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QUESTION: Hello,

Would really appreciate some help in identifying these tiny bugs, have found several in my house the last few days. Have not been able to find anything from searching online myself. They are about the size of a full stop/period "." possibly smaller. They all look exactly the same as the one in the pictures I have attached.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Sincerely, skin crawling :)

ANSWER: Brid,

I'm not 100% sure but I believe these are nymphal ticks. If you have pets that spend time outdoors it is possible that these hitched a ride on them. They can also be transported on us, often in clothing. They do not breed indoors so once they are found are easy to eliminate. You might also treat your pets for fleas and ticks (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/flea_con.html), I prefer the topical meds like Frontline rather than flea and tick collars. Post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis


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QUESTION: Hi Jack,

thanks a million for your response, i do indeed have pets, cats, dogs, bird and a hedgehog :)  i did a clean sweep of them all and the house, just in case some were loose and in doing so i came across more of the little critters.

these are even smaller again maybe a quarter of the size, but identical to the first ones i found. they are a slightly lighter shade of rusty brown and much easier to squish unlike the bigger ones. i have included a pic of these too, sorry for lack of clarity in the image but they are so tiny and move so quick. i also found even smaller ones again, which are totally translucent i cant pick them up with the camera at all, but from inspection with magnifier they appear to be the same shape and size, six legs and what appear to be very long antenna.

i am wondering does that rule out the possibility of them being ticks as at larval stage with ticks that i have seen online they only have six legs. i appreciate you taking time to have a look, i am really curious now as to what they may be or if you have any further ideas. have we found a new species? :)

ANSWER: Can you tell me where you are finding these mites? Are they associated with areas where the pets sleep? Also, how are you able to photograph them if they are as small as 1/4 the size of a "."? These are not larvae. You also may want to collect a few into alcohol using a damp cotton swab (Q-tip) in case it is necessary to have them looked at under a microscope.

Jack DeAngelis


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QUESTION: I managed to find and trap one of the smaller ones on some sticky tape, its upside down in this image and you can just about make out its legs and antenna? again the clarity is poor, apologies.

I have found them mostly in the bathroom, utility room and in the bird room, not seen them anywhere on any of the pets or where they sleep. I am a keen gardener though and could be the most likely culprit for bringing them inside, as the utility room and bathroom would be most often where I would go first after being outside.   

I use a really strong light, steady hand and camera on full zoom. I used a dime I had to give you some idea of scale (i actually live in ireland). If I find any of the bigger ones I will take a picture of them with the dime, but I have not seen any since I did the clean up.

Thanks again for your interest and help.

Answer
These mites look very different. It is probably time to have them examined locally so they can be put under a microscope. If there's a university nearby they may have an entomology department. The best option (if you can get a sample to them) is the Natural History Museum in London as they have an entomology department (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/departments-and-staff/life-sciences/insects.htm) and insect id service, plus excellent acrologists. Collect as many of the mites as possible in alcohol. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Jack DeAngelis  

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Organizations
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

Awards and Honors
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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