Your bed is the unlikeliest place where the carpet beetles and their larvae want to be.
But there are several factors that draw these pests to your bed.
This guide will reveal why on earth are you seeing carpet beetles in bed.
And the failproof steps to get rid of them from your bed.
Let’s get into it.
Carpet Beetles In Bed Is A Sign Of Carpet Beetle Infestation
Carpet beetles on your bed and other soft furnishings like carpets, rugs, and couches is a fallout of a carpet beetle infestation in your house.
Carpet beetle infestation begins when the adult carpet beetles enter homes during the spring to lay eggs.
The female beetles lay their eggs in your home in three areas –
- Inside the wall voids with dead insects
- Stored food grains in your kitchen pantry
- Furnishings and clothing made from natural fibers
All the above can be a source of carpet beetle infestation in your house.
Adult female carpet beetles want to make the lives of their larvae the easiest.
So, they deposit their eggs on the food source of the larvae.
Outdoors, the adult beetles will lay their eggs in dead insects.
It’s because the carpet beetle larvae feeds on the carcass of dead insects.
If there are dead insects stuck in the wall voids, and in places like attics and basement, then the adult beetles will deposit their eggs in them.
They also lay their eggs in stored foods in your kitchen pantry and products made from natural fibers like wool, silk, cotton, leather, fur, and feather.
The carpet beetle larvae, a tiny dark brown worm with orange-ish or tan stripes and hairy bristles, feed on these things too.
It’s the carpet beetle larva that gets onto your bed if your bedsheets or pillow covers are made from those natural fabrics.
However, if your bedsheet is dirty with food stains and crumbs, it’ll also attract the larva because the larva also feeds on stained portions of sullied fabrics.
The adult carpet beetle isn’t a damaging pest. Their larvae is.
The larvae cause damages by chewing on the fabric and leaving behind threadbare holes.
They can also leave behind their fecal deposits and shed skin on the fabric and stored food.
The poop and molted skin of the larvae in the stored food can contaminate the food.
Do Carpet Beetles Live In Bed And Mattress?
Unlike bed bugs and bed worms, carpet beetles don’t live in your bed.
If you’re seeing an adult carpet beetle in your bed or bedroom, then it’s a sign that either they’re looking for a place to lay eggs, or the larvae have matured into an adult inside your home.
But if you’re seeing the carpet beetle larva on your bed, then things are a bit different.
It’s scavenging for food on your bed, especially when your bedsheets and pillow covers are made from natural fibers.
It also feeds on human hair and on the stained portion of dirty fabric.
Their search for natural fabrics can make the larvae get inside closets and dresser drawers.
And the larva will certain damage your clothes and fabric in these places.
How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles In Your Bed?
To remove carpet beetles in bed, it’s vital to clean the rugs, curtains, draperies, upholstered furniture, shelves, and clothing storages in your bedroom.
It removes their food sources and the possible carpet beetle eggs and larvae.
On top of that, you’ll also need to take the following steps.
Wash The Bedsheets And Pillow Covers In Hot Water
If there are carpet beetles in bed, then it’s a sure sign that there are things on your bed that are attracting them.
So, the first thing that you must do take all the bed linen and wash them in hot water.
Dry them in the highest possible heat which is safe for the fabric.
Hot water will kill all the carpet beetle larvae and also deep clean the bed linen.
If the bedsheets and pillow covers are made from expensive natural fabrics like silk, then it’s better to get them dry cleaned.
Scatter A Desiccant Like Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth
Desiccants like boric acid or diatomaceous earth work wonders to kill the carpet beetle larvae on the bed.
Sprinkle any one of them on the bed mattress and wait for a couple of hours.
The sharp particles of these desiccants penetrate the exoskeleton of the larvae and absorb the bodily fluids.
That leads to the larva’s death.
Use A Vacuum Cleaner To Clean The Bed And The Mattress
Vacuum clean the mattress to remove any dead larvae and the powders you’ve used in the previous step.
Ensure that you clean the mattress seams and undersides of the mattress too.
The headboard, bed frame, and footers can have cracks, where the carpet beetles might hide.
So, clean them too.
You can also use a steam cleaner to clean the mattress.
Steam cleaners not only deep clean, but also produce heat that the carpet beetle larva can’t withstand.
And steam cleaners are a great handy tool to even remove bed bugs from the beds and mattresses.
