What To Do If You Find Bed Bugs Lurking In Your Carpet

Even though bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) usually hide in your mattress, these critters can infest your carpet, too, especially if you've got one with long fibers. These pests will hide in the creases and crevices of the rug during the day and come out at night to feast on your blood. If you're lucky, their bites will probably cause some itching and be only slightly painful. However, in extreme cases, these bites can lead to skin rashes and cause an allergic reaction in you and your pets, per the CDC. So, if you find bed bugs lurking in your carpet and would rather not harbor them, you need to get rid of them at once.

Getting rid of them immediately after you notice them is essential since they can easily crawl from your floors and spread around your home, hiding in unexpected places and turning it into their playground. Moreover, the females lay about five to eight eggs weekly, increasing the number of bugs hiding in your home by the day. But to eradicate these tiny, wingless creatures, you must first identify signs of a bed bug infestation.

Identifying a bed bug infestation

Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and possess a flat, oval body. However, since they range between 1 to 7 millimeters, they might not exactly be visible to the naked eye. Although you can arm yourself with a torch and magnifying glass to check if they're actually lurking in your carpet, you might not notice them since these critters can easily blend in and become one with the runner.

So, the easiest method to detect bed bugs is to place carpet tape in straight lines or around the length of your furniture. While running around your home at night, these critters will get stuck to the tape and be unable to move, giving you irrefutable evidence of their presence. Alternatively, if you see a bug on your runner, place it in an airtight bag and send it to an extension agent to determine if you're dealing with bed bugs or not. You can also look for their dark droppings on your light-colored rug, or on your walls.

Eliminating bed bugs from your carpet

To keep bed bugs from turning you into their personal blood bank, clear out your room. Spray your furniture with tea tree oil and shift them away from the infested space. Next, wash and dry your clothes and other items that can be laundered, as heat will kill bed bugs. Place the leftover items in airtight bags before moving them away. Once the space is clear, sprinkle diatomaceous earth liberally on the carpet and let it sit for at least 24 hours — wear a mask and keep your pets away, as the fine powder can irritate lungs (per the Journal of Insect Science). This abrasive powder will dissolve these pests' outer, waxy coating and dehydrate them, eventually causing their death, per Zapp Bug. But keep in mind that it might take around seven to 17 days for this powder to kill the bugs.

Now, vacuum your carpet to prevent diatomaceous earth or the dead or living bugs from moving away. Don't leave out any nook or cranny, and go over the rug two to three times to ensure you get the bugs and their eggs. The good news is that since these pests remain close to the surface, it'll be easier to vacuum them up. Tie up the contents of the vacuum cleaner in an airtight bag and place it outside. For added security, steam your infested carpet at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill leftover bugs. And lastly, there is no substitute for professional treatment.