Dealing with carpet beetles or bed bugs in your home can be an incredibly bothersome experience. To effectively tackle these pests, it’s crucial to accurately identify which insect is infesting your home. There’s no need to worry if you’re unsure about the differences between carpet beetles and bed bugs. Our comprehensive comparison guide will provide valuable insights, shedding light on all the distinct characteristics that set these two bugs apart. Stay tuned to understand these pests better and find the best approach to address your situation.

Carpet beetle vs bed bug

What is the difference between bed bug and carpet beetle infestation?

Bed bug and carpet beetle infestations may share similarities in their presence within a home, but they differ significantly in terms of the pests themselves and the treatments required to eradicate them. Bed bugs are nocturnal bloodsuckers that feed on human hosts, leaving behind itchy bites and causing distress. Infestations often require professional bed bug treatment involving the application of insecticides, heat treatments, and thorough cleaning of affected areas.

On the other hand, carpet beetles are primarily attracted to natural fibres and materials, such as carpets, clothing, and upholstery. While their presence can be a nuisance, carpet beetle infestations are usually easier to manage. Effective treatment typically involves thorough vacuuming, washing or dry cleaning infested items, and employing insecticide sprays or dusts as necessary. Prompt action and proper identification are crucial in tackling both infestations to ensure a pest-free and comfortable living environment.

Carpet Beetle vs Bed Bug

Before diving deep into the differences between the two insects, let’s take a quick look at each of them:

Carpet beetles are tiny bugs considered as a fabric pest. These insects feed on natural fibres like carpets, wool, silk, and fur. They can even chew on cotton and synthetic fabrics if mixed with wool. These bugs breed quickly, as the female carpet beetle can lay up to 100 eggs per season. They’re hard to detect as they feed in hidden places, out of sight.

Bed bugs are tiny, flat insects that feed on animal and human blood. Although you can see them with your naked eye, these bugs are hard to notice until they start causing trouble. It is because they’re about the size of an apple seed.
These insects have an incredible ability to spread between rooms in houses and hotels. They can invade and stay in luggage, bags, or personal belongings without leaving signs of their presence. Bed bugs are usually inactive during the daytime and start to go out and feed on human blood at night. However, they can adjust to your sleeping regime. That means if you are sleeping during the day, they would go out of their hiding places to feed during daytime.

The Difference Between Bed Bugs and Carpet Beetles

Differentiating between the two insects can be challenging because of their tiny size and behavioural similarities.

However, this in-depth comparison will help you identify the differences between the two bugs:

Size and Appearance

Both insects have some similarities in appearance, but they also have many key distinctions.

Carpet beetles are oval-shaped insects with a length ranging between 0.06 and 0.12 inches. They have six legs, wings, two antennae, and a hard body.
Carpet beetles exhibit various colour patterns ranging between black, brown, yellow, white, and orange.Some of these insects can resemble fuzzy worms. There are also carpet beetle bugs that look like bed bugs.

Bed bugs are six-legged insects with an oval shape and length ranging between 0.15 to 0.27 inches. They have a unique brownish-red colour. Their bodies become even redder after feeding on blood.

Some carpet beetles may look like bed bugs from a distance. If you lock at each of them closely, you’ll notice numerous differences between the two insects.

Flying Ability

Can any of these insects fly? Let’s find out!

Carpet beetles have wings they use in some stages of their life. They mostly enter houses by flying through open windows in spring and fall.

Bed bugs can’t fly or even jump. They only move by crawling at the speed of an ant.

While bed bugs can’t fly, carpet beetles fly at certain stages of their life.

Harmful Effect: Carpet Beetle Rash vs Bed Bug Bites

These bugs can hurt humans differently, as explained in the following paragraphs.

Carpet beetles don’t feed on blood or bite humans. Instead, they eat different types of materials and plants. That being said, these insects can crawl on your body while you sleep.
As a result, their hair and bristles are highly likely to cause an allergic reaction and rash to your skin. In this case, you may experience itchy skin, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
Further, they can feed on furniture, causing severe damage.

Bed bugs have a mouth that can easily pierce the skin and suck blood. That way, they bite people to feed on their blood.
If they bite you, their saliva causes an allergic reaction to your skin. Bed bugs will leave a line of small red bumps on the part of the skin exposed to the saliva.

Both insects can cause an annoying allergic reaction. However, the skin irritation caused by bed bugs results from these insects biting your skin to suck blood.
On the other hand, the skin rash and other symptoms carpet beetles can cause result from these insects touching your skin.

Laying Eggs

How do these insects spread and lay their eggs in your house?

A female carpet beetle lays from 60 to 100 yellow or off-white eggs in May and June. These eggs take between 10 to 20 days to hatch.
Beetles hide their eggs in folds of different materials, making them hard to detect.

A female bed bug can lay from 1 to 7 eggs a day. Usually, these eggs are put together in clusters and deposited in a small space.
Bed bug eggs take from 10 to 14 days to hatch.

Both insects lay a significant number of eggs at once. So, they can spread quickly and dominate your house if left untreated.

Hiding Places

To be able to treat these insects, you need to be aware of where each of them lives in your house.

Besides carpets, carpet beetles can live in the following places:

  • Closets
  • Wall cavities
  • Chimneys
  • Around indoor plants
  • Under baseboards
  • In bird nests

Bed bugs prefer areas near humans. So, you’ll usually find them in the following places:

  • Around the bed and the mattress
  • Bedroom drawers
  • Inside the clothing and bags
  • Hidden folds of chairs
  • Door and window frames

Both of the insects can hide in a variety of places. However, bed bugs tend to stay in areas close to humans.

In Conclusion

By now, you can determine whether the insect in your house is a bed bug or a carpet beetle. Bed bugs have a brownish-red colour, while carpet beetles can exhibit a variety of patterns.
You’ll find bed bugs in places highly close to humans, such as around the bed. On the other hand, you’ll find carpet beetles on carpets, other furniture pieces, or inside wall cavities.