Can Bed Bugs Live In Carpet? – What You Need To Know

​​How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Carpet

It’s not a scenario that anyone wants to deal with, but it happens. Picture this. You wake up with bites several mornings in a row, and one day you find a bed bug infestation in your home. As you search the house for the colony so you can begin treatment, you find bed bugs in your carpet.

Yes, it’s true that bed bugs can live in carpets.

Is there an easy way to get rid of bed bugs living in carpets? The good news is that you have a few different options to choose from. I’m going to show you how you can beat these pests and get your carpets back.

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Do Bed Bugs Bite Dogs

Will Bed Bugs Choose To Live In Your Carpet?

We tend to have a lot of misconceptions about bed bugs. Here are a few myths you should know the truth about. First, bed bugs are not strictly nocturnal. Thinking that they are nocturnal can lead you to make the mistake of assuming they will only form colonies in your bedrooms, where you tend to be when you sleep at night, or in rooms you frequent during the dark hours.

That is not the case. You can get a bed bug infestation in any room of your house or apartment. They’ll even take up residence in well, non-residential buildings, like theaters, laundromats, and offices.

Now you know that they aren’t afraid of daylight, here’s a second myth that is related. Some people assume that because they are called “bed” bugs, they prefer to live in beds. Although it is true that the mattress and bed frame are extremely popular places for bed bugs to live and lay their eggs, they are just as likely to pick anywhere else that gives them cover and access to a meal (i.e., your blood).

Bedbugs hiding out on the bottom of an old shoe - CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

It is completely probable that bed bugs will choose to live in your carpet. This could be the carpet around your bed, or carpet in any other room of your home.

Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs In Carpet?

Anywhere that bed bugs hide is fair game for laying eggs. If the bugs have made themselves at home in your carpets, then their eggs are there too. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to see bed bug eggs if they are in your carpet. They are smaller than a sesame seed and translucent. It would be extremely difficult to identify them, as well as tell them apart from other small carpet debris.

CC Image courtesy of British Pest Control Association

Just know that if adult bugs are hiding there, the eggs are there.

Will Bed Bugs Travel Across A Carpet To Feed?

Bed bugs are not the best when it comes to getting around as an insect. They can’t fly or jump, so they are stuck with crawling. The short answer, however, to whether they will travel across your carpet to get to your bed or other furniture is yes. Thick, plush carpet may slow them down, but if that is where they are living, it is because they have access to a meal from there. 

Bed bugs are not confined to just your bedroom, either. Be sure to check your couch, office chair, or anywhere else you or your family regularly inhabit within the home.

Just because bed bugs are not living in your bed does not mean they aren’t visiting the bed at night. The same goes for any other room. If you read, sew, paint, or play video games in the living room every evening, bed bugs may travel across the carpet and climb furniture to reach you while you are sitting in one place.

CC Image courtesy of louento.pix

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Carpet

The good news is that you can get rid of bed bugs in the carpet. Using a variety of methods in combination is the most likely way to get rid of all living bugs and their eggs. Note, also, that getting rid of the eggs is important. Otherwise, you’ll just have a new infestation once the eggs hatch.

Here’s what to do.

Vacuum

The first step in clearing bed bugs from the carpet is to vacuum up as many of the pests as you can. Know that vacuuming alone is not going to get rid of the bed bugs, but it is a good first start that will leave less mess from dead insects when you move on to the other methods.

Before you vacuum, remove any clutter from the room that could harbor bed bugs. Any blankets or stuffed animals that can be removed from the room and washed should be. It’s also a good idea to check behind furniture and move large pieces out of the way before treating carpets. Otherwise, you could miss some of the bugs.

This is NOT how your room should look during an infestation. Keep the area tidy to minimize potential hiding places.

When you vacuum, be sure to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent allergens from bed bug waste and molted skins from getting into the air or back in your carpets. It’s also important to use a HEPA vacuum if you will be treating the carpet with diatomaceous earth, which is a treatment discovered further on in this article.

After vacuuming, double-bag the contents and dispose of them outside the home immediately. If you are using a bagless vacuum cleaner, empty the contents into a sealable bag and put that into a second sealable bag before disposing. Then decontaminate the dust chamber by rinsing it with boiling water and allow it to dry before reinserting.

Steam

In addition to vacuum cleaning, you can use a commercial steam cleaner to kill bed bugs. Note that this is not the same as a carpet shampooer, which does not get hot enough to destroy the bugs and their eggs. A good plan of attack is to rotate between vacuuming and steam cleaning the carpets multiple times. You should continue doing this for a few months even after you think the bed bugs are gone. It only takes one adult bug to start up a pest problem again.

Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs


The right technique can make a difference in how effective this treatment is. When you steam the carpets, go slowly, allowing the steam to penetrate each area for a while. Also be sure to take extra time steaming around any edges or wooden crevices because these are the places where bed bugs are most likely to hide.


Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural silica substance that is mined from the earth and made up of the skeletons of tiny fossilized aquatic creatures. You can use food grade diatomaceous earth, only food grade, to safely neutralize bed bugs.

Your best bet is to sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the carpet before you vacuum. This way, some of the diatomaceous earth gets into the vacuum with the bed bugs. Because bed bugs have a harder time surviving when exposed to this silica substance, there is a smaller chance that bed bugs will escape the vacuum when you use this method.

Use Heat Treatment

If you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with the above treatments, you can try a whole room heat treatment. Heat is a known way to kill bed bugs, and doing this will get rid of bed bugs in the carpets, as well as anywhere else they may be hiding. The main problem with this treatment method is that it is expensive, and you will likely need to have it done more than once to be completely effective at removing all the bugs and eggs.

Heat treatment requires special equipment and safety precautions, so you will need to contact a pest control professional to have this treatment scheduled. During the treatment, the temperature of your entire house is raised. This method is safe as long as people, pets, and heat-sensitive belongings are removed prior to treatment.

Professional Bed Bug Heat Treatment

Heat treatment only gets rid of bugs that are currently inside the home, so you’ll need to follow prevention tips to stop your home from becoming infested again.

Preventing Future Infestations

Once you’ve dealt with bed bugs, you won’t want to go through all of this again. Prevent your home from picking up these pests again with a few tips.

●           Inspect any used furniture before bringing it into your home.

●           Seal mattresses in protective covers.

●           Reduce clutter and hiding spaces.

●           Seal up cracks and crevices.

●           Vacuum often to pick up any bugs that might have gotten in before they reproduce.

Call An Exterminator

Of course, keep in mind that you don’t have to tackle your pest problem alone. Exterminators can help you find the best treatment regimen for your particular bed bug problem. They will probably be more expensive than treating bed bugs yourself, but it may be worth it to have the piece of mind that a professional is doing all that can be done to get these pests out of your home.

Summary

Yes, bed bugs get into carpets, and it’s a pain to rid your floors of these pests. The good news is you have several options for treating bed bugs in your carpet, including some very inexpensive treatment strategies like using diatomaceous earth, vacuuming, and steam cleaning. For the best results, use multiple strategies in combination, and work to prevent future transfer of bed bugs once you’ve successfully treated your home.

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