Carpet Beetles vs Bed Bugs: How to Tell The Difference Between the Two

carpet beetle on fabric

Bed bugs are well-known insects that every homeowner dreads finding in their home. But they aren’t the only tiny insect that can infest your furniture. Carpet beetles are often confused for bed bugs because of their size and similar habitat, but the main difference between the two is their diet. While you don’t want either of these pests in your home, being able to tell them apart is key in getting rid of them. Keep reading to learn how to identify bed bugs and carpet bugs.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. Once they get into your house, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. While bed bugs do not transmit any serious diseases, they can cause allergic reactions in certain people. Knowing how to identify them and where they live is key to controlling and eliminating bed bugs. 


Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped, wingless, and about the size of a watermelon seed. 

They have a brownish-red appearance and their bodies are flat when they haven’t eaten. The immature nymphs look identical to the adults except for their smaller size and lighter yellowish-white color.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs typically enter the home by hitching a ride on furniture, luggage, purses, clothes, or other items made of cloth or fabric. Once inside the home, they can multiply at a rapid pace and spread to other rooms or units within the same building. They are typically found in the bedroom where they can have easy access to blood.

Common places to find bed bugs are:

  • Seams of mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Headboards
  • Behind dressers
  • Behind wallpaper

Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs may be hard to spot during the day, but one of the easiest ways to know if you have a bed bug infestation is by noticing bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other part of the body. Once you think you have bed bugs you can check for other signs including:

  • Exoskeletons after molting
  • Bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets
  • Rusty–colored blood spots on mattress, pillows, walls, or furniture
  • Egg shells
  • A sweet musty odor

Carpet Beetles

One of the most destructive insects that can invade your home is the carpet beetle. These pests can cause severe damage to carpets, bedding, and upholstered furniture. They are known to be very destructive in museums, warehouses, or where other food sources are stored. Carpet beetles only cause damage when they are young. Adult carpet beetles feed on flower pollen and are not destructive. 


Adult carpet beetles grow up to 4mm long and have oval-shaped bodies with a striped shell of black, white, and yellow or orange. Their eggs are a white or cream color and an adult can lay more than 100 eggs at a time which can hatch anywhere between 10 days and a month. 

What Causes Carpet Beetles?

Like bed bugs, carpet beetles can enter the home through infested furniture or through an open door or window. Adults are attracted to fabric and animal products such as furs or rugs so they can lay their eggs. If left unchecked, carpet beetles can easily take over your home.

Do Carpet Beetles Bite?

Carpet beetles do not bite like bed bugs do. They are scavengers that feed on dead animals and animal products such as:

  • Wool
  • Leather
  • Silk
  • Hair brushes
  • Pet hair
  • Feathers
  • Fur

Signs of Carpet Beetles

Adult carpet beetles love to be in the light and can be found near window sills and lighting fixtures. Larvae, on the other hand, live in dark areas. So if you see an adult beetle, you should definitely inspect dark areas of your home. 

Here are the signs of carpet beetles: 

  • Thin, bare areas on wool products. 
  • Damage to clothes, blankets, etc. 
  • Hairs falling out of furs. 
  • Shed larval skins 
  • Tiny beetles on walls or dead in window sills. 

Main Difference Between Carpet Beetles & Bed Bugs

Bed bugs and carpet beetles are both small insects that can get into your home. The main difference between them is that bed bugs feed on human blood, while carpet beetles eat plants and other fibrous materials. Carpet beetles can fly and have a shell that looks like a ladybug that protects its wings. Bed bugs cannot fly and rely on hitching rides on other objects to get into your home. 

Bed Bug Prevention 

  • Inspect Your Bed & Furniture: Check the seams of the mattress, pillowcases, and box springs for signs of bed bugs. Always check your bed when visiting a hotel or renting a home.
  • Wash All Clothing After Vacations: Make sure to wash all clothes, including new clothes, on high heat to kill any bed bugs or larvae.
  • Don’t Leave Clutter On The Ground: Clean up piles of clothes and other clutter where bed bugs might hide.
  • Vacuum Regularly: Bed bugs can live in other areas of your home such as carpets and furniture. Vacuuming regularly can help pick up these stray bugs and prevent them from multiplying.
  • Check Your Pets Beds: Your pets are one of the number one ways bed bugs can get into your home. Check and clean your pet beds regularly. 

Carpet Beetle Prevention

As with other destructive pests, the best way to avoid a carpet beetle infestation is through prevention. Be sure to dry-clean or wash your clothes before storing them for long periods of time. 

  • Vacuum Your Floors: Vacuum weekly, paying close attention to hidden areas such as those under furniture or in dark corners
  • Use Natural Deterrents Like Peppermint, Clove, & Vinegar: Place cotton balls with essential oils and natural ingredients such as peppermint, cloves, and vinegar.
  • Boric Acid: Boric acid is lethal for carpet beetles. Sprinkle lightly and evenly on your carpets, rugs, and furniture. Let it set for a couple of hours, then vacuum the area well.
  • Steam Cleaning: The heat and moisture kill beetles and eggs.
  • Set Glue Traps: Glue traps placed strategically can capture adult beetles as they move around your home. 

Professional Pest Control Solutions

If you feel like your pest problem is out of control, the best thing to do is call a professional exterminator to tackle the problem. The professional pest control providers at the bugman have the knowledge and experience to deal with bed bugs and carpet beetles and make sure they don’t come back into your home. Give us a call today at 714-406-4949 for expert advice!

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