Entomology (Study of Bugs)/small red ticks


I live in south TX and when I opened my back door I found 3or4 seperate spoon fulls of small red ticks they were bunched up they are ticks though wondering what kind and if the might be dangerous

I live in San Antonio and our warm spells have wreaked havoc on the insects.  As for ticks, there are a couple of possible scenarios:

1) these masses of ticks represent a group that fed on a host and then dropped off, going to find a quiet place to digest and then molt to the next stage.
2) these masses of ticks represent a clutch of eggs laid by a now dead adult female that have hatched and are maturing to the point where they will soon look for a host to feed upon.

It is nearly impossible to identify ticks before they reach adulthood because the larval stages look nearly identical.

Possibilities include the Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) and the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) in this situation.  Google these for more information.

These ticks are not considered dangerous, but rather a nuisance.

Treat any masses you find with a spray insecticide...even a ant/roach spray will work fine.  This will reduce the number of ticks next spring.  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs


I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.


22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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