Can Bed Bugs Live In Carpet? (We’ve Got The Answer)

Bed Bug

Bed bugs are no joking matter. Research scientists with FDCC Quarterly note a great deal of anguish caused by these pests in modern society. There have even been extreme incidents such as the fatal poisoning of tourists from travel industry chemicals used to eliminate the bugs.

Given the information above, one might be asking themselves if bed bugs can live in your carpet?

Bed bugs prefer living somewhere close to you, but they can most definitely infect your carpet and live there. You will see that these pests prefer to live in crevices of furniture, such as luggage, beds, and couches. Realistically, anywhere their host, you, will reside the most they will often be too.

In this article, you will discover how to get rid of bed bugs in your carpet and find out if removing your carpet altogether will rid you of these nasty insects. Overall, you will want to do everything in your power to ensure they are well gotten rid of. No one wants them in their homes, after all!

Bed Bugs & Carpet. Can They Live There?

As mentioned previously above, bed bugs can indeed infest carpet.” However, this is not a habitat they will prefer. These insects are considered “excellent hitchhikers,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, although they may infest your carpet, odds are, bed bugs will more than likely be near the ones they feed off of. This is an unfortunate case for us humans. These bugs are more likely to live in these areas within your home, so always check them to make sure:

  • Sofas
  • Mattresses
  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Chairs
  • Suitcases
  • Cluttered areas
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Other similar furniture items

Another thing to mention is that bed bugs are considered parasites, so they are not likely to make a permanent habitat in the carpet.

Other Areas Bed Bugs Live

Although they live in the areas listed above in your home, you may be wondering what other areas they reside in. When you go from place to place, it is essential to look for them in every corner, crevice, and all over the corners of your walls. 

The habitat of a bed bug is typically clustering in nests and living near a host, so they will also be living in hotels, tents, caves, campsites, and essentially any area that you may convert to a human dwelling.  

Here are signs to look out for when you enter these areas:

  1. Seeing blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases.
  2. Dark or rusty spots of bed bug poop on the sheets or mattresses, walls, and bedclothes.
  3. A nasty and musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands.
  4. Bed bug fecal spots, shedding of the skin in areas where they hide, or eggshells (which look like clear poppy seeds)

How Do You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In The Carpet?

One of the first things we must look at is getting rid of bed bugs out of your carpet in the first place! Not to mention we walk on our carpets daily, so this is an essential step to alleviating the problem in its entirety. 

1. Spread Diatomaceous Earth On The Carpet As You Vacuum

You need to first spread food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) all over your carpet. This is a non-toxic and safe substance used in many households. However, use caution if you have children or animals, as they may ingest it for themselves. 

If you choose to use this method, it is critical to know that it will take anywhere between 7 to 17 days to take effect fully. This depends on three factors: the bed bug’s stage of life, how much of the diatomaceous earth they are exposed to, and how long. 

Always wear a mask before spreading it around to ensure you are not breathing it in.

There are a few steps we recommend following as you use this method:

  • Step 1: Pull everything away from the walls. In doing so, it will provide you an easy access point to treat these areas with DE.

    Please make sure you heat the objects with a steam cleaner, then place them inside a sealed container until you know the bed bugs are completely gone.
  • Step 2: Put DE behind all electrical and light switch faceplates. Turn off the breaker for the room you are working in to be on the safe side. Depending on the size of the outlet, you’ll want to use a plastic spoon or a duster.

    Fill DE in the duster, put your mask on, and squeeze it right between the outlet and wall. Then, before you put the faceplate back on, you’ll want to put more diatomaceous earth on there.

    Do this to all of these outlets, and make sure you watch the video above for a better visual.

    Another thing you might want to consider is putting baby outlet covers on the outlets you do not use. 
  • Step 3: Apply DE to the area where the wall meets the floors. This is where bed bugs will be hiding the most, so this is a crucial step in the process. Make sure you do this where the molding meets the wall as well. 
  • Step 4:  Implement it between carpeting and the walls. 
Vacuum

2. Vacuuming Your Carpet Daily

Vacuuming your carpet should be a daily process, as this will ensure that your vacuum will pick up any new eggs immediately. For best results, you will want to run over the same area 2 or 3 times.

Make sure the suction is as strong as possible, and use the hose to get into the cracks and corners of your home since bed bugs live under there. You will also want to focus on these areas the most with the pipe.

Unfortunately, bed bugs can still live while vacuuming them up from the hose, so removing these pests from the vacuum immediately after usage is essential.

Otherwise, they will crawl back to the room and go to their comfortable spot in your home. Since they are not welcome in your home, this MUST be a priority. 

Bagged Vacuum Procedure

If your vacuum has a bag, seal it up tightly and make sure there are no areas where they can get out, then dispose of it quickly, but do so in the trash outside. 

Non-bagged Vacuum Procedure

What if you do not have a vacuum bag, you might ask? Ensure to empty the contents in a sealed bag, then wash the removable container in hot and soapy water.

Being thoroughly washed will ensure no bed bug remains are left behind. Be mindful of not using water on any electric parts of your cleaning device.

In terms of the filter, you will have to wash it, seal it in a plastic bag then place it in the freezer overnight. 

