Carpet Beetles are Welcome in my House if it Means not Having Bed Bugs!

By Marcia Anderson

Several months ago I received an e-mail from a city resident who was getting bites at night that she thought were from a spider. Large, and itchy, but with a burning sensation that told her they weren’t mosquito bites. The problem escalated until she had over 40 red welts on her legs. “I was getting groups of about 5-20 ‘bites’ every night, and my husband had none, and he wore boxers! Also, after the first few nights, I was wearing heavy sweat pants to bed tucked into my socks, and still found marks! “

Carpet beetles are cariophites, which means they live on dead organic materials

She cleaned and vacuumed everything in the bedroom and changed the sheets, but the next morning she still had a few bites. She then went on the internet, and found that this was NOT the work of a spider, but possibly bed bugs. They quarantined the bedroom after thoroughly cleaning and spraying everything with over-the-counter pesticides, but no evidence of ANY bugs was found. She checked the sheets for blood spots, actual bugs – dead or alive, and shed skins, but found none.

One pest company had given her a quote of $1200 to come and treat for bed bugs, but a second pest company suspected carpet beetles instead of bed bugs due to the fact that the wife was getting the ‘bites’ and the husband was not. Some people are allergic to carpet beetles and some are not, however, almost everyone has some allergy to bed bugs. The pest company arrived, and upon inspection, no bed bugs were found, however, a few dead carpet beetles were discovered.

Just like bed bugs: 1.) carpet beetles are attracted to you when you are sleeping because of the CO2 gas you exhale, 2.) carpet beetles are very shy, so they are hard to find, and 3.) carpet beetles also usually come out in the wee hours of the morning. The difference is: bed bugs bite, but carpet beetles eat natural fibers, like wool blankets, natural fibers and feathers, and do not bite. More