Carpet Beetles in Bed: Signs, Control, And Prevention

Carpet beetles can live indoors and make their way onto the bed. While they don’t bite, their presence is off-putting. Carpet beetles can also damage natural-fiber bed sheets, blankets, pillows, and other bed covers.

As the name implies, carpet beetles love carpets. While they aren’t particularly interested in living on your bed, they can climb onto the bed when seeking a place to lay eggs or when looking for natural fibers such as cotton in cotton bedsheets.

As a result, you can see the larvae of carpet beetles in your bed, on the mattress, on pillows, or on blankets.

Do Carpet Beetles Live in Beds?

Carpet beetles can get into the bed to lay eggs or to eat through natural fiber bed sheets. Carpet beetle larvae are known to live in beds, especially those covered in cotton or silk sheets.

Natural fibers, hair, skin, and fur attract carpet beetles to the bed or the area of the bed.

Carpet beetles can get on the bed by moving up since they can climb walls or by flying as they can fly over short distances.

Adult carpet beetles rarely stay in bed if they only find synthetic bedsheets as they prefer animal-derived fabrics.

The larvae of carpet beetles might also grow inside your pillows if you have a feather-filled pillow.

Otherwise, carpet beetles will infest the bed as they infest other areas of the house as they don’t specifically seek out beds.

Carpet beetles don’t use the bed as the primary place to live when they invade a house. Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles prefer carpets and other natural fiber items to live on in your house.

Carpet beetles might make it on your bed looking for the following foods.

  • Feathers in pillows
  • Cotton
  • Animal hair
  • Human hair
  • Skin
  • Furs
  • Wool blankets
  • Silk linen

All of these animal-origin materials and fibers attract carpet beetles. The more natural fibers a bed is covered in the more it attracts carpet beetles.

Since carpet beetles can climb, they can easily make it to your bed on their own.

Pro tip: make sure to switch off the lights in your bedroom at night as carpet beetles are likely to move on your bed attracted to lights such as reading lights.

Carpet Beetle Identification

Carpet beetles grow up to 3.5-4mm. There are multi-colored bugs with an oval-shaped body.

Typical coloring is a mix of white, black, orange, and yellow.

Carpet beetles have a small head with visible short antennae. They resemble ladybugs in shape and size.

Varied Carpet Beetle
Varied Carpet Beetle

Why Should You Remove Carpet Beetles From Your Bed?

Carpet beetles don’t bite. They don’t even particularly like to be on your bed as adults. However, they might lay eggs and nymphs might grow on your bed.

Carpet beetles damage the natural fibers of your bedsheets.

While there’s no risk of carpet beetles biting you in bed, there’s a risk these insects will damage your bed. A heavy infestation might lead to holes in sheets and even in the mattress.

5 Signs of Carpet Beetle Infestation in Your Bed

The typical signs of carpet beetle infestation in your bed are similar to the signs of carpet beetle infestation in your home.

1. Seeing a carpet beetle

The first sign to take seriously is seeing a carpet beetle on the bed. At this time, you should thoroughly check the house and clean the bed as a single carpet beetle can lay hundreds of eggs and multiply at a fast rate.

Seeing a carpet beetle on the bed is also an indication carpet beetles are already in your house. They might be indoors as adults or as eggs or larvae.

2. Seeing carpet beetle larvae

Carpet beetle larvae
Carpet beetle larvae

Carpet beetle larvae are likelier to be seen on your bed since it provides a sheltered place for carpet beetles to lay eggs in.

You can recognize carpet beetle larvae by looking at their size (up to 5mm) and carrot shape body. Carpet beetle larvae are covered in hairs and it has a tan-brown color with visible bright stripes.

Whenever you see something that almost looks like a bug but which has an oval tapered shape with hairs on its back you can assume its carpet beetle larvae.

3. Seeing a carpet beetle anywhere in the house

Another clear sign a bed infestation is about to happen is seeing carpet beetles in your home. They can easily transition from towels in the bathroom or from rugs on the floor to your bed.

Even a single carpet beetle can be a sign of a serious problem.

You need to check all carpets, beds, towels, and blankets made from wool, cotton, or silk as well as to thoroughly clean your house when you see carpet beetles around.

4. Damaged sheets, pillows, or bed covers

An undisputed sign of carpet beetles in your bed is seeing damaged sheets. Holes in natural fiber sheets or holes in pillows are an indication of carpet beetles living in your bed.

These bugs are attracted to natural feather pillows. They might also be interested in eating your warm wintertime wool blanket covering your bed.

Cotton sheets are naturally attracting carpet beetles with their natural fibers.

You might also see carpet beetles on your bed in cabins where animal furs are used as bed decorations. Holes in animal furs decorating the bed are a sign of carpet beetle infestation.

