Can Bed Bugs Live in Carpet? – How to Get Rid of Them

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Bed bugs are mischievous creatures that like to invade your house and never leave. Because they feed entirely on human blood, they can cause a lot of problems for you and your family members if they are able to get into your home.

They love to live in cracks and crevices in your bed and walls, and can certainly infiltrate your carpet as well. Getting bed bugs out of your carpet is difficult but not impossible. There are a few tried and true tricks to follow in order to restore peaceful sleep to you and your family once more.

What are Bed Bugs

Oval in shape and light brown in color, bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. They have flat light brown bodies that swell and turn red after feeding. These tiny creatures can create big problems if they get inside your home.

One big reason why bed bugs cause problems is that they are very good travelers. They hitch a ride in suitcases from second-hand stores or in your clothes after you stay in a hotel, and then they tend to take over wherever they land.

They can move fast and are extremely good at hiding, as well, which makes them difficult to get rid of once they get in.

Why They are a Problem

The problem with bedbugs is how prolific they are, and how difficult they are to get rid of. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, they lay so many eggs, and each baby bed bug will need to feed on a blood meal. Bed bugs molt five times and each time, they need to feast on some blood. For this reason, they stay very close to where people sleep, so they will have constant access to their food source.

In order to get a blood meal, they use their beaks to suck out blood from a victim, and this process lasts between 3 and 10 minutes each time. The bed bugs then spend days recovering from the meal as the molting process continues. The bed bugs will need to repeat this process five times on their way to adulthood.

Signs of Bed Bugs

There are several signs of bed bugs that can alert you to the fact that you have been invaded. You may see the actual bed bugs themselves, but most often you will see what they left behind. Look for the following signs in and around your bed:

  • Bug carcasses/skins from molting on the bed.
  • Blood streaks on sheets from the night feedings.
  • A musty odor from the glands of the bed bugs.
  • Bug fecal matter on sheets and pillow cases.

How Bed Bugs Affect Humans

The most important and painful signs of bed bugs are the red welts that show up on a person when they have been bitten by bed bugs in the night. The red welts might not show up at first, but soon you will see the telltale signs of bed bug bites and feel the painful swelling and itching.

Each person reacts differently to bed bug bites, but besides the unease of knowing the bed bugs have invaded your home, there is often a lot of pain and redness associated with bed bug bites.

Where They Usually Live in Your Home

As their name implies, bed bugs live in your bed and in the surrounding area of your bed clothes. They love tight spaces such as the creases in your mattress, pillow cases, sheets, and blankets. Because their number one goal is to feast on your blood, they will want to be as close as possible to their human hosts

They are also happy to call home any furniture near your bed, like dressers or night tables. They can take up residence in peeling wallpaper, near baseboards, wall switches, or any other little spaces in your bedroom. And because they move so quickly, it is easy for them to get from one place to another.

Why Carpets are Good for Bed Bugs

It stands to reason that when bed bugs infiltrate a bedroom, they will use the carpet for transit. They soon realize they can hide there and stay for a while, especially if they are resting after one of their blood meals. The carpet fibers make a comfortable place for bed bugs, and they often lay eggs in the carpet as well.

If there are cracks in the carpet or in the molding, bed bugs can make their way in and out of the carpeted area. They can travel through cracks to enter other rooms of your home, as well as get underneath the carpet itself.

Sometimes they will live under the carpet, which makes it even harder to get rid of them because it is so difficult to reach them with substances that will kill them.

They Can Lay Eggs in Carpet

One reason bed bugs are attracted to carpet is that it is a good place to lay eggs. Generally, bed bugs lay 1-12 eggs at a time and hundreds of eggs over their lifetime.

The nice flat surface of the carpet is a great place for the bedbugs to lay eggs, and the baby bed bugs can move quickly towards the bed in order to get their blood meal when the time is right.

They Can Move Fast

Because bed bugs can move so fast they can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. In general, bed bugs can travel 3-4 feet a minute. That is the equivalent of an adult sprinting. Once they get into the carpet, it is very easy for them to enter other rooms because of their speed.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Carpet

Bed bugs love little crevices. And because they are cold-blooded, they can also live up to a year without feeding. So getting rid of the bed bugs involves a formidable task on your part.

They do not go willingly and it will require a lot of work to get rid of them. Because bed bugs have such staying power, you need to get rid of them from the entire room and not just the carpet.

