Yes, bed bugs can indeed live in carpets. In fact, if you have bed bugs in your home, there’s probably some hiding in your carpet.
Bed bugs are annoying pests because of their itchy bites, which can wreak havoc on your home. However, you need not worry as we have compiled a comprehensive article on everything you need to know about bed bugs living in your carpet.
This post will explore why bed bugs live in carpets and how they get there. We’ll also explore some warning signs to watch out for a bed bug infestation in your carpets and measures you can take to remove them. So, without further ado, let’s get cracking!
Can Bed Bugs Live Under My Carpets?
There are numerous misconceptions about bed bugs. For starters, most people assume that bed bugs are purely nocturnal. For this reason, they believe bed bugs only crawl up your bed during the night or emerge in rooms you frequently visit during late-night hours.
However, that’s not accurate. You can get a bed bug infestation in any room of your home or apartment. They can also inhabit non-residential buildings, such as offices, theaters, laundromats, etc.
Bed bugs will also come out to feed anytime they feel hungry, even if you’re awake and can sense their presence on your skin. As with any other insect and animal, hunger is their main drive.
Another common misconception is that because the bugs are known as “bed” bugs, they only live in beds. While it’s true that the bed frame and mattress are ideal breeding grounds, these bugs will probably inhabit anywhere that provides them easy access to their food (i.e., your blood).
With this understanding, you should know that bed bugs can easily adapt to any condition. Other than the heat they don’t like, these bugs can easily outsmart you if you don’t know about their behavioral characteristics.
So, there’s nothing strange about bed bugs opting to live on your carpet. This might be a carpet inside your bedroom or in another room of your house, such as the living area.
How Did Bed Bugs Get Into My Carpet?
The most reasonable explanation for bed bugs in your carpets is that they were on the move in search of a new host.
To begin with, bed bugs are great hitchhikers. These sneaky little creatures will easily hitch a ride on unwary travelers like yourself.
For instance, if you visit a friend or hotel room whose bed has a bug infestation, it’s easy for some to cling to your clothing. You’ll hardly realize them because they hide in your clothes and fabric folds. Once in your house, the bed bugs will find a way to make themselves home on your carpet.
Unfortunately, it’s not just through travel that bed bugs can infiltrate your carpet. Bed bugs are notorious for their knack of crawling through tiny crevices, gaps, or cracks in floorboards.
Also, bed bugs can crawl onto your carpets as a way of trying to get closer to where you are. For instance, if you’re relaxing on the couch, watching TV, or reading a book, any buds hiding in your mattress or nearby furniture can sense your presence.
Your body heat, the chemicals in your sweat, and the carbon dioxide you breathe out all serve as draws for these bugs. These pests will emerge from their hiding spaces as you lie there and creep close to you.
Furthermore, perhaps you’ve noticed some bugs in your mattress or bed and decided to remove them. While shifting furniture and bedding, some bed bugs can scatter and find their way into your carpet.
It’s like some hide-and-seek game that you don’t want to play. Once tucked in the carpet, these bugs can find new hiding areas, lay eggs, and develop into a full-fledged infestation.
Why Have Bed Bugs Infested My Carpet?
The most common culprit is actually having bed bugs in your bed. Bed bugs will infest the most comfortable area, and somewhere they can easily access food, which is your bed.
As the bugs multiply, they’ll seek more areas to lay their eggs. Because they cannot fly, they crawl across walls or floors where your carpet is which is as good a habitat as your bed.
Your carpet is a large stretch of plush fibers that create a cozy environment. Bed bugs can easily move through these fibers, seek hideouts for the better part of the day, and prey on unsuspecting victims at night.
Besides, carpets offer great camouflage for bed bugs. With their reddish-brown bodies, these pests can blend in with the carpet’s color and patterns, rendering them difficult to spot.
The warmth of your carpet is another draw for these bugs. Bed bugs move toward heat sources as it helps them find their hosts. Carpets lie on the floor, which means they can retain heat and offer a great habitat for bed bugs to thrive.
Once bed bugs are in your carpet and floors, they can also make their way into adjacent walls where treatment is a bit more difficult.
How Do I Know If My Carpet Has Bugs?
Like most bugs, bed bugs always leave a trace in their habitats. Therefore, if you suspect a bed bug infestation on your carpet, here are some key warning signs you should watch out for.
Live Crawling Bed Bugs
The most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation in your carpet is spotting the bugs themselves. These tiny, reddish-brown bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed and have a flat, oval shape.
Since they are especially hard to spot, you should closely check the threads of your carpet, particularly along the edges and near furniture. You should also flip over the carpet and check the underside of your carpet.
Look out for any clusters or movement of these pests. They’re always quick to hide, so make sure the inspection is thorough.
Bed bugs emit a distinct, musty odor. It’s often compared to the smell of wet, moldy clothes or overripe raspberries.
If you detect this unpleasant smell near your carpet, it’s time to inspect for a bed bug infestation. These bugs release this odor from their sweat glands, and it becomes more noticeable once the infestation is severe or there’s a high concentration of these bugs.
Bed Bug Eggs and Egg Shells
When bed bugs infest your carpet, they’ll leave behind traces of their reproduction. Carefully look for tiny, pearl-white eggs and translucent eggshells. These eggs and eggshells are often on the carpet fibers and along floor baseboard cracks.
Bed bugs usually lay their eggs in clusters, so watch out for many cramped eggs. They are adhered to surfaces with a sticky substance that makes them hard to remove.