Seal Any Cracks On The Bed And Bedroom
The cracks on the bed can be hiding places for the carpet beetle larvae.
Caulk those cracks with a quality silicon-based sealant. These sealants are tough and bugs can’t chew through them.
Also, look out for any crevices or voids in the bedroom’s walls, furniture, floor, and ceiling.
These places are the sources of carpet beetles larvae inside the house.
The adults will lay their eggs on any dead insects stuck in these voids so that their larvae can feed on them.
If you find any cracks on those places, seal them too.
Use An Essential Oil On Your Bed To Keep Bugs And Carpet Beetles Away
Essential oils, like peppermint or lavender, repel bugs. The strong smell of these compounds are too harsh of carpet beetles.
But for most humans, the scents of essential oils are pleasant.
There are essential oil sprays that are readily available that you can use straight out of the bottle.
You can also prepare your own spray by mixing 5-7 drops of your chosen essential oil with water in a spray bottle.
Use the spray on your bed twice or thrice a week to keep the carpet beetles away.
You can also use a mixture of white vinegar and water to repel carpet beetles.
Keep Your Bed Clean
Carpet beetles larvae love dirty bed linen. The food crumbs and sweat stains on the bed attract the larvae.
So, keeping your bed clean goes a long way to keep the larvae away from your bed.
Replace the bed linen and pillow covers with fresh and washed sheets and covers every week.
And most importantly, refrain from eating on your bed.
Eating on your bed causes food stains on the bed linen, and the food crumbs also fall on the bed.
That attract a host of bugs, including ants and roaches, to your bed.
Do Carpet Beetles Bite?
Both adult carpet beetles and their larvae don’t bite human and pets.
But there’s a catch.
The hairy bristles on the carpet beetle larvae can trigger allergic reactions in the form of itchy welts and red skin rashes.
That allergic reactions on the skin is called as carpet beetle skin dermatitis.
The shed skins of the larvae can also get suspended in the air and can be a big risk for asthma patients.
Carpet Beetles Vs. Bed Bug Infestation
Carpet beetles in bed can send you in panic mode because you might think they’re bed bugs.
Both are oval and of similar sizes.
But there are significant noticeable differences between the two.
Carpet Beetle Identification
Adult carpet beetles grow between 1/8 and 3/16 inches in size.
The black carpet beetle, which is the most common type of carpet beetle, is shiny black with hard shell.
There’s a visible pair of short antennae and they’ve got yellow legs.
The varied carpet beetle, which is a brown beetle with white spots, and also known as the skin beetles, is also oval-shaped.
These beetles are young carpet beetles. With age they mature into black beetles.
Both black and varied carpet beetles have a humped shape. That’s the critical difference between carpet beetles and bed bugs.
Bed Bugs Identification
Bed bugs are reddish-brown and flat oval bugs. Their flat size helps them to sneak inside the gaps on the bed frame, head board, and mattress.
Bed bugs aren’t shiny black or have spots like the carpet beetles.
Bed bugs are size of an apple seed.
The adult bed bugs have sizes similar to adult carpet beetles, growing between 1/4 – 3/16 inches in size.
Carpet Beetles Feeding Habits
The adult carpet beetles feed on the flower nectar and pollen outdoors.
They don’t bite humans and pets.
The carpet beetle larvae feed dead insects, stored foods, and of course, on the natural fibers, especially the ones that are made from animal extracts.
The hairy bristles on the larvae can cause skin dermatitis, that look similar to bed bug bites.
Bed Bugs Feeding Habits
Bed bugs are parasites. They solely feed on human blood.
The bed bugs nymphs, which are baby bed bugs, also bite and feed on human blood.
The nymphs need regular blood meals to progress in their life cycle before they reach the adult stage.
Bed bug bites are intensely itchy. But some people may not show signs of bed bug bites.
Bed bug removal is a tricky affair. Most DIY ways can fail to get rid of them if you don’t catch the infestation at the early stages.
It’s always a good idea to hire a pest control company to control and treat bed bugs in your home.
Do Carpet Beetle Larvae Get Into Your Scalp?
Yes, carpet beetle larvae can get onto your scalp.
The natural oils in your hair attract the carpet beetle larvae crawling on your bed to your scalp.
People with dry hair might not face this problem.
But if you’ve used hair oil, it’ll cause the carpet beetle larvae in your bed to crawl up to your scalp.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.