Clear the Furniture

In order to get rid of the bed bugs, the first step is to eradicate the bed bugs from the furniture. Use the vacuum cleaner and attachments to clean the mattress, the night table, couches, chairs, and dressers.

The bed bugs can literally be anywhere, even into the light sockets and underneath peeling wallpapers.

Scour the Bedding/Clothing

Bed bugs can live in clothing, so anything that can be washed should be. Use the hottest cycle in your washing machine to make sure you kill them. Wash all the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in the same way.

Once you clean the bed clothes, a good rule of thumb is to cover the mattress with an airtight mattress cover. This will eventually kill any bed bugs that are left behind and will keep any errant bed bugs from getting into the mattress you just cleaned.

Wash the Curtains

In the same way that bed bugs can live on clothing, they can get into your curtains in the bedroom. Wash these in hot water as well. If you can do without them, don’t even put them back up until you are sure the bed bugs are entirely gone.

Put Any Throw Rugs in Bags

If there are bed bugs in your carpet, it is a pretty good bet that they are in your throw rugs too. Put throw rugs in air-tight bags in order to kill the bed bugs that may have been hiding there.

These can be put in a hot dryer to kill the bugs (if the rug can tolerate it) and they can also be steam cleaned.


The good news about the bed bugs in your carpet is that they are relatively easy to see, especially if they have just had a blood meal. Vacuum all of the bed bugs you can out of the carpet, and make sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately.

This is the time to use the attachment to get into every corner of the room, near the baseboards, and especially where the carpet meets the wall.

Shampoo Carpets

Your best chance of eradicating the bed bugs from your carpet also involves you shampooing your carpets. This ensures another layer of protection, and if you are using high temperatures, the bed bugs are less likely to be able to live through that.

The eggs and larvae of bed bugs are generally invisible to the naked eye, so you need to be extremely thorough in this process.

Use a Natural Treatment

There are several natural treatments that can be used to eradicate the bedbugs. If you have young children or pets in your home, you might want to go this route so you are not bringing harsh chemicals into your home.

Try this rubbing alcohol to get rid of bed bugs. The product kills bed bugs instantly and is something that you probably already have in your home. The rubbing alcohol has to make direct contact with the bed bugs in order to kill them.

In addition to rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil or oregano essential oil have been found to get rid of bed bugs by suffocating them. These are both all-natural solutions but can be on the expensive side, and again must make direct contact in order to kill them.

Borax is an all-natural product that is also good for killing bed bugs. Sprinkle the borax thoroughly over your carpet. Use a spritzer bottle of water to wet the borax in order to suffocate the bed bugs. A 1% boric acid solution takes 4-5 days to kill the bed bugs. You can vacuum the dried Borax after the time has elapsed.

Diatomaceous Earth Process

After the carpets have been vacuumed and shampooed thoroughly, it is time to bring in the big guns. Diatomaceous earth is known to get rid of bed bugs. Sprinkle this all-natural product generously over your carpet, and leave it on as long as possible.

This comes with a powder duster for ease of spreading. Four hours is a good rule of thumb, but if you can leave it on overnight and sleep somewhere else, that would go a long way in getting rid of the bed bugs.

After leaving the powder on, vacuum the entire room again, and hopefully, you will be getting rid of the bed bugs for good. You will need to vacuum extensively and carefully to get rid of all of the powdered diatomaceous earth. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag so that you do not risk re-infecting your house.

Best Bug Killers

This liquid spray is a good choice for getting rid of bed bugs. Not only is it odorless, but it will not stain your carpet or other fabrics in your house. Registered with the EPA and approved for homes with people and pets, this kills both bed bugs and their eggs, which makes it more powerful than some of the natural remedies.

Call an Exterminator

If you have exhausted the above methods and exhausted yourself, and the bed bugs are still feasting on you every night, it is time to call a professional exterminator. Exterminators have the tools and the knowledge to get rid of the bed bugs in a timely and efficient manner.

Professional-grade products have come a long way and if you are unable to get a handle on your problem yourself, hiring a trained professional is a great way to restore order to your home.

In Conclusion

Bed bugs are hardy creatures and once they get in, they like to stay in your house and feed off of your family. Bed bugs can certainly live in carpet, and because of their speed, they use the carpet as a handy way to get from place to place.

Although often bed bugs will lay eggs in the carpet which are difficult to see, when you put your mind to it and use some of the products mentioned above, you have a good chance of eradicating the bugs from your home.

Leave a Comment