Mosquitoes flying around

Spot the Signs of Bed Bugs in Carpet

March 12, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Few things are more anxiety-inducing than finding out you have a complicated pest problem, especially one with difficult-to-manage bed bugs. Bed bugs are persistent, hard to detect, and cause a lot of stress in a home. These pests usually make their homes in mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture, but can bed bugs live in your carpet? 

While it’s commonly known the best way to detect bed bugs is by looking at the sides and seams of your mattress, they can also live in carpeting—and if they have steady access to meals, they can remain in carpets and rugs long-term. Their ability to remain undetected while causing health and cleanliness concerns makes it critical to address bed bugs as quickly as possible. Call Hawx Pest Control the moment you suspect bed bugs, and use this guide to help detect (and prevent) bed bugs in your carpeting.

What are bed bugs? 

Bed bugs are small, oval, brown insects that live by ingesting the blood of animals and humans. Bed bugs have flat bodies and a similar in size to an apple seed. After they feed, their bodies swell and turn a reddish color. Notorious for their breeding capabilities and staying power, they often enter homes undetected and are only noticed once the problem has become difficult to manage. In the right conditions, bed bugs can fully develop in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

close up of bed bugs on fabric

What causes bed bugs? 

Bed bugs travel into your space undetected from already infected areas. They can travel in luggage, backpacks, coats, or upholstered surfaces like couches. They can also travel on people from place to place, often without being noticed. Multi-unit buildings, such as apartments and hotels, can transfer bed bugs from room to room. While there is a common misconception that bed bugs are drawn to dirty or cluttered spaces, they can thrive equally in the cleanest and neatest environments.

Are bed bugs harmful to humans?

Bed bugs are considered a public health pest by the EPA and CDC. Luckily, bed bugs haven’t been proven to transmit diseases. However, they do cause negative physical, mental, and economic consequences. They bite the skin, leaving red marks that can be itchy and cause mild to severe allergic reactions. Mental health effects have also been reported, like anxiety and insomnia.

Signs of bed bugs in carpet

Look for the following signs of bed bugs in carpeting:

  • Stains or dark spots: Rusty-colored stains on lighter carpets may be a sign of bed bugs. Stains usually occur near edges, baseboards, or dark corners.
  • Musty smells: If your carpet produces a sweet, musty scent that lingers in the room, you might have a colony of bed bugs. The scent can also smell rusty due to the oxidized iron in the digested blood.
  • Eggs and eggshells: Bed bug eggs and eggshells are very tiny but can be found if lumped together underneath the carpet or near baseboards.
  • Shells and casings: Bed bug nymphs shed their skin five times before becoming adults. They leave behind pale yellow skins as they mature.
  • Live bugs: If you spot a live bed bug, there’s likely a horde nearby. Live bugs might be found mid-travel in thick or shaggy carpets or along the edges or carpeting when attempting to move from room to room.

bed bugs living in carpet

Do bed bugs live in carpet?

They certainly can. Bed bugs are tricky to spot, but if you find them living in your carpeting, you’re likely facing a severe pest problem. 

How long can bed bugs live in your carpeting?

It depends on how close they are to a food source. Usually, bed bugs remain about six to eight feet from where they get their meals, which is why they are often found in and around bedding. If you find bed bugs in common or high-traffic areas, it likely means the number of pests has increased significantly, and they’re looking for new places to hide. 

Occasionally, bed bugs that have recently hitchhiked on clothing or upholstery will be found in carpeting on their way to finding a new hiding space. 

How to prevent bed bugs

Bed bug prevention is the best way to keep your home free and clear of these pests. Protecting yourself and your home from bed bugs is easy when you follow a few simple steps. First, remember that bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. Although they typically feed every five to ten days, fully grown bed bugs can survive several months without eating. 

To protect your home, check second-hand upholstered furniture or mattresses thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home. Use a protective cover on your mattress to keep them from burrowing through exposed seams. Reducing clutter makes it harder for bed bugs to hide, and vacuuming frequently may remove any successful hitchhikers before they settle in.

Pest control solutions

Hawx Pest Control offers a simple and trusted solution to addressing a home that has succumbed to bed bugs. We can address unwanted pests in your space, reestablishing your home as a relaxing and restful retreat. Hawx understands pest control is an ongoing challenge most homeowners face. 

We’re here to see it through with you, starting with our thorough inspections and creating a detailed follow-up or ongoing maintenance plan we develop with every customer.

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