If you are reading this article, you probably found bugs in your house but are asking yourself – is the bug you saw a bed bug or carpet beetle?

Most people find it hard to identify different kinds of tiny bugs. They often wrongly assume that the bug they found on their bed was a bed bug. But, as already discussed in the previous article, that may not be the case. There are various species of little black bugs that can create a nuisance in your house. In the developing world, insect infestation is a major cause of panic among house owners.

The insect that is most commonly confused with bed bugs is the carpet beetle. They are very similar in appearance and even leave similar bite marks. Know how to properly distinguish between the two insects to receive proper treatment to get rid of them. We’ll tell you how you can identify each in this article.


What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs are tiny, oval, reddish-brown insects that live in and around beds and mattresses. Their food source is human blood, and they usually stay close to it. So you may also find them around sofas in your house. These pests leave behind bloodstains, shed skin, and excreta when there is an infestation.

You can find more about bed bugs in our article here.


What is a carpet beetle?

A carpet beetle is an insect that you can find mainly in carpets and inside wardrobes in your house. This is because, unlike bed bugs, they feed on fibrous materials. When seen from above, these insects look small and oval, much like bed bugs. Carpet beetle infestation can cause immense damage to natural fibers.


Carpet beetle or bed bug?

You see a bug on your bed and another on your sofa and start panicking – are these bed bugs or carpet beetles? As a house owner, you have to be aware of the various species of bugs that can infest your home so that you can take the proper measures. Read on to clear your confusion between carpet beetles and bed bugs.


Physical Appearance

The significant difference between a bed bug and a carpet beetle is their appearance.

Size and Colour

Both bugs look oval, but bed bugs are much larger. They have flatter bodies with stripes and are reddish-brown. On the other hand, the sizes of carpet beetles can approximately be 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch, which is much smaller than bed bugs’ sizes.

Carpet beetles also vary in color. They look much like ladybirds, with a hard shell on their back divided into two parts down the middle. They are light brownish with white and black spots.


You can spot a clear difference in the larval stage of both bugs. Carpet beetle larvae look like little caterpillars that are bigger than the adult bug. As they grow, they metamorphose into a smaller, ladybug-like insect.

Bed bugs do not have larvae. They look the same throughout the growth phase but get bigger by feeding and molting. So, if you see shed skin, you may have a bed bug crisis. If you see larvae, you probably have a carpet beetle infestation.



The primary difference between a carpet beetle and a bed bug is their diet because they feast on entirely different things. Bed bugs’ food is human blood, and they leave nasty red marks on your skin. Carpet beetles feed on the natural fibers available in your house, which means your carpets and clothes that are made of silk, fur, or wool.



As the name suggests, you will usually find bed bugs on your bedsheets and mattresses. But they can also inhabit your sofas or any other place where they can be close to human blood. On the contrary, carpet beetles will hide and breed in carpets and wardrobes where you store your fibrous materials.



Though carpet beetles do not bite or feed on humans, they can cause allergic reactions in some. Bed bug bites are more frequent. If a bed bug bites you, the area will be extremely red and itchy. You will also end up getting regular bites because they tend to bite every night. For carpet bugs, you can have allergic reactions only when carpet beetle larvae crawl on their skin, which is unlikely. In case it does happen, you are likely to have painful rashes.


Health risk

While carpet beetles are dangerous to your fibrous materials, bed bugs are scary because they suck your blood. But previously, neither was associated with the spread of contagious diseases. Very recent research shows that bed bugs may transmit and cause Chagas disease – one of the deadliest diseases in America.


What is worse: carpet beetle or bed bug?

For most people, bed bugs are worse because they feed on your blood, leave nasty and itchy bite marks, and can transmit a deadly disease. But carpet beetles can cause enough damage to your wardrobe as well. So, if you have an infestation of either insect, we recommend you get rid of them immediately.


Will bed bug treatment kill carpet beetles?

Are you wondering how to get rid of carpet beetles? These insects are easier to kill, and most typical bed bug treatments can kill carpet beetles. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Gather all the infested items in your house. Leaving even one thing can lead to more infestation.
  • Check your clothes thoroughly and wash them in high heat. If your carpet is infested, use a steam cleaner to deep clean it.
  • Once you have cleaned the infested items, you have to spray and treat your entire house with professional insecticide.
  • Always clean your house regularly to prevent future infestation.

You can also read our article to know how to keep bed bugs away from your house.


Final Thoughts

Now that you have read the article, you know how to locate and identify bed bugs and carpet beetles. We also answered how to get rid of carpet beetles naturally. But remember, these tips may not always work if you do it by yourself. We recommend calling professional services like Bug Guys Pest Control to be free from severe insect infestation. Click here to get a free estimate now!