Bed bugs are a serious nuisance that can infest homes and cause significant frustration and anxiety. As professional carpet cleaners, we often get questions from customers worried about bed bugs in their carpets. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share our expertise on bed bug behavior, signs of an infestation, and how to effectively remove them from your carpets.
An Introduction to Bed Bugs
Bed bugs, with the scientific name Cimex lectularius, are small, flat, oval-shaped insects that feed exclusively on blood. An adult bed bug reaches about 1/4 to 3/8 inches long—about the size and shape of an apple seed. These sneaky pests get their name because they prefer feeding on humans during the night while we sleep.
A bed bug’s life cycle includes five nymph stages before reaching adulthood. They can survive for several months between feedings. Females lay approximately 200 eggs during their lifetime, cementing them in cracks and crevices near food sources. Under ideal conditions, bed bugs can produce three or more generations per year.
While bed bugs don’t spread disease, their bites can cause itchy welts, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Left untreated, a bed bug infestation will continue to grow and become harder to control. So it’s essential to detect and treat these pests early.
Do Bed Bugs Like Carpeting?
Bed bugs don’t actually live or burrow into carpets like some other pests. But they can be transported into carpets and use them as temporary hiding spots. Here are some key facts about bed bugs and carpeting:
They prefer tight hiding spots near their human hosts, like mattresses and bed frames. Carpets are farther from their ideal food source.
The fibers and padding underneath carpets provide good temporary harborage as they move between rooms or apartments.
Bed bugs can’tattach to smooth surfaces like hardwood floors. Carpets give them more grip.
Heavy infestations spread bugs farther from main harborages as they search for new hiding spots.
Those with high-pile and shag carpeting are more likely to find bed bugs than low-pile carpet. More space between fibers gives them room to hide.
So while carpets aren’t the most welcoming environment, bed bugs may still find their way into floor coverings far from the bedroom. Carefully inspecting and treating carpets is an important part of a complete treatment plan.
Signs of Bed Bugs in Carpets
Bed bugs are sneaky pests that often go unnoticed in early stages of infestation. But knowing the signs can help detect them early and prevent further spread. Here are some clues that bed bugs may be hiding in your carpets:
As bed bugs feed, they excrete a substance called “fecal spotting” that leaves rusty stains on fabrics and surfaces. Look along carpet edges and seams for these telltale markings. Bugs tend to follow baseboards and wall edges when traveling.
Musty, Sweet Odor
You may notice a musty, sweet scent around heavily infested areas. This unusual smell comes from the bugs’ scent glands and accumulated waste products. Be suspicious if the odor persists after cleaning.
Tiny Black Dots (Bed Bug Feces)
Look closely against baseboards and under edges for clusters of tiny black dots about the size of a pen tip. Often found in groups of 10 or more, these spots likely come from bed bug waste.
Cast Skins and Egg Cases
During growth stages, bed bugs shed translucent skins. You may find piled up clusters of these skins or cream-colored egg cases in carpet fibers and corners.
Seeing living bed bugs in your carpet confirms an active infestation. Adults may be traveling to look for a meal. Nymphs and eggs could signal an established harborage.
Catching an infestation at the first signs means easier, less costly treatment. If you discover any evidence, contact a pest control professional immediately.
Can Bed Bugs Live in Carpet?
Bed bugs won’t infest carpet fibers and padding to the extent they do mattresses. These areas don’t provide ideal conditions for their colonies long-term:
Limited food source. Bugs thrive best near sleeping humans. Carpets are often too far from prime feeding areas.
Risk of detection. They prefer tighter harborage spots where they easily hide. Open carpet fibers leave them exposed.
Temperature fluctuations. Unlike mattresses and furniture, flooring is exposed to temperature variances that speed up metabolism and shorten lifespan.
Despite less-than-ideal conditions, bed bugs may still use carpets as temporary hiding spots and transportation routes through the home. During heavy infestations, carpets provide refuge when other prime real estate is occupied. Understanding where bugs may reside helps target treatments.
How to Remove Bed Bugs from Carpet
If bed bugs have made it into your carpeting, don’t panic. With diligent inspection and treatment, you can eliminate them from your floors and prevent their return. Here are the steps we take when servicing carpets for bed bug removal:
1. Thoroughly Vacuum All Carpeting
Use a strong vacuum fitted with a hose and crevice tool attachment. Make multiple passes over each section of carpet, especially along edges and under baseboards. The suction removes live bugs, eggs, fecal spotting, and skins.
Dispose of the vacuum bag or contents immediately after into a sealed plastic bag to prevent transfers.
2. Steam Clean Infested Areas
Steam cleaners kill bed bugs on contact using extremely high temperatures. Work in sections, holding the nozzle close to carpet fibers for 20-30 seconds per square foot. Take extra time targeting seams, edges, and high-traffic areas.
Steam treatments will not penetrate carpet backing or padding to kill hidden bugs. But the heat and moisture flush them out of hiding.
3. Apply Targeted Pesticide Sprays
Use EPA-registered pesticides labeled for bed bug control in carpets. Liquid residual sprays or aerosols are most effective. Apply directly to infested areas, seams, baseboards, cracks and crevices.
Avoid broadcast spraying of entire carpeted rooms which can worsen spreading. Always follow label directions carefully. Let fully dry before allowing pets or children onto treated areas.
4. Diatomaceous Earth Powder Along Baseboards
Diatomaceous earth is a natural desiccant dust that kills bed bugs but is safe for humans and pets. Lightly apply a thin layer along carpet edges after vacuuming to help control migrating bugs. Allow to sit for 2-3 days before vacuuming up.
5. Seal Carpet Edges with Climb-Up Insect Interceptors
These small dish-style traps sit under carpet edges along walls. Bugs trying to crawl out get trapped inside. The smooth surfaces prevent escape. Check interceptors regularly to monitor activity and remove captured pests.
6. Employ Preventative Mattress Encasements
Mattresses are the number one bed bug harborages. Prevent reinfestation by encasing both mattress and box spring in protective covers rated for bed bugs. This eliminates pests already inside and blocks entry of new ones.
Follow-Up Treatments to Ensure Elimination
Removing bed bugs requires diligence and multiple coordinated tactics over time. To ensure success, our protocols include follow-up visits every 7-10 days over 2-3 weeks following initial services.
Follow-up appointments include:
Repeat vacuum, steam, and spray applications to kill newly hatched nymphs and lingering adults. Bed bugs begin dying off 2-3 days after treatment, but new generations emerge weekly.
Inspecting for continued signs of infestation like live bugs, spotting, eggs, etc. We may recommend additional targeted applications as needed.
Checking interceptors and monitors for increased or ongoing activity.
Altering tactics that prove ineffective during prior visits.
Identifying any new potential entry points for prevention.
With this system of advanced treatment plus ongoing monitoring, elimination of bed bugs is possible without harmful pesticides or complex prep. Our expert technicians have managed thousands of difficult infestations over the past two decades.
Partner With the Bed Bug Control Experts
As you can see, bed bugs present some unique challenges compared to other common pests. At Eagle’s Eye Carpet Cleaning, our extensive hands-on experience sets us apart. Our integrated pest management approach combines:
- High-level carpet cleaning expertise using steam and vacuum systems.
- Advanced training in bed bug biology and the most effective treatment methods.
- Commercial pest control tools and EPA-approved solutions for residential use.
- A meticulous protocol and follow up strategy developed over 20 years in the field.
We understand how stressful bed bugs can be and take every measure to get rid of them quickly and safely. Our highly trained technicians come prepared with specialized equipment to inspect the smallest gaps and crevices.
If signs of bed bugs appear in your carpets, mattresses, or other areas, contact us immediately for an evaluation