Bed bugs tend to live as close to their host as possible. This often means around your bed, in your closet, or in your furniture under the cushions. However, these aren’t the only places these bugs can hide.

Your carpet is another culprit that could be playing home to your infestation. So, yes! Bed Bugs can live in carpets. They tend to hide under the carpet when traveling to find your bed or furniture.

But if you’ve thrown out the bed, they’ll stick around there until they find a new host. The type and location of the carpet will greatly determine the severity of the infestation.

Below we look at how to deal with this problem and ensure these monsters never come back under your carpet.

Can bed bugs live in carpets

Unfortunately, yes. Due to the small size of the bedbugs, they can easily hide within the fibers of your carpets and lay their eggs there.

If your carpet is partly torn, bedbugs can use those holes and tears to hide beneath it. As long as the carpet fabric is coarse enough, these bugs will lay the eggs and secrete a sticky substance that allows the eggs to stick firmly on the carpet.

This is why it’s important to clean your carpet and rugs regularly. If you don’t, it’ll only get much harder to get rid of the bed bugs once they’ve nested under the carpet.

For such a case, you might need the help of an exterminator to kill the bugs.

How Do I Know if My Carpet Has Bed Bugs?

The only good thing about bed bugs is that they don’t move without leaving you a sign. So, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look for to determine if there’s a bedbug infestation in your carpet. They include:

Live Crawling Bed Bugs

The most obvious sign of bedbugs on your carpet is if you see them crawling on the carpet. While they normally won’t crawl out during the day, adult bed bugs that haven’t fed in a long time will come out when they detect a host nearby.

Bedbug Eggs on Carpet

If you’ve not spotted bed bugs but you’ve noticed their eggs, then that could be your sign. Bed bug eggs look like small whitish dots, but they can also be nearly transparent if close to getting hatched.

You can look for the eggs either beneath the carpet or around the corners.

Bed Bug Skin and Fecal Matter

Bedbugs also go through regular molting (shedding their skin) to keep growing. You’ll, therefore, notice their presence in your carpets if you keep finding the bedbug skin there.

If you also notice small dark dot-like spots on the carpets, that’s more likely their fecal matter and is an indication that there might be an infestation under your carpet.

Baby Bed Bugs

If during your inspection you don’t notice any of the above signs, then look out for baby bedbugs, also called nymphs. These creatures are quite tiny and whitish, looking almost translucent making them quite difficult to spot.

Bloodstains and Bug Bites

If you have a bright-colored carpet, you may also look for bloodstains on the carpet. The stains arise when you accidentally smash the bugs when stepping on the carpet or moving items.

If you’ve also noticed that you get bites each time you’re close to that carpet, then that could be your sign.

How Did Bed Bugs Get Into My Carpet?

The most logical explanation for bedbugs on your carpets is that they were traveling looking for their next victim. Since they can’t fly, bedbugs have to crawl on floors, walls, and ceilings in search of blood.

Carpets provide the perfect hiding spots for these travelers, ensuring they’re not spotted during the day.

If you, therefore, find a few bed bugs on your carpet that could be an indication of a massive infestation across the room and in the house. Look for the source of the infestation in your bedroom and furniture.

How To Get Rid of Bedbugs Under Carpets and Rags

How you’ll deal with your bedbug carpet infestation will greatly depend on the intensity of the infestation.

The first step is usually the visual inspection of the carpet. If the room is too dark, use UV lights to find the bedbugs, bloodstains, or their exoskeleton. Once you’ve determined that the bugs are present, the next step is cleaning.

Here’s how to go about it to ensure you get rid of the bedbugs completely:

Vacuum the Carpet

This should be the first thing you do regardless of the intensity of the infestation. Vacuuming removes all the active bedbugs, their eggs, feces, and exoskeleton. It’s, however, very effective in cases of a light infestation.

Ensure that you use a vacuum cleaner with a bag during the job so that you can seal up everything and dispose of them outside.

Vacuum the carpet

Steam Cleaning

In addition to vacuuming, steam cleaning is also important if you want to kill the bedbugs in your carpet. However, for this to be effective you need to use extremely high temperatures which means you’ll take a lot of time on the carpet.

  • Pay extra attention when steaming around the carpet edges and wooden crevices so that the heat penetrates through the carpet and kills all the bedbugs.
  • To be effective, flip the carpet and steam the underside as well. This way, you’ll get rid of any stains and bugs that would be hiding there.
  • If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can rent one, purchase it online or hire a professional to do it for you.
  • Once the carpet is dry, remember to vacuum over it again to ensure you eliminate the bedbugs completely.
Steam cleaning

Use Diatomaceous Earth

If you want a completely natural and safe alternative to kill your bedbugs, diatomaceous earth is your treatment. This repellant gets rid of bedbugs in two ways, dehydrating them and also damaging their exoskeleton.

However, the bugs don’t die instantly, it can take as long as two weeks for the bedbugs to finally die.

Since the diatomaceous earth comes in powder form, you can spray it over all the infested edges of the carpet.

After application, leave it on the carpet for at least a week for you to see any result. As such, ensure it’s moved to a room with minimal foot traffic.

Use diatomaceous earth
Severity of InfestationTreatment Method
Light infestationVacuum the carpet
Medium infestationDiatomaceous Earth
Medium infestation Steam cleaning
Medium infestation Bed bug sprays and chemicals
Heavy infestationIndustrial heat treatment

How To Prevent Bedbugs From Getting Back Into My Carpets

Once your carpet is washed, vacuumed, and finally free from bed bugs, your last step should be ensuring that bedbugs can’t get back onto it. The best way to do this is by:

Check Your Luggage When You Travel

Most people pick up bedbugs when traveling, especially if your trip involves staying in a hotel or using public transport. This is why if you’re traveling, always check your luggage before getting into the house.

Additionally, once you’re in the house, don’t be quick to place the luggage on your carpet. If possible, unpack quickly and place the suitcase outside or place a protective cover on it for a few weeks.

Clean and Vacuum Your Carpet Regularly

You also want to regularly power wash your carpet and vacuum it as well. Doing this will ensure that bed bugs don’t have the time to breed and multiply beneath the carpet.

It’ll also help you get rid of any bed bugs that could have survived your treatments.

Avoid Buying Second-Hand Carpets

Second-hand carpets may be cheap, but they aren’t guaranteed to be bedbug-free. Most people dispose of their carpets if they discover that they’re infested with these creepy bugs, or put them up for sale at a discount price.

You should, therefore, do a thorough inspection of the carpet before taking it home. Check the carpet’s edges and corners looking for bed bugs, their eggs, or even their exoskeletons.

But to be safe, we recommend splashing that extra cash on a new carpet.

FAQ’s

Not necessarily. While there are shampoos that can kill bedbugs, most shampoos aren’t effective on carpets. Additionally, shampoo only treats one side of the carpet and doesn’t penetrate to clean the bottom side.

Heat or steam treatments. Bed Bugs typically die instantly when exposed to temperatures above 212°F (100°C). That’s why these treatments are often the most recommended among exterminators.

Adult bed bugs are known to live for up to a year without feeding on a host, and up to 6 months for the young bedbugs. They can, therefore, easily hide under your carpet for more than a year.

Not really. As long as there’s a host in the house, including pets, bedbugs will stay in your house. You’ll, therefore, have to invest in a treatment method to completely get rid of them.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.