Bed bugs are a nuisance. Actually, they’re more than that; you could probably call them a plague. They follow you home from wherever it is that you’ve encountered them, then hide before you can notice the problem. Most likely, you’ll have no idea the bugs are there until you wake up with bites on you. And by that time, they’ve spread and multiplied. They hide in places like mattresses, box springs, armchairs, clothing on the floor, even cracks in the wall. Another place you’ll find them is in your carpet. Fortunately, there’s a way to combat these pests and take control of your life again.
Is There a Difference Between Carpet Bugs and Bed Bugs?
Even though bed bugs can live in your carpet, it doesn’t mean that any bug you’ll find there is one of them. Another insect that likes to hide in carpet is known as the carpet beetle.
The carpet beetle has the following characteristics:
- Unlike the bed bug, these beetles can fly.
- They’ll get into your home through windows, cracks in doors, or sometimes up through drains.
- While bed bugs generally stay within a fifteen-foot radius of their victims, carpet beetles can live anywhere in your home. You’ll find them in bedrooms, couches, and even your pantry.
- A carpet beetle’s diet consists of pollen and nectar, while bed bugs like to feast on blood. Sometimes, the beetle’s will eat food from your pantry.
- Bed bugs will bite you, causing red, irritating, raised bumps on your skin, usually found in clusters. Carpet beetles rarely crawl on you, but if they do, they can also cause bumps. But these aren’t from bites; they’re caused by an allergic response to the insect’s body. Generally, bumps from a carpet beetle will be in a straight line – the path they’ll take while crawling across your skin.
You don’t just want to pick bed bugs out one-by-one, you need to kill them.
Can bed bugs live inside carpet?
Carpet isn’t the ideal place for a bed bug to hide, but they absolutely can live in it. And the longer the carpet fiber, the more likely it is that they’ll be there. A shorter carpet only proves to be harder to conceal themselves in, which means they’ll probably find somewhere else to be. The downside to having bed bugs in your floors is that they can be spread out over a larger area than somewhere like a mattress.
Using carpet tape to detect them
Carpet tape is usually used in the installation of carpeting. It’s double-sided and will be stuck to the subfloor with the carpet layer laid on top of it for extra adhesion. It’s incredibly sticky, and is also used to stick area rugs to hard floors like wood or tile. Another use it has is to catch insects.
What you’ll need to do is lay down strips of carpet tape around the infested room. You can put them in lines, or maybe around the perimeter of all furniture. Ideally, you’ll want to create a barrier around your bed, since that’s where they are sure to travel at night. Put carpet tape around all sides of your bed, as well as around each leg of your bed frame. You can even line the side boards/rails, headboard and footboard of the bed with the tape.
Bed bugs will have to crawl across this tape to get to you, and will get stuck in the glue, unable to move anymore. Once you find any, you’ll want to throw the tape away in an outside garbage can and reapply more in its place. Even if you don’t find any, put a new layer on every 3-4 days, as the glue can dry out over time and be less effective.
You’ve found tiny bugs on your dog, but aren’t sure if it’s fleas or bed bugs. So what do you do? More details about bed bugs on dogs can be found here.
How to Remove
Even though you might not be able to see them, especially considering they can be the same color as your tan or brown carpet, you can get rid of the bed bugs in your floors. The most effective way is by vacuum.
- You’ll want to use a vacuum with at least 110 volts, to ensure enough power to suck the bugs out that are deeper into the fibers.
- Run the vacuum slowly over your carpet, getting every inch of the room and going over it at least twice. You may also want to take a crevice tool and run it where the carpet and baseboard meet, as bed bugs can easily hide there.
- A vacuum with a bag and HEPA filter are preferable, as some bugs can survive a trip through the suction. With a bag, you can take it off and seal it right up with the insects inside it. A canister is something you’ll have to reuse, so you’ll need to empty it into a garbage bag immediately and take the bag to the outside can. Then, soak the canister in hot soapy water.
There are also products you can put in your carpet to rid your home of bed bugs, which are effective and a good way to control the infestation.
The best products for the job
There are many products you can get your hands on that will do the job of getting rid of bed bugs.
Here are just some of your options:
- Diatomaceous Earth: This white powder is soft to the touch, but on a microscopic level, is a sharp crystal. Sprinkle it into your carpet and leave there for a couple days. When bed bugs crawl over it, it cuts up their exoskeleton, damaging them and drying them out to the point of death. Something great about DE is that it’s non-toxic to humans and pets.
- CimeXa Insecticide Dust: This powder is made up of pesticides that kill the bugs lurking in your carpet. Something that sets it apart is that it’s effective against pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs (a pesticide that is becoming more and more ineffective against these insects).
- Bed Bug Bully Spray: The ingredients in Bed Bug Bully kill bed bugs using all-natural means that won’t harm people or pets. Spray liberally around the room, and make sure you do a spot test on your carpet first, to make sure it won’t stain it.
Killing Bed Bugs in Your Carpet
You’d think that just stomping all over your carpet would get rid of any bugs hiding there, but it won’t. Bed bugs can hide deep into the fibers where they’re padded against most foot traffic – it’s amazing how sneaky they can be.
You’ll need to get a trusted product such as a spray, powder, or vacuum that’s been shown to kill bed bugs. And don’t forget about consistency – it will take multiple applications over a few weeks to get rid of all of them.
Sometimes you just don’t want to use anything with chemicals. Although pesticides and insecticides are good ways to kill bed bugs, all-natural methods work, too. Learn more about home remedies for bed bugs here.
Using carpet cleaning as a method
Something else that’s similar to vacuuming is carpet cleaning. Washing your carpets doesn’t use as much suction as a vacuum might, but it will kill bed bugs in a different way.
One way it destroys the bugs is through heat. Use very hot water or steam in your cleaning process and the intense heat will be enough to kill. Another way carpet cleaning is effective is through the water it uses. Mix soap or bed bug killing solution in with the hot water, and it will wash over any bugs hiding deep in the carpet fibers, killing them or dislodging them. Lastly, the cleaning machine can suck up bugs that have become loose from the water or heat.
Steps to get them out of your carpet
Once you make the unfortunate discovery that you’ve got bed bugs, do some research, then immediately take action.
- Choose a method: Maybe you’ll start with vacuuming and see what happens, or perhaps you want to combine more than one method together. Whatever you choose, make the decision quickly so that you can start right away.
- Get the product: Go out and get a strong enough vacuum if you don’t already have one. Purchase the spray or powder you’ll need. Hire a professional carpet cleaner or rent your own cleaning machine.
- Take your time: Make sure that you go over every square inch of carpet to ensure the best outcome. Don’t rush, and be consistent with re-application.
When you’ve got bed bugs, don’t forget about carpets. Just like your bed, it can harbor the annoying little pests and give them a place to hide until your asleep and they decide to attack you. Also, they’ve got to crawl across it to get to you in most cases, regardless of where they hide in the room (unless they stay exclusively in your bed and never, ever leave it). In almost every instance of bed bugs, carpet is a big deal, and should be given the same amount of care as the rest of the home.