One of the worst things a person needs to deal with during pest infestation is confusion between different bugs. A bug may seem small in size, but it can cause many problems when it starts appearing at your home. Having bugs in your home is a severe problem because it can affect your health.
There are many kinds of bugs; many bugs look like bed bugs; this will confuse people’s minds. Carpet beetle is also one of them, which is similar to bed bugs. Here you can discriminate between bed bugs and carpet beetle.
Read my Ultimate Guide om Bedbugs.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that rely on human blood.
- These are tiny creatures that you cannot see easily; it just likes an apple seed. They have a brown color, flat, and oval shape.
- They belong to Cimicidae, which is a specific family of insects.
- Bed bugs live in the cracks of bed & walls, bed frames, and headboards.
- They feed on human blood; bed bugs always suck when people sleep; that’s why they live at the bedside.
- Their bites are not so painful like a mosquito; hence, the attacked person notices the attack later.
- After bed bug bite, skin turns to red, and a dark spot appears in the middle.
- They may bite at the neck, hands, arms, and face of an individual.
- In some cases, their bites cause allergic reactions, for example, severe itching.
What is Carpet Beetle?
Most people puzzle with bed bugs and carpet beetle because both have similar characteristics.
- Carpet beetles are small and flat, just like bed bugs, making them easy to mix up.
- Most of the things are similar, but these bugs are not relying on blood.
- You can quickly found them in carpet or other similar fibers.
- The carpet beetle looks like a bed bug when they are small, but they look much different from bed bugs as they grow.
- Carpet beetles are also the same as small caterpillars rather than little worms.
- You will notice the color difference; carpet beetles look more striped with a white and brown color palette.
Are They Dangerous?
Bed bugs are signs of fear; even though they feed on blood, they have no connection with disease. The reason is that they only nest close to one person and do not flutter from human to human as mosquitos do. These bugs hide in the daytime and come out to feed at night so that you will see the spots in the morning.
People are mainly psychologically disturbed as they find bud bugs bite spots on their bodies when they wake up in the morning. However, they can be quite frightening even there is no proof of diseases coming from bud bugs. When talking about carpet beetles, it comes to your health; they are not dangerous.
Bed bugs want to have human blood and prefer to damage carpets, wool, and other material of this kind. They are not living in beds or gather around individuals; you could not see the bite marks from them. When it comes to carpet beetles, you only need to worry about your carpet because they will damage it.
Carpet beetles only break down your furniture, carpets, and all other belongings. On the other hand, bed bugs will attack your skin and health. Both bugs leave evidence of their presence on your skin but in different ways.
Bed Bug Bites
If you have bed bugs in your home, you will feel actual bites on your skin. While you sleep, they will use their saliva to feed on you, or you can say during your sleep, they suck your blood.
In some people, this may lead to an allergic reaction. You will see their bite marks in rows of three on your body. Observe the triangular pattern on your body to differentiate it from the carpet battle.
Many bed bugs feed on one person at a time; you can observe it from the skin rashes. You are dealing with actual bites, unlike the carpet beetles, so that the bed bugs do feed on human blood.
You will need to try some remedies to get relieved from itchings, such as oatmeal baths, cold compresses, or pastes made with baking soda and water. You may need to attempt antihistamines to combat the itching that goes with actual bites.
However, it proved that these bites are not harmful, and you can cure them entirely within days.
Carpet Beetle Bites
Carpet beetles may leave red spots on your body, although these are not bites. These rashes may cause an allergic reaction to the hairs on carpet beetles and traces of their blood. As you observe itching on your skin, you can conclude it’s the allergic reaction due to bed bug bites.
There is a chance you don’t see a skin reaction instantly after carpet beetles invade your home. They do not depend on human blood and might fly under the radar on the contrary.
The hypersensitive response is always the reaction of any bed bug attack, so when you begin seeing skin irritation, the infestation has most likely grown large by then. You may also feel irritation in the eyes and the respiratory tract after some time.
Many individuals get confused with bumps, whether they are the result of carpet beetles or bed bugs. The rashes are the symptoms of bed bugs bites. You may not observe the same triangular pattern with carpet beetles that you see with bed bugs.
That’s why it is essential to know the difference between both bugs in your home.
Where to Find Them?
The reason for having bed bugs in your home is not poor hygiene or dirt. You can find them in neat and clean places too.
They can quickly transfer from one place to another. They may hide in your laundry, luggage, boxes, shoes, and other items brought in from an infested area. When they enter your home, they try to stay close to you, hiding in small cracks and gaps.
Most commonly, they are present in bed parts like mattresses, springs, and folded areas. They travel very fast; bed bugs can be found in every country globally, mostly found in the 50 US states.
Places such as hotels and apartments are the best locations for bed bugs infestation because it is the most common source from which they spread all around quickly. Bed bugs may stick to you and your pets because of the warmth and carbon dioxide you breathe out.
They tend to stay close within 8 feet from their hosts. Similarly, it is not necessary that carpet beetles grow up in a dirty room they also brought in from outside your home. Most of them live and grow up outside your home, maybe hidden in flowers and plants.
Once your house becomes infested with adult carpet beetles, they come inside your home along with the flowers and plants and start laying eggs on the potential food source.
Additionally, tight spaces and cracks around your windows, doors, vents present a suitable access point for them as well.
