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How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs or Carpet Beetles

Bed bugs are commonly mistaken for carpet beetles, another common minuscule insect. To tell them apart it’s best to look at their larvae: Bed bug larvae look like little worms, while carpet beetle larvae look like miniature fuzzy caterpillars.

Bed bugs and carpet beetles also have very different behaviors that help to set them apart:

  • Carpet beetles devour fabrics like carpet, wool, and other natural materials. 
  • Bed bugs breed and live in mattresses or in and around beds.
  • Bed bugs feed on blood and leave red, itchy bites on people. 
How to tell if you have bed bugs or carpet beetles

Carpet Beetle vs. Bed Bug

When just looking at these two insects, it’s easy to see why they’re so often confused for one another. They are both oval-shaped and tiny in size, making it hard to see them unless you are using a magnifying glass. Carpet beetles vary in color, have short antennae, and are typically smaller than bed bugs. 

Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, flat, and the size and shape of an apple seed. You can also see their eyes up close, while it’s hard to see eyes on carpet beetles. The biggest difference is in each specimen’s larvae: Bed bug larvae look like longer, thinner worms while carpet beetle larvae can be mistaken for tiny fuzzy caterpillars.

Do Carpet Beetles Bite?

One of the main differences between these pests is the fact that carpet beetles do not bite. Bed bugs are infamous for their bites, which happen at night and can leave a victim with red, itchy marks. This is because bed bugs feed on blood. Carpet beetles do not, but they have been known to cause bumpy itchy rashes from the fibers on larvae. These symptoms are often confused for each other, and it’s important to seek medical attention if symptoms become serious.

Identifying Bed Bugs or Carpet Beetles in Louisiana

Although these two pests may look a bit similar and cause similar symptoms, but they are quite different. Bed bugs are much more feared than carpet beetles because they pose more of a threat to your household. If you are having difficulty identifying which pest you are dealing with, it’s recommended to enlist the help of your local bed bug control experts.