5. Bare spots in bed covers

Almost any type of soft textile material can be chewed by carpet beetles, especially if it’s made from natural materials.

You might not see larvae or adult carpet beetles around the bed but when you see bare spots or bald spots on furs on the floor next to the bed you can expect these carpet beetles to be present in high numbers in the bedroom.

Carpet beetles might only make it out at night. You might not see them during the day when they’re very good at hiding in remote areas.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Your Bed And Mattress

Getting rid of carpet beetles on the bed is not an easy task. You need to get rid of carpet beetles in the house for them to be fully eliminated.

Wash bedsheets at a high temperature

The first step is to remove all bedsheets and pillows. They need to be washed at high temperatures and added to the dryer at high temperatures to kill carpet beetles and their larvae.

All sheets need to be clean before adding them back to the bed.

Vacuum the mattress and bed on all sides

The next step is to vacuum the mattress and the bed properly. Make sure you vacuum the bed thoroughly before adding the clean sheets back.

Some spaces that are hard to get include the underside of the bed which is where larvae might hide during the day.

Use boric acid

Boric acid is mixed with water and sprayed around the bed, on the floor, and around the house. You can add 1 tablespoon of boric acid to a spray bottle together with water and mix it well to dissolve before spraying.

Boric acid can be applied on all surfaces such as floors and walls but not on the bed itself.

Boric acid can be irritating to the skin. It can also cause mild eye irritation. It’s best to only spray it in the room and not on the bed or clothes.

Spray essential oils

Essential oils are known to kill carpet beetles. You can use cedar essential oil and spray it around the bed frame (only if not covered in textile fabrics) to kill carpet beetles.

Make sure not to spray soft fabrics as this essential oil can leave stains on the bed.

Use a steam cleaner

Similar to a vacuum cleaner, a steam cleaner can be successfully used to clear out all carpet beetles from the bed. It might be a good solution against carpet beetle eggs which are small and barely visible on white sheets.

Steam cleaning adds extra power to your vacuuming. Specifically made for upholstery, steam cleaners make for an excellent solution to draw carpet beetle larvae out of the bed and out of the mattress.

Make sure to set temperature settings on high as extra heat will kill more carpet beetles.

Update the bed

If all measures fail you might need to update your bed, specifically if it’s an old bed with significant carpet beetle damage.

You may need a new bed when you see the following signs of damage.

  • Holes in the mattress
  • Holes in bed upholstery
  • Dead carpet beetles inside the mattress

Call a pest control professional

If you still can’t control carpet beetles in bed it’s time to call a pest control professional. The infestation might be larger than the bed and it might be a job for a professional to deal with.

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles Get Into Your Bed

Preventing carpet beetles from getting in the bed is ideal compared to fighting to remove them once inside the bed.

Don’t eat in bed

One of the first steps to keep all pests out of bed is to avoid eating in bed. Food attracts all types of insects and bugs and including carpet beetles.

Food might not be the most attractive for carpet beetles but they can be attracted by its odors. Carpet beetles can use food to find other items they like to eat such as hair as humans live in areas with food.

Use synthetic bedsheets

Natural fabric bedsheets are known to attract carpet beetles. Cotton and silk bedsheets are particularly known to attract carpet beetle larvae.

Carpet beetle larvae might also damage synthetic fibers but to a lesser extent. If you truly want to keep carpet beetles out in a home that’s prone to carpet beetle invasions you might need to switch to synthetic bedsheets.

Vacuum carpets, furs, beds, and furniture

Frequent vacuuming is sufficient to remove carpet beetles and carpet beetle larvae from the carpets and the house.

You need to vacuum all areas, especially dark areas or spots that are difficult to reach as carpet beetles are attracted to them.

These beetles are known for looking for warm safe places to lay eggs and these are often spaces such as behind the furniture or deep in thick carpets that simple sweeping might not clean.

Furs and wintertime clothes also need to be washed and even vacuumed. You might need to store all furs in airtight bags to avoid moths and carpet beetle damaging them completely.

Store clothing and bedsheets properly

All clothes should be clean and dry in the house, together with all bed sheets, blankets, and covers. They might already be damaged by carpet beetles before you place them on the bed, further facilitating them invading the mattress.

Since the mattress is made from foam or sponge, carpet beetles will prefer to stay on your cotton or silk sheets.

As a result, you need to clean all of these bed sheets and blankets before putting them on the bed.

Clean house chimneys

Chimneys are known as easy access points for carpet beetles in the winter. Whenever there isn’t any smoke coming out carpet beetles can make their way inside the home through chimneys.

Keeping them clean or sealing them if not used is recommended when it comes to keeping carpet beetles out.


