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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/microscopic bugs in hair are black and disperse white flakes on my face and body.


QUESTION: I dont have head lice. I know this for sure.  I thought it was scabies and it may be, but I found a tiny, tiny black bug and a nit in my hair. This was after taking bleach baths and using neem soap.
I use a magnifying glass to see it. its got long lanky legs,black, looks similar to a spider. the nit is a reddish color and I find webbing like substance in my nit removal comb. I have itchy red bumps on my body. when I use a bleach bath little hard seeds, larvae pop out of body.  I use neem soap and tea tree oils after bath. I traveled on airplane and a lady told me that I had a tiny spider on my back and knocked it off.  within hours I had a bad stinging bites on my head. this was in March 2013.  I have been researching and trying everything to get rid of them.  can u help me. or at least tell me where to take it to get it identified locally.  I am in Memphis,tn. and I have specimen on scotch tape.
Thanks for your help


Promise me that you will read my entire answer before thinking that I am dismissing your questions and concerns.  You must understand I am sympathetic to your plight and the extremes you have gone to for a resolution to this.  That said, here goes....

This is a classic case of a malady that goes by the unfortunate name of "delusory parasitosis," whereby a person PERCEIVES that insects or mites are biting them, crawling under their skin, or otherwise causing sensations and symptoms when no such organisms are present.

The diagnosis should NOT be interpreted as mental illness, that the person is "crazy," or otherwise has compromised mental faculties.  The sensations are real and should be interpreted as a physical manifestation of some physical nervous system disorder.

As luck would have it, I received in my in-box two links that pertain to this discussion:

I wish I had even more expertise in this matter because questions like yours cross my desk with some degree of frequency.  I am embarrassed that so many entomologists and dermatologists either ignore such requests or try to pacify them in a condescending manner.

This is all I can offer at this time.  My sincerest best wishes for a good outcome to this.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Eric, I now have samples of these mites or buggers on scotch tape so where do I send them to get them Identified?  They are real and crawling on my body and I take tape and pull them off and sealed them in plastic bags. So, again, I request a place to send these samples to get them professionally identified?


You may have difficulty getting anyone to take you seriously, as I mentioned before.  Many an entomologist has looked at "bugs" on adhesive tape and found no animal whatsoever, so just be prepared for that kind of reaction.

You could try the entomology department at University of Tennessee; you could also try the public health department (vector control division will have at least one staff entomologist).  Those are the places I would start.

Best wishes for a successful outcome, whatever form it takes.



Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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