Skip to content

How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs or Carpet Beetles

It’s easy to mistake a carpet beetle for a bed bug. You can tell them apart by looking at their larvae: carpet beetle larvae look like tiny, fuzzy caterpillars, while bed bug larvae look like little worms.

Bed bugs and carpet beetles can also be told apart by their habits:

  • Carpet beetles like to eat fabrics like wool, carpet, and other similar materials. 
  • Bed bugs are commonly found living in or around mattresses.
  • Bed bugs bite people to feed on blood, leaving red, itchy marks. 
Carpet beetles or bed bugs in Northern Utah - Rentokil

Bed Bugs vs. Carpet Beetles

In appearance, carpet beetles and bed bugs share a few common traits. They are both small and oval-shaped, but their similarities stop there! Carpet beetles can be found in various colors, have shorter antennae, and are usually a bit smaller than bed bugs. 

Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and less rounded than carpet beetles, about the size and shape of an apple seed. It’s also easier to see bed bugs’ eyes than carpet beetles’. The most obvious difference is the appearance of each insects’ larvae: Bed bug larvae are longer and worm-like, while carpet beetle larvae look like little fuzzy caterpillars.

Do Bed Bugs and Carpet Beetles Bite?

Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles will not bite. Bed bugs are notorious for their bites, which happen overnight and leave people with red, itchy marks. This is because bed bugs feed on our blood. Carpet beetles do not draw blood, but they have been known to inflict itchy rashes on people from the fibers of their larvae. These symptoms are easily confused for each other, but it’s important to seek medical attention if the symptoms of either become serious.

Identifying Bed Bugs and Carpet Beetles in Northern Utah

These insects look alike and cause similar symptoms, but they are quite different in nature. Bed bugs are much more dangerous than carpet beetles because they pose a greater direct threat to you and your household. If you are having trouble figuring out which pest you have in your home, it’s recommended to contact a professional pest control company.