As Carpet beetle names, they are not only found in carpets. They also can grow in your furniture and hide in your floors, attic, walls, basements, chimney, and other crawl spaces. They like to live in a place where other pests previously lived in and an indoor plant that has access to sunlight.
How They Differ in Appearance?
Both bed bugs and carpet beetles are small pests; they quickly breed undetected. You may face a pest infestation that can smoothly go out of control.
However, some early signs can gain your attention. By understanding the difference between their appearance, you will know what actions you should take to eliminate them.
- Bed bugs are ¼ of an inch in length with an oval shape and reddish-brown color.
- They have small size like an apple seed and are flat and semi-translucent.
- They can easily hide in dark, tight spaces and crevices in and around your bed. Usually, they stay dormant in the day time and come out to feed at night.
- They are flat and small; their body size increases dramatically after feeding, becoming red and swollen.
- Bed bugs are wingless, although they have wing pads on both sides of their head.
- They can move around by crawling, but they are not able to fly.
- They have big eyes that project from their heads.
- Nymphs are immature bed bugs similar to adult bed bugs but are smaller and lighter in size and color.
- Carpet beetles are also small in size, but the significant difference between them is their size.
- Carpet beetles are small, and they only reach up to 1/8 of an inch in length. Sometimes they could grow to the size of a ladybug.
- Usually, they have yellow and black colors, but black and blue are also common.
- Carpet beetles have a couple of hardened wings and another set of membranous wings. Because of wings, they can fly across the room.
- Their larvae are worm-like creatures covered in bristles, about ¼ of an inch long. The adult beetles have an antenna which divided into 11 segments and has a shape like a club. They are small and tough to spot.
Diet and Feeding Habits
A major difference between bed bugs and carpet beetles is their diet. Bed bugs feed on your blood and cause damage to your skin, while beetles only cause damage to your belongings.
- Bed bugs need a diet of blood to survive and breed throughout their development stages.
- They feed on your and your pet’s blood and cannot depend on other sources of food.
- They directly feed on the host and cannot depend on hunts for split blood. Including pressure and temperature, it is believed to be related to a mixture of factors.
- Often, bed bugs crawl out from their hiding spaces and feed on you and your pets at night within a restricted range of their nest.
- However, if they have a deficiency of food for a long time, they will break this cycle and come out to feed during day time.
- Bed bugs only feed one time in a week.
- It’s a general idea that adult bed bugs can survive up to five months without food under ideal conditions.
- However, nymphs or young bed bugs require a blood meal before each of their five molt stages.
- Female bed bugs need blood to lay their eggs.
- In this case, they need more energy, and they can feast on your blood every day because of the tranquilizer and anticoagulants in their salvation.
- A classic meal takes between three to ten minutes.
- After feeding your blood, a bed bug will crawl back to dark spots to digest the meal, mate, and lay eggs all before it comes out to feed again.
- They will move up and left a distinctive line of bites.
- They can feel your presence from up to 3 feet away.
- It happens due to the carbon dioxide you breathe out, as well as the warmth and moisture your body creates.
- However, carpet beetles like to have pollen and nectar in their diet.
- They don’t rely on blood, but once they enter your house, they expand their food, including fur, hair, silk, wool, clothes, and other fibrous material.
- Their presence leads to severe damage to your carpets, furniture, and fabrics.
- The presence of adult carpet beetles indicates the active infestation in your home.
- They avoid polyester and rayon unless these are soiled with food stains or body oils.
- Carpet beetles feed in quiet and dark areas such as closets, attics, boxes with wool, fur, and air ducts.
- They love to live at those places where they can find pet hair, lint, and other tasty bits of debris.
- Bed bugs belong to Cimicidae, an insect family that develops from egg to nymph and then to adult bug.
- Throughout their life cycle, they have the same feeding behavior and habits. They have a mouth used for piercing your skin and sucking blood.
- Bed bugs have no larvae stage because they hatch from eggs and go through a complete metamorphosis.
- They are harmless because they can spread disease through their bites.
- Carpet beetles belong to the Dermestid, a family of beetles, and have a mouth made for chewing on plants and fibrous materials.
- They do not rely on human blood, but bristles all over their larvae may cause itching when they contact your skin.
- They hatch from the larva and have complete metamorphosis as well.
- Immature beetles have different habits and food patterns as compared to adult beetles.
Following are the main carpet beetle species:
Behavior and Needs
Bed bug depends on your blood for their growth, and their behavior is based on invading, multiplying, and taking over the crevices and nooks usually around and in your bed.
They need to stay close to you and come out at night to feed while hiding in the day time. A female bed bug may lay 1 to 12 eggs a day, which adds up to between 200 to 500 eggs for a lifetime.
After hatching, a young bed bug goes through 5 nymphs stages until they reach adulthood. In this whole procedure, they become darker and larger until they reach maturity in two months. Depending on the conditions, bed bugs have an average lifespan of 4 months to over a year. Carpet beetles do not rely on humans for their survival; they will not bite you but cause skin itching and infection.
Having bugs in your home is a common problem. If you are waking up with an itchy rash and red spots on your skin or notice that a pest is damaging your carpet and furniture, then you are facing a bed bug or carpet beetle infestation. When you think about pests crawling, the first thing that comes to minister some problems is your cleaning routine. However, having beetles and bugs are not a sign of poor hygiene as they are mainly brought in from the outside. It is important to differentiate both bugs so you can determine the right action and the best possible ways to deal with the infestation.