How Do I Know If It Is Carpet Beetles Or Bed Bugs In My Pittsburgh Home?

Girl sleeping with dog

Both of these insects can cause you to have a number of bumps on your skin with an associated rash. If you're waking up with what you think are multiple rashy bites, here are a few ways you can determine whether or not you're dealing with carpet beetles or bed bugs.

Inspect the Rash

The first step is to inspect the rash. There are some characteristics that can help you tell the difference between a carpet beetle rash and bed bug bites.

Carpet Beetle Rash — Carpet beetles don't bite. In fact, adult carpet beetles don't even cause you to get a rash. They're completely harmless. It is the larvae of carpet beetles that cause all those little rashy bumps. And those bumps aren't bites. They are an allergic reaction to the hairs on the larvae of carpet beetles. As carpet beetle larvae crawl around in your bed, feeding on natural fibers in sheets and bedding, they can come in contact with your skin. Where the hairs touch, a bump can appear and a rash can form. If you have an extreme allergy, you could have large unsightly welts. Most of the time, carpet beetle rashes look like random red dots on the skin.

Bed Bugs — If you have wounds from bed bugs, they will look like bites, not bumps. If there is swelling, it can be minor or major depending on several factors. When bed bugs first infest a home, bites are usually minor and not noticeable. Over time, as the bugs (and the bites) become larger, the infestation is obvious. Adult bed bugs can cause painful welts on the skin. But before you get painful welts, you'll see smaller bumps. These bumps will appear to follow a path or line across the skin. This is because each individual bed bug will feed multiple times (often three times). The bumps will not appear random.  

Inspect Your Home

If you can't determine what is causing your bumpy rash, the next step is to do an inspection of your home. You should start with the bed since that is where you got the rash. Search every fold, crease, gap, and crack.

Carpet Beetle Larvae — If carpet beetles are to blame, you may find hairy mealworms attached to sheets, pillowcases, pillows, bedding, or your mattress. You may also find adult carpet beetles crawling around. They may be a mottled mix of black, tan, white and yellow, entirely black, or have a fiery orange color mixed in with black and white. It depends on the species.

Bed Bugs — If bed bugs are to blame, you'll need to inspect every tight space carefully. These bugs hate the light and have a strong preference for being in tight spaces. When searching for these bugs, also look for the signs they leave, such as shed skins, black fecal stains, brown bloodstains, and tiny white eggs.

What to do if You Have an Infestation

Both of these insects have the ability to cause you serious frustration. Carpet beetles can damage your belongings. Bed bugs can torment you with ongoing bites. While neither is known to be a source of disease, it is a whole lot nicer to not have them around. If you live in Pittsburgh, let Witt Pest Management help you resolve your pest control issue. Whether you need bed bug treatments in Pittsburgh or carpet beetle control, we've got you covered. We have a reputation for friendly, effective pest control and over a century of experience in the pest control industry. When bugs get in, we know how to get them out.

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