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Carpet beetles vs. bed bugs

One of the insects most often confused with bed bugs is the equally small and flat varied carpet beetle. They are very common in homes and properties, and people continually ask if they have found the first signs of a bed bug infestation when they see a carpet beetle.

Ehrlich Pest Control is the expert in bed bug removal and control. We know how to distinguish between carpet beetles and bed bugs and how to handle both pests. If you have an infestation of either bed bugs or carpet beetles call us at 800-837-5520 or contact your local office today!

Differences between carpet beetles and bed bugs

The main difference between a bed bug and a varied carpet beetle is their color.  Carpet beetle larvae also look like tiny furry caterpillars and the bed bug larvae look a lot like the larger version, just very small.

Though they do look similar, there are some distinct differences that will tell you if you are dealing with a bed bug or a varied carpet beetle.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs


  • Size - 5-7 mm long
  • Appearance - Brownish-red, flat, oval-shaped, about the size of an apple seed
  • Habitat - Live and hide in mattresses, sofas, carpets, and other areas in close proximity to their food source
  • Eating habits - Prefer to feed at night on a blood source
  • Bite - Leave red bite marks on your arms, torso, neck, or body in the middle of the night
  • Habits - Leave behind shed skins, fecal matter, and blood spots when an infestation occurs

Varied carpet beetle

Varied carpet beetle


  • Size - 3 mm long
  • Appearance - Black with white, brown, and yellow scales making them look more spotted or striped; flat, oval-shaped
  • Habitat - Live in homes, warehouses, museums, outdoors - any place where their food sources exist
  • Eating habits - Feast on carpet, wool, and other natural materials
  • Bite - Adults do not bite. Larvae have small hair-like bristles on their skin that can cause an allergic reaction to a human
  • Habits - Larvae can chew holes in infested items and will usually leave behind their shed skins

Ehrlich Technicians are experts in bed bug identification

Carpet beetles are not bed bugs. However, carpet beetles can damage fabrics and bed bugs can bite people. Both insects can breed fast and may remain hidden for a while before you start to notice them. If you think you have either bed bugs or carpet beetles, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office.

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