Adult female bed bug walking over bedding being drawn towards a persons co2 exhaled breath while they sleep to bite and take a blood feed

Carpet Beetles vs Bed Bugs

Call us for a quote on 0800 218 2210  or Contact Us

For 90+ years we have protected properties across the UK from pests

All local technicians are highly trained and certified pest controllers

Innovative and unique treatments that resolve pest problems effectively

Carpet Beetle vs Bed Bug

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. So, what’s the difference between carpet beetles and bed bugs?

What is a bed bug?

A bed bug is a small flat insect that is very tiny and hard to see and their main source of food is human blood.  They are also known to be very good hitchikers, stowing away on personal belongings, luggage and laptop bags to spread between, rooms, houses, hotels and even airlines and trains.  Bed bugs or Cimex lectularius prefer to feed at night so they get their name from their tendency to breed and live in mattresses and in and around beds. However, these tiny parasites can also hide in sofas, carpets and other areas in close proximity to their food source.

Bed bugs are brownish-red in colour and about the size of an apple seed. They will leave behind shed skins, fecal matter, and blood spots when an infestation occurs. Bed bugs leave red bite marks on your arms, torso, neck or body as they feed.

What is a varied carpet beetle?

The official name for the varied carpet beetle is Anthrenus verbasci, they are small, about 3mm in length, and flat in their shape. But the main difference is that the varied carpet beetle does not feed on blood. Also once magnified, the varied carpet beetle larvae actually look like tiny furry caterpillars with little spines on them, whereas the bed bug larvae look like little worms. The varied carpet beetle from their name, feed on natural fibers when they are in larval form, such as wools, silks, fur and carpets.

Signs of carpet beetles

Carpet beetles are a nuisance pest and they will eat your fabrics. This can be costly, but they are not a risk to your health. It is difficult to see signs of carpet beetles because they tend to feed in dark undisturbed places, such as underneath furniture. You are actually much more likely to see the adult beetles themselves. Carpet beetles will get inside through any opening or space in the exterior of a property and lay their eggs near a food source.

Identifying carpet beetles before they hatch and start to breed and infest a property is very hard. If you are seeing a lot of carpet beetles, you can call on a pest professional to help control varied carpet beetles and stop them from returning.


  • Are varied carpet beetles dangerous?

    No, these insects are not dangerous. Carpet beetles prefer to devour fabrics like carpet, wool and other natural materials. They tend not to infest beds or around people in the same way bed bugs do. They are not blood-feeders and do not leave the bite marks that bed bugs do.

  • Are bed bugs dangerous?

    Bed bugs, despite being blood-feeders, have not yet been linked to any diseases. This may be due to the fact they tend to infest one place and feed on the same people, unlike mosquitoes which can feed on numerous people and animals. Most of the time bed bugs are hiding during the day and come out to feed at night, so you’ll find the red bite marks on your body in the morning.