7 insects that look like ticks, but aren't

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Ricky Joseph

There are some beetles, weevils and even other arachnids that look like ticks. But to differentiate them, you first need to know what a tick looks like.

Ticks are arachnids, which means they will always have eight legs. To know the differences, you need to analyze the physical aspects of each of the creatures.


Image: iStock

Weevils are often mistaken for ticks. This is due to their brown or dark coloration, similar to those arachnids. In the nymph stage, they are small, and can be mistaken for ticks due to their physical appearance.

Weevils are not dangerous to the human species, and it is possible to differentiate it from the tick by the number of legs, since the latter will always have six, as well as other arachnids (spiders and scorpions).

Ticks are also wingless, and weevils in the nymph stage are.

Spider beetle

The spider beetle looks like a spider, as its antennae create an illusion near the top of its head, mimicking the arachnid's front legs. They are also not dangerous to humans, and you can also tell them apart by the number of legs, as they only have six.

In addition, the bright carapace coloration is also a noticeable difference from the opaque color of most tick species.


Image: Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock

Some species of mites are mistaken for ticks, such as the clover mite and red velvet mite. They are also arachnids, not insects. But these species are very small, being the first clue that they are not a tick, which is noticeably larger than any of these mites.

In addition, the reddish coloration of these two species is also a difference, as ticks never have such a color.

Brown bug

Brown Bed Bugs are not dangerous to humans, although they can be annoying, mainly because of their unpleasant odor. Their body is brown, with orange-red markings, something common in many species of ticks.

However, the number of legs also differentiates the Brown Bed Bug from the tick, which always has eight. In addition, the Brown Bed Bug in the nymph stage has wings, something the tick never has.

Carpet beetle

Image: Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock

Carpet beetles can be a nuisance in the home, but they are different from ticks, and are not parasites. They have rounded shells, and are brown and white in their coloration, but the number of legs again will tell the difference between these creatures and ticks.

Beetles always have six legs, and ticks, eight. In addition, the carapace of the carpet beetle is shiny, while that of the tick is matte and dull.

Fleas and lice

These two parasites are insects, not arachnids like the tick. Fleas can be identified by their laterally flat, segmented bodies and translucent brown coloration. Lice have long, segmented bodies, crab-like legs, and a transparent body.

Both fleas and lice are quite small, but fleas spread dangerous diseases, while lice are more annoying than dangerous.

Both lice and fleas have six legs, while ticks have eight, as well as a rounded, opaque-colored body.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs do not carry the dangerous diseases seen in some species of ticks, but they are still parasites. Their coloration is reddish brown, their body is oval, and so they can be mistaken for a tick.

But in addition to having six legs, being an insect, bedbugs are also larger. Also, in general, the body of bedbugs is flatter, and that of ticks is more rented.

Also, their number will vary as you will only see from one to four ticks on your clothing, while bed bugs can cause infestations as they reproduce quickly.

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.