Pest Control

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

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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 ask if bed bugs can live in your carpet.

Bed bugs prefer living somewhere close to you, but they can 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.

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In this article, you will discover how to get rid of bed bugs in your carpet and find out if removing your carpet will rid you of these nasty insects. Overall, you will want to do everything possible to ensure they are well removed. 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, bed bugs will 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, looking for them in every corner, crevice, and all over the corners of your walls is essential. 

The habitat of a bed bug is typically clustering in nests and living near a host, so they will also live 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 bedding 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 must 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 themselves. 

If you choose to use this method, it is critical to know that it will take anywhere between 7 to 17 days to 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. Doing so will give you an easy access point to treat these areas with DE.

    Please ensure 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.

    Do this to all of these outlets, and 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, which 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. 

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. You will want to run over the same area 2 or 3 times for best results.

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? Remove 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.

Regarding 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 place tape over the nozzle as a precaution. The last thing you want to do is have another room infested with these pests! 

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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 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 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 it will kill off bed bugs in its entirety, so it is worth a shot if you want to go that route! 

Always call a professional if you do not wish to clean the carpet.

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 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 an infestation like that. However, they might go away shortly if you catch them early enough.

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 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 store luggage, and areas where household members or guests sleep. 

Once and for all, getting rid of them, from mattress to carpet, requires in-depth research to ensure one uses the 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.

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Non-chemical Elimination

There are many 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 review some viable options 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 and inserting the tab at the top to hold them 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 a professional, as mentioned briefly above. Although you can do the heat yourself, it may save you time and trouble to call a professional and get it done. A professional costs anywhere between $300 and $ 5000, depending on your home size.

Heat treatment ensures that you are dealing with all the bed bugs from all stages and those who have developed a resistant exterior skin, which is their cuticle. A heat treatment will likely eliminate 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, 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.

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Chemical Elimination

1. Pressurized Carbon Dioxide Snow 

In the Virginia Tech manual, pesticide companies have used pressurized carbon dioxide snow cleaning tech to freeze bed bugs to death. This technique exposes bed bugs 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 ensure 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!

Do You Need Pest Control Service?

Get FREE quotes from licensed pest control technicians in your area today. Whether you need spraying for ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, mosquitos, or bed bugs, We Can Help! All technicians are screened, licensed, and insured.

Get a FREE Quote Today
We earn a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.