Bed bugs! Their name is quite deceiving.Mainly, you’ll find these pests living in beds and suck human blood. But, can bed bugs live in carpet?”
The simple answer is, YES, bed bugs can live in the carpet and other dark locations. This is particularly common in the gap between the carpet and baseboard and edges of the carpet behind your furniture. The carpet is a great spot for females to lay eggs.
So, let’s get started!
Can Bed Bugs Live in Carpet?
Bed bugs prefer hiding in locations where it is easy for them to bite on a host (here’s how to remove the bed bug bite scars) and slip back into hiding without being noticed. So, apart from your bed, bed bugs will also hide in your carpet.
This is especially possible where your furniture presses against the wall leaving dark corners beneath. They also hide below the carpet and the spaces between the carpet and baseboard or the wall.
If you have an infestation, you’re likely to see bed bugs at the edges of your carpet behind the sofa set, cupboard or bed. In case you don’t see live bed bugs, their eggs or carcasses in these places are a clear evidence of their presence.
When bed bugs inhabit your carpet, they can create a very big challenge for pest eradication. Sometimes they get entangled in the fibres of the carpet and become extremely hard to locate.
1. Bed Bugs Are Very Swift
Despite their inability to fly, bed bugs can move very fast from one room to another by crawling on the walls, floors and ceilings.
If you have some bed bugs in your bedroom or in an old sofa that you brought home, they will easily find their way into your carpets.
2. Carpets Have Dense fibers
Some carpets have a dense network of fibres. This creates an ample hiding place for bed bugs and for female bed bugs to lay their eggs.
Thus, if a few bed bugs get into your carpet, they might soon develop into an infestation.
3. Bed Bugs Are Always Hunting For a Host
Bed bugs will not wait until you go to bed for them to have a blood meal – causing anemia, itching and allergy from the bed bug bite. That means, they will follow you wherever you go.
As they traverse across the floor to look for a host, there are chances that many bed bugs will find their way in your carpet.
Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs in Carpet?
Bed bugs will lay their eggs in the same places they inhabit. Since these pesky creatures hide and live in your carpet, you will also find their eggs here. However, you may not be able to see the eggs with your naked eyes since they are very small and translucent.
Again, bed bugs won’t travel very far from their source of food. So, apart from your bed, bed bugs will find safe havens in your carpet where they’ll hide and lay eggs. The eggs are usually coated with a sticky substance that makes them stick on any surface.
Do Bed Bugs Crawl or Fly Across a Carpet?
Unlike insects, bed bugs won’t fly or jump around the carpet. They can only crawl through the carpet to get to you. Although they might get slowed by thick carpets, they usually have a way of getting through.
When you sleep on the couch or stay too late in the living room, bed bugs will travel from their hideouts and across the carpet in order to feast on your blood.
How to Inspect Your Carpet for Bed Bugs
Once bed bugs get into your house, they won’t go looking for specific places to hide. They can live anywhere in the house as long they have access to their favourite meal.
So, if there’re signs of bed bugs in your house, the best thing to do is to inspect all possible hideouts. Below is a guide for inspecting your carpet for bed bugs.
1. Inspect Space between Carpet and Baseboard or Wall
The mostly likely place where bed bugs will hide is the space between the carpet and the baseboard or wall. You can use a flashlight to look through the small gap. Even better, you can run your credit card through the space to ambush the bed bugs.
If there’re bed bugs inside, you’ll see them coming out in haste scampering for safety. In addition, dead bed bugs and debris might also come out from these spaces.
2. Check Underneath the Carpet
To check what’s underneath the carpet, lift one of the corners away for the floor and the baseboard. While holding the corner in place, look keenly for any bed bug movement, carcasses, feces, eggs or other debris.
If that corner of the house is dark, use a flashlight. Bed bugs may drift away into hiding, with the slightest flip of the carpet. However, if you see their carcasses or feces, you should be sure that bed bugs are living here.
3. Inspect the Debris in Vacuum Cleaner
You need a bagless vacuum cleaner for this exercise. Starting off with an empty canister, vacuum all your carpeted room thoroughly. Dump the debris outside and vacuum the house again especially along the edges of the carpet.
Now, the contents of the canister are little debris which can be easily differentiated. If there’re indeed some bed bugs in your carpet, you will see them scampering for safety.
4. Inspect Carpet, Behind Sofa, Cabinets or Bed
The part of carpet that is tacked behind sofa sets, cabinets or beds is very dark, meaning it is a safe haven where bed bugs can hide and breed. To inspect this place, you’ll need some extra muscle to move things around.
If you’ve bed bugs in your carpet, then this part of the house could be harbouring a host of them. Some will be on the carpet and others on the furniture just close to the carpet.
Related: Spiders Eat Bed Bugs
How to Remove Bed Bugs from Carpets
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a safe, affordable and easy to use powder that can be conveniently used to get rid of bed bug in carpets. It’s a natural ingredient mined from decomposed organisms known as diatoms.
The microscopic diatoms in the diatomaceous earth are sharp fragments which can easily penetrate into the body of insects including bed bugs. Once in contact with the bed bug’s body, DE powder gets through the exoskeleton and dehydrates the insect of its internal fluids causing it to die.