If you plan on using the vacuum in another room that does not contain bed bugs, always make sure to place tape over the nozzle as a precaution. The last thing you would want to do is have another room infested with these pests! 

3. Clean Your Carpet With Shampoo & A Steam Cleaner

The last thing you may want to consider is shampooing your carpet with a cleaner. This will indeed kill the eggs, but it is still not a 100% guarantee they will go away. 

Shampooing your carpet will be best if you have done something to get rid of most of the bed bugs in your house. It is a risk-taker option at best due to this method not 100% working.

On the flip side, steaming your carpet while shampooing it will make a fine combination, as steaming your carpet will kill off bed bugs in its entirety, so it is worth a shot if you want to go that route! 

If you do not wish to clean the carpet yourself, always call a professional.

Will Removing Carpet Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

Understand that bed bugs can live anywhere that is tiny, including an enclosed area that you think is safe such as hardware floors. Getting rid of carpet will not 100% get rid of your solution and may infest other homes in your areas.

Also, if you plan to move or want to get rid of the floors in their entirety, it is essential NEVER to wipe a floor that has suspected bed bugs. Doing so will only spread the issue, making matters worse.

On another important note, do not roll up carpets and rugs without cleaning them. Throwing this away in a dumpster will allow the bed bugs to reside in those places until another host comes along and they “hitchhike” on another person, spreading the issue even further in your area.

The very best thing you should do in these instances is a few things:

  1. Bag ALL rugs up in clear plastic bagging. Suffocating the bed bugs will allow them to die off and not spread more.
  2. Do a heat treatment for your home with propane heaters. Heat guarantee they will be gone, especially if you have a infestation like that. However, if you catch them early enough, they might go away shortly.

Other Ways To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Your House

Orkin states that the best method for bed bug prevention is the constant inspection of areas they may use as nests. This is the easiest way to detect the presence of congregating bed bugs early and begin elimination processes. Keep a frequent check of bed bug “hotspots” or the seams of bedding and mattresses, places where you stored luggage, and areas where household members of guests sleep. 

Once and for all, being rid of them, from mattress to carpet, requires in-depth research to be certain one uses correct treatments and proper application. 

Note of caution: Failure to comply with chemical guidelines and proper pest control measures for bed bugs can result in death or severe injury from toxic materials. Consult a pest control professional if you are unsure of the correct application of bug treatment for your home textiles, carpets, and other surfaces where pest control may be necessary.

Non-chemical Elimination

There are quite a few ways to eliminate bed bugs, but it will not be as easy as you think unless you catch them early, as mentioned previously. Keeping that in mind, the best route to go is non-chemical, so let us go over some viable options down below.

1. Carpet Adhesive

The first natural recommendation on our list includes carpet adhesive. These adhesives can easily slide underneath your bed and other furniture as well. It is relatively easy to use by folding the traps together and inserting the tab at the top to hold it together.

However, we must note that some users are still unsure if they work or not, so keep this in mind before purchasing.

2. Decluttering Your Home

You significantly reduce the risk of bed bug habitations by decluttering. When clearing the house of bed bugs, do away with stores of unnecessary items such as junk mail, old electronics, magazines, and other “clutter” objects that could provide a convenient hiding space. 

3. Use Dissolvable Laundry Bags 

Dissolvable laundry bags are water-soluble bags that will dissolve in the washing machine. 

3. Heat Treatment

Typically, a heat treatment is done by propane heaters or by a professional, as mentioned briefly above. Although you can do the heat yourself, it may save you both time and trouble to call a professional and get it done that way. A professional would cost anywhere between $300-5000, depending on how large your home is.

Having a heat treatment done ensures that you are dealing with all of the bed bugs from all kinds of stages and those who have developed a resistant exterior skin, which is their cuticle. A heat treatment will likely get rid of the problem and has a 95% success rate!

One quick thing to note is not to worry if you see a bed bug walking around after using heat in your home. More often than not, this is called a “walking dead” bed bug, which is where they were not exposed to enough heat treatment, which causes you to find them 7 to 10 days after the treatment was completed.

If this is the case for you, we recommend waiting roughly 2 weeks to start worrying again because they will die off shortly after.

Chemical Elimination

1. Pressurized Carbon Dioxide Snow 

Pesticide companies have been using pressurized carbon dioxide snow cleaning tech to freeze bed bugs to death in the Virginia Tech manual. With this technique, bed bugs are exposed to pressurized CO2 snow at -108° Fahrenheit.

While pressurized CO2 solutions are available at some hardware stores, hiring a professional pesticide company for maximum safety and efficiency is advised. 

2. EPA-registered Bed Bug Pesticides

The EPA has registered over 300 products specifically formulated to kill bed bugs. These products fall into the following classes: 

Final Thoughts

To summarize this article, bed bugs can indeed live in carpets. However, more likely than not, they will not choose that current place due to wanting to be near their hosts. It is wise to check every nook and cranny to make sure you get rid of bed bugs as much as possible.

On the other hand, when you are in doubt, make sure always to call a professional. Together, we can get through these pesky little critters and eliminate them once and for all!

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and an FHA 203k Consultant. I started PestControlInsider.com to help people better understand pest control and what they can do about invasive insects, rodents, reptiles, and other mammals around their homes.

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