These eggs are a ticking time bomb of an even larger infestation. So, if you identify them on your carpet, you must act quickly to curb the infestation!
Young bed bugs, known as nymphs, pass through 5 molts before adulthood. These bugs shed their exoskeletons with every molt to accommodate their developing exoskeletons.
These discarded skins leave behind molted casings. These casings are pale or brownish-white in color and serve as a telltale sign that bugs have infested your carpet.
You’ll often find these molted casings along the edges of your carpet or close to their hiding areas.
Bed Bug Stains
Once bed bugs feast on your blood, they leave behind reddish-brown stains on the carpet. These stains might appear like smears or tiny dots, often found on the carpet’s edges or crevices on the floor.
If your carpet is brightly colored, you can also check for bloodstains. These stains occur once you accidentally crush the bugs when moving items or stepping on your carpet.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs cause itchy bites. They often have a darker spot in the middle and are arranged in a cluster or rough line. This should be your warning sign if you experience such bites every time you’re near your carpet.
How To Get Rid of Bugs in My Carpet?
If you have detected a bed bug infestation in your carpet, there’s no need to panic! There are a lot of ineffective methods like using salt, but there are also a lot of methods that can be effective. Here is a guide to the best measures to get rid of bug infestation in your carpet.
Vacuuming should be the first step in removing bed bugs from your carpet. While vacuuming alone isn’t going to remove all the bugs, it removes a huge chunk of all active bed bugs, their eggs, molting, and feces.
Before vacuuming, ensure you declutter the room of anything that can harbor the bed bugs, such as blankets and mattresses. We advise using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to avoid allergens from the bugs’ waste and discarded skins from infiltrating the air and back into your carpet.
Also, ensure the vacuum cleaner you use has a sealable bag that you will use to dispose of everything.
After vacuuming, you can use a steam cleaner to kill the bugs in your carpet. However, for a steam cleaner to be effective, you will have to use extremely high temperatures, unlike with a carpet shampooer.
Be careful when steaming around the carpet’s edges and wooden cracks to ensure heat penetrates and destroys all the bugs. We advise flipping the carpet and steaming the underside for this technique to be highly effective.
Ideally, vacuum and steam clean your carpet severally for 1-2 months, even if you assume all bugs are gone. Remember, it only takes one mature bug to begin an infestation.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Go for diatomaceous earth if you would like a safe, natural alternative for destroying bugs. This insect repellant eliminates bed bugs by dehydrating them and destroying their exoskeletons.
Diatomaceous earth is available in powder form. So, you can spray it over the infested areas of your carpet, both before and after vacuuming.
Unfortunately, diatomaceous earth does not destroy bed bugs immediately. It may take up to 2 weeks for the bugs to die.
After application, leave your carpet for about a week and observe the results. Place the carpet in a room with little foot traffic to avoid moving the bugs.
Use Heat Treatment
If you unsuccessfully try the abovementioned techniques, your last resort should be using heat treatment. This technique entails raising the temperature of the affected room to a level lethal for bed bugs.
Heat Treatment effectively eliminates bugs in the carpets and any other areas they might be hiding.
The only downside is that it’s slightly expensive, and you might need a series of treatments. It also requires special equipment that only a pest control specialist can offer. Besides, you must remove any heat-sensitive equipment from the room.
How To Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your Carpet?
After you have dealt with the bugs, the final step should be ensuring that these pests cannot get back onto your carpet. Here are the best tips to keep bed bugs out of your carpet.
You should regularly vacuum your carpet to remove any bed bugs that might survive your treatments. Regular vacuuming also ensures you don’t give the bugs enough time to bread and thrive in your carpet.
Inspect Your Luggage Whenever You Travel
Most individuals pick up bed bugs during travels, particularly those involving hotel stays or public transport. So, if you are traveling, inspect your luggage before entering your home.
Besides, avoid unpacking the luggage immediately or placing it on your carpet. If feasible, you can unpack the luggage outside the home and clean it thoroughly before placing it inside the house.
Use Mattress Protectors
Also, consider using mattress protectors on all your mattresses to reduce creases and seams. If the bugs cannot infiltrate your mattress, they probably won’t find a way to your carpet, and it is also easier to spot them.
This goes double for air mattresses, especially after you’ve traveled.
Avoid Second-Hand Furniture
Second-hand furniture is cheap. Unfortunately, it’s not always free of bed bugs. Most individuals dispose of their furniture if they realize that they’re bedbug-infested or put them up for sale at a discounted price.
Therefore, avoid second-hand furniture as much as possible. However, if you purchase it, thoroughly inspect it for bedbugs, their molting, and eggs before bringing it into your home.
Seal the Cracks and Holes
If you have an old carpet or bed, it probably has some cracks and holes. You should seal these crevices to avoid providing bed bugs with a potential habitat. While you can use numerous DIY techniques to cover these spaces, calling in a professional is best.
Declutter Your Home
Clutter offers hiding spaces for bed bugs. Keep your living areas organized, constantly discard unused items, and reduce clutter in areas such as storage, basements, and closets.
Yes, bed bugs can live in carpets, particularly if you have an infestation in your bed. The warmth and cozy nature of carpets offer great hiding spots and breeding grounds.
Therefore, you should remain cautious and always be on the lookout for any warning signs of these annoying pests. Even if you don’t find anything, ensure you adopt all the preventative measures highlighted above to keep your carpet and home bedbug-free.
However, if you find some bugs in your carpet, you can try vacuuming, steam cleaning, diatomaceous earth, and heat treatment. If these solutions fail, contact a renowned pest control professional to help eliminate the bugs.