To use diatomaceous earth, apply a thin layer on the top side of the affected carpet and along the space between the carpet and baseboard. The substance works within a few hours but you can allow a few days to enable more bed bugs to interact with it.
Vacuum the carpet to remove the dead bed bugs and the remnants of the powder. If you have a large infestation you may have to apply the powder several times.
I recommend using only food grade DE powder because it is safe around your kids and pets.
2. Borax Powder
Another effective treatment for bed bugs in your carpet is the borax powder and boric acid. It kills bed bugs in a mechanical action like the diatomaceous earth powder. Once in contact with the bed bug, it rips the outer shell and gets inside. This dehydrates the insect, eventually causing it to die.
To use borax powder on bed bugs, sprinkle a sufficient amount on the carpet and the space between the carpet and the baseboard or wall. This will ensure that bed bugs that hide under the carpet get into contact with the powder as they come out.
Vacuum the carpet after a few days to remove dead bed bugs and the remains of the powder. As a precaution, do not use borax powder around kids and pets since it can cause skin irritation.
3. Heat Treatment and steaming
Treating your carpet to certain temperatures will kill bed bugs together with their eggs. One advantage of this treatment is the ability of heat to penetrate anywhere bed bugs may be hiding.
Heat treatment will kill bed bugs even in the gap between your carpet and baseboard or wall. However, heat treatment comes with high cost for equipment and energy used.
For this reason, you need the services of professional pest exterminators who will utilize specialized equipment to treat your carpet.
Heat treatment involves raising the temperature inside the house to levels which bed bugs, larvae and their eggs cannot survive. Before the treatment, all individuals, pets and everything that is sensitive to heat should be evacuated.
4. Steam Treatment
Steam treatment can effectively kill bed bugs and their eggs when used with a carpet shampoo and a compound that kills bed bugs. The compound of choice should however not react with the cleaning agent or stain your carpet.
You need a heavy-duty steamer for this task. This treatment utilizes at triple action to kill bed bugs, larvae and eggs. These bed bug Steamers will be a great addition to your DIY store.
Apart from the steam and the compound, bed bugs will be crushed to death by the physical movement of the steamer brush.
Related: Bed bug Predators
5. Vacuuming Bed Bugs From Carpet
Can I use a vacuum cleaner to remove bed bugs in my carpet? This is a common question that I encounter as a pest eradication expert.
Well, while vacuuming can help reduce the number of bed bugs in your carpet, it will not give you a permanent solution to the problem. However, vacuuming can help you achieve the following:
- Remove clusters or groups of bed bugs in a short time.
- Minimize the use insecticides in heavily infested areas that may require several treatment cycles.
- Remove bed bugs that are resistant to insecticides
- Remove isolated bed bugs.
- Eliminate bed bugs in cluttered or hard to reach places.
- Convenient removal of bed bugs from areas where it is not safe or practical to use insecticides.
- Clean the area of dead bed bugs, feces and other debris to allow easy inspection for bed bugs or proper use of insecticides.
The effectiveness of vacuuming depends on the extent of the bed bug infestation. If the infestation is severe, vacuuming will only reduce the number of bed bugs.
If no chemicals are used alongside vacuuming, new infestations will develop shortly afterwards. Thus, most pest exterminators use vacuuming as a supplement to other bed bug control methods.
A vacuum cleaner can’t just suck all bed bugs or even dislodge their eggs for your carpet. There are high chances that many bed bugs will be left on your carpet and will continue reproducing.
Even so, vacuuming is a great remedy for bed bug control. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best results when vacuuming your carpet.
- Make use of a handheld vacuum cleaner with a powerful suction. A special attachment can be used to suck the bed bugs that hide along the space between the carpet and the baseboard or wall.
- The brush of the cleaner should press gently on the carpet. Pressing too hard might brush bed bugs off the carpet without sucking them.
- You can sprinkle some diatomaceous earth powder on the carpet so that the bed bugs are picked up together with the powder. DE powder will kill the bed bugs when they mix up in the attached bag or canister.
- When you’re done, take the vacuum cleaner outside and make sure no bed bug escapes through the hose. Remove the vacuum bag carefully and seal it in an airtight plastic bag for later disposal.
- If you’re using a bagless vacuum cleaner, put the debris in a plastic bag and damp them in trash. The canister should then be cleaned with hot water and soap to kill any remaining bed bugs and their eggs. Care should be taken not to short circuit the electrical components.
- For better results, regular vacuuming is inevitable. Usually bed bugs will cluster in their usual favourite locations. These are the areas to concentrate on during subsequent vacuuming. Plus you can keep checking your carpet regularly for any signs of bed bugs.
- Experts recommend using vacuum cleaning in conjunction with heat treatment, freezing or steaming to eradicate bed bugs. This improves the overall effectiveness of your vacuuming efforts.
- To minimise infestation, keep your house free from cluttered stuff. Bed bugs take advantage of this mess to hide and breed.
Related: Roaches Eat Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can get in your carpet and give you a hard time to eradicate. However, with the above remedies, you can easily get these pesky insects out of your carpet.
These include diatomaceous earth, borax powder, heat treatment, steam treatment and vacuuming.
I recommend using a combination of these remedies to eradicate bed bugs and prevent future infestation.