Can carpet beetles fly?

Carpet beetles can fly. They can fly from carpets to beds and furniture. Carpet beetles often fly indoors through open windows or chimneys. They can also crawl inside the house.

Can carpet beetles jump?

Carpet beetles can only fly or crawl. They might crawl onto beds or fly on beds. They have both horizontal and vertical crawling capacity.

Can carpet beetles hurt you?

Carpet beetles only eat their way through clothes, furs, carpets, and bedsheets without hurting people. They don’t bite or sting people as they move toward animal-derived fabrics.

Can carpet beetles harm pets?

Carpet beetles can’t harm pets. They don’t have teeth and they cannot bite pets like other pests. Carpet beetles are only interested in animal-derived fabrics such as clothes, carpets, and bedsheets.

Can carpet beetles cause allergies?

Carpet beetles can cause a series of allergies. Most commonly they are known for causing red skin or itchy skin symptoms. Some people might have instant allergic reactions to either carpet beetles or their larvae.

Can carpet beetles travel on clothes?

Carpet beetles easily travel on clothes. They can attack wintertime clothes such as furs and move from house to house as you wear those close visiting friends or family.

Can carpet beetles live and lay eggs in your hair?

Carpet beetles may lay eggs in your hair, mainly attracted to the protein in hair and its natural oils. They rarely live in hair as they mainly move indoors to lay eggs.

Can carpet beetles climb walls?

Carpet beetles can climb walls and furniture. They have excellent crawling capacity to move up and down vertical surfaces. They don’t refrain from crawling over all surfaces of the house to seek out food.

Do carpet beetles eat cotton?

Carpet beetles are known to eat cotton. This is one of the most common materials used for bedsheets. Carpet beetles eat through linen also commonly used on beds.

Do carpet beetles eat paper?

Carpet beetles may eat books but they don’t see paper as one of their favorite foods. They mostly resort to animal-derived goods such as leather, furs, and cotton first.

Do carpet beetles eat wood?

Carpet beetles don’t eat wood. They are known for eating animal products such as wool, leather, hair, and skin.

Do carpet beetles eat bed bugs?

Carpet beetles are mainly known for eating fabrics of animal nature. They don’t eat bed bugs or other bugs. Most damages made by carpet beetles are to fabrics such as carpets and bedsheets.

Do carpet beetles burrow in your skin?

Carpet beetles don’t burrow into human or animal skin. They only eat through skin pieces on the ground and the leather of shoes or clothes. Carpet beetles can’t bite their way through human skin.

Can carpet beetles get in your ears?

Carpet beetles themselves aren’t interested in your ears. Carpet beetle larvae which might be present in high numbers on your bed might crawl into your ears. They are mainly attracted by human hair so they get into ears by accident.

Do carpet beetles die in winter?

Carpet beetles can’t survive very low temperatures. They die in freezing temperatures. Carpet beetles might survive winters whenever they shelter indoors either as adults or as larvae.

Does vinegar kill carpet beetles?

Vinegar can kill carpet beetles and carpet beetles larvae. Cloths dipped in vinegar are used to wipe the surfaces where they live. Vinegar sprays can be used to directly apply vinegar to carpet beetles and kill them.

Does baking soda kill carpet beetles?

Baking soda is detrimental and potentially fatal to carpet beetles. It’s mainly used as a preventive solution against carpet beetles. Continuously sprinkling baking soda around a house gets rid of carpet beetles.

Does Raid kill carpet beetles?

Pyrethrin in Ride kills carpet beetles. The spray uses other active chemical ingredients that kill carpet beetles on the spot.

Does bleach kill carpet beetles?

Diluted bleach kills carpet beetles. It’s applied on floors and walls to kill carpet beetles as well as other more dangerous pests that make their way indoors to lay eggs.

Does borax kill carpet beetles?

Borax or boric acid is known to kill carpet beetles. Typical application includes water dilution and spraying the mix on the larvae of carpet beetles to get rid of them for good.

Does diatomaceous earth kill carpet beetles?

Diatomaceous earth kills carpet beetles and larvae through dehydration. It’s used against a wide range of pests and it acts from the outside by damaging their exoskeleton and eventually killing carpet beetles.

Does heat kill carpet beetles?

Extreme heat can kill carpet beetles, but only when it lasts at least 1 hour. Clothes with carpet beetles can be added to dryers on high heat settings. This kills carpet beetles and larvae.


Carpet beetles can make it onto the bed as larvae or as adults. They are inclined to climb the bed whenever you use natural fiber bedsheets such as those made from cotton or silk.

Carpet beetles are rarely present only on the bed inside the house. They make their way onto the bed as they move around the house looking for food.