Bugs that look like tick


If your search query is “Bugs that look like a tick”. Then this means that you must be worried either with the reason that there are bed bugs that look like ticks in my house or there are bugs that look like ticks on dogs. 

What are ticks?

Ticks are arachnids that belong to the family Ixodidae. They are blood-sucking parasites that feed on a wide range of hosts, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and even humans. Ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. They are known for their ability to transmit diseases to their hosts, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.

Why is tick identification important?

Proper tick identification is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, not all tick bites lead to disease transmission, but early detection and removal of ticks greatly reduce the risk of infection. Secondly, many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms, making diagnosis and treatment more challenging. Finally, some tick lookalikes are beneficial or harmless insects that play important roles in the ecosystem, so mistaking them for ticks can result in unnecessary harm or pesticide use

Bugs that look like ticks

Spider beetles

Spider beetles (Ptinidae) are small, reddish-brown insects that resemble ticks in shape and size. They are found in stored products such as cereals, grains, and spices, and can infest pantries and cabinets. Spider beetles are not known to transmit diseases, but their presence can indicate poor food storage and hygiene practices.

Assassin bugs

Assassin bugs (Reduviidae) are predators that feed on other insects, including ticks. They are often mistaken for ticks due to their elongated bodies and long, thin legs. Assassin bugs can deliver painful bites if provoked, but they are not known to transmit diseases to humans or pets.

Carpet beetles

Carpet beetles (Dermestidae) are common household pests that feed on animal-based materials such as wool, fur, and feathers. They are small and oval-shaped, with brown or black bodies covered in tiny hairs. Carpet beetles are not known to transmit diseases, but their larvae can cause damage to carpets, clothing, and other textiles.


Chiggers are the larvae of mites in the Trombiculidae family.

Chiggers are not ticks, but they are often mistaken for them due to their small size and reddish color. They can cause intense itching and rashes if they bite humans or animals, but they do not transmit diseases.

Seed ticks

Seed ticks are the juvenile form of ticks and are often mistaken for spider or carpet beetles due to their size and appearance. They are tiny and have six legs instead of the eight legs that adult ticks have. Seed ticks can transmit diseases just like adult ticks, so it’s important to identify and remove them promptly.


Booklice (Liposcelididae) are small, wingless insects that are often found in books, paper products, and other organic materials. They are not parasitic and do not bite humans or animals. Booklice are harmless but can indicate high humidity levels in the environment, which can lead to mold and other issues.

Read the Ultimate guide on getting rid of bed bugs in 2023

1. Look for the Features of the Tick

The shape of the tick can be observed multiple times. If you observe the shape of the tick and the time when it has an empty stomach then the shape is different when the stomach is filled with blood. 

In case that has an empty stomach then it will look like an oval. In case the stomach is filled with blood then the body will be filled and grown in size. It looks plump but the head does not affect it. 

2. The length of the Bug

The length of the bug is also dependent on the fact that when it took food. Even in some cases, it may increase in size which is equal to the bean of lima. Even it will take hours to become normal in size.

3. Look for the hard body

Check if the outer shell of the bug is hard or not. Usually, this outer shell works as a hard protective layer. 

Even some bugs have flexible outer shells. This flexible outer shell is only found in some types of ticks. The majority has a strong exoskeleton. If you are living in the Western area of the United States or you are a habitat of the South Eastern portion of Canada. The chances are high that you may have an encounter with the soft exoskeleton ticks. 

4. Look for the Star

Try to find the star if it is at the back of the skeleton. This means that the bug you are dealing with is the tick. In case you do not find this on the back of the tick. This doesn’t mean that the bug under observation is the tick. But if the bug does have this sign then this means that the bug is a tick.

5. Look for the legs

Check the legs of the bug. If the color of the legs of the bug is darker than the entire body. This means that the bug is a tick. As the tick has darker-colored legs as per the color of the body of the bug. This is the feature that provides you with the assurance that the bug under observation is a tick. 

6. Wings and Antenna

Look for the wings and the antenna. If the tick has wings and an antenna then this is good this means that the bugs under observation are not the tick. As the ticks do not have the wings. The same is true for antennas. The ticks do not have antennas either. Weevils that look like ticks are known as Poplar. To distinguish it from the tick. This is enough to know that it has both the antenna and the wings. 

Bugs that look like tick

7. Tick-like a bug with 6 legs

Try to count the legs of the bugs. If the bug has 6 legs and is identical to a tick even then this is not a tick. A tick has more than 6 legs. It means that if you capture a tick and count its legs then it will be 8 legs. If you count less than 6 or more than 8 then this is not a tick you are counting on.

8. Red bugs that look like ticks

Billbugs resemble a lot with the tick. But of course, these are not the ticks. Who can one tell by looking at these if these are ticks or not? A difference is present between the tick and the bug. The difference is that the billbug travels in the group. So if you saw a traveling bug alone the chances are high that you have seen a tick. As the ticks do not travel in groups. 

9. Pain

Pain is another feature because of which you can find out if you are bitten by a bug or not. If you experience sharp pain this means that you are not bitten by the tick. As in the case of the tick bite. The pain is mild. But afterward, you may develop the infection.

10. Color of the bite

The immune system of the body is responsible for changing the color of the bite site into red. Moreover, you may develop rashes after the bite. As it happens this is the time to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

11. Body attachment

This may also be a possibility that the tick may be attached to your body even after it has bitten you. Try to find out if the tick is attached or not. If it is so then. Try to get rid of the tick as soon as possible by removing it from yourself.

Tick prevention tips

Prevention is key when it comes to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Here are some tips to keep ticks and tick lookalikes at bay:


  • Keep your lawn and bushes trimmed to reduce the tick habitat
  • Create a barrier between wooded areas and your yard with gravel or mulch
  • Use insecticides or natural tick repellents to treat your yard

Pet care

  • Keep your pets on a tick prