Carpet Beetles Or Bed Bugs?

Carpet beetles and bed bugs are commonly confused in homes, how about your business?

Carpet beetles are a concern for homeowners, but do businesses need to worry about this particular pest? What are carpet beetles, anyway? These are just a couple of the questions we’ve received lately from our customers.  Many of our clients call us with what they think is a bed bug problem and then find out that carpet beetles are actually to blame. How can you tell if it’s carpet beetles or bed bugs? Here are some tips from the commercial pest control pros at Sprague Pest Solutions. 

Carpet beetles and bed bugs are actually quite different. Adult carpet beetles are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length and the black carpet beetle is uniform in color (usually black as their name suggests, or sometimes brown). The varied carpet beetle is covered with different colored scales- these are flattened hairs; usually white, yellow and brown.  Adult carpet beetles are oval, while carpet beetle larvae are cream-colored/light brown/black and carrot-shaped. There is a tuft of hair that protrudes from the tail end of the larvae’s body; mature larvae measure up to ¼ of an inch long. Bed bugs are 3/16 of an inch long and flat; they have an oval shape that resembles an apple seed. Before they have fed, they are a pale brown color and after, they are a dark brown/dark red color. 

Bed bugs are known for feeding on the blood of humans while they sleep. When they feed, they leave little red welts on the skin. Adult carpet beetles feed on both dried animal products and starchy plant products, but not on humans. Only the carpet beetle larvae may affect humans, as the tufts of hair can cause allergic reactions for anyone with a carpet beetle allergy. A carpet beetle skin reaction can be a rash along with intense itching; some people develop irritation of the respiratory tract or eyes.

In a commercial environment, you may find that carpet beetles have infested furs, products made of animal hair, feathers, carpeting, hides, horns and even carcasses.  They also eat cereal, stored grains, nuts, seeds, peppers, various meals and processed foods, including flour.  They can cause damage to your belongings and rugs, (and in a processing facility they can cause damage to products) but very rarely do they cause problem for humans in the same way that bed bugs do. 

Obviously having carpet beetles inside a commercial environment is not ideal; the best way you can prevent an infestation of these pests is through thorough sanitation practices. Vacuuming regularly and cleaning belongings (especially clothing made with natural fibers) can help prevent infestations of these pests.  Unfortunately for your business, if you have carpet beetles, your customers may think you have bed bugs. This can be detrimental to your reputation, with people assuming the red bumps on their skin are actually bed bug bites. The best way to avoid this scenario is to always carry out good sanitation practices in your commercial establishment. 

If you think you have bed bugs, the professionals at Sprague Pest Solutions can help with effective bed bug control including bed bug heat treatments. We can send one of our experienced technicians to your property to determine if the problem is bed bugs or carpet beetles. With service available in Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City and throughout the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions, call us today to schedule for your first inspection, because having any type of pest inside your business is a problem!