bed bugs and carpet beetles is that carpet beetles don’t bite, and bed bugs do. Bed bugs need blood to grow and reproduce. Like a mosquito, a bed bug will stick its elongated nose into your skin and extract your blood. This usually leaves red bite marks that can itch.
If you’ve heard of carpet beetle bites, they’re simply an allergic reaction to the hair on the larva’s body. Carpet beetle larva are covered with spiky hair bristles, similar to a fuzzy caterpillar. When they crawl over some humans who are allergic, these prickly hairs can cause a reaction that looks like a bite.
Instead of blood, carpet beetle larvae eat organic matter in the form of wool, fabric, carpet, leather and feathers. They are voracious for their size and capable of damaging rugs, garments and upholstered furniture. Their path of destruction continues until they are able molt enough times to become an adult. Once a carpet beetle becomes an adult, it shifts its diet to pollen.
In addition to dietary differences, bed bugs and carpet beetles look different:
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped and reddish brown or tan in color. Their bodies are flat and about the size of an
apple seed. The don’t have wings and are not able to fly. They are nocturnal and prefer quiet dark areas like under mattresses.
Carpet beetles are also oval shaped but are black, brown, white or orange and often have a molted pattern. They have wings and can fly to new locations. Adults are attracted to windows and areas of light.
Signs of Carpet Beetles vs Bed Bugs
Here are the most common early signs of bed bugs or carpet beetles you might see in your home:
- Beetles flying or climbing walls
- Damaged carpet, upholstery, clothing
- Hairs falling out of trophy animals
- Larvae and larvae skin sheds
- Dead beetles in windowsill
- Blood stains on sheets or pillowcases
- Rust colored stains on bed and furniture
- Egg casings
- Skin sheds
- Musty Odor
How You Get Carpet Beetles vs Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs and carpet beetles often travel in similar ways. Both are hitchhikers that latch on to clothes, luggage or furniture in order to find new feeding grounds.
Bed bugs are notorious for travelers. They crawl into suitcases or purses and then spread through airports and hotels, ultimately arriving in your home. They will lay eggs and produce nymphs (baby bed bugs) that continue the cycle of feasting on your blood and creating more bed bugs.
Carpet beetles sometimes hitchhike. They also lay their eggs in food sources like carpeting and blankets. An adult might fly in through and open window or door and deposit the next generation in your bedroom. Carpet beetle nymphs will devour your carpets and fabrics until they reach adulthood and then fly off in search of pollen.
If You Think You Have Bed Bugs
If you’re concerned that you may have bed bugs in your home don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional. Diagnosing the problem as soon as possible can save you money, furniture and peace of mind.
We’re happy to identify your bug infestation and discuss with you the possible courses of treatment. We even have a K9 bed bug unit dedicated to sniffing out bed bugs in any location.
Bed Bug Treatment Options
Bed bugs don’t like extreme heat or extreme cold. If you want to quickly kill the bed bugs you find on your clothes or bedding, put the contaminated items in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.
If your infestation goes beyond a few tainted items, there are several options for full home bed bug treatment:
Conventional treatment involves a combination of steam treatment, HEPA vacuuming and pesticide injection for cracks and crevices.
Thermal treatment is a completely non-chemical green option that essentially “bakes’ the bed bugs in your home by using forced air heaters to raise the temperature to an uncomfortable level.
Offsite fumigation is an option in which we take your contaminated items to our offsite facility for treatment. It allows for a more efficient method of removing bed bugs from personal items.
A pest control professional can assess the size and nature of your bed bug infestation and then recommend the appropriate method of remediation.
New York Bed Bug Identification and Control
We have an arsenal of tools and a crew of experienced professional to deal with your bed bug or carpet beetle problem. Call or contact Assured Environments today to make sure your home is pest free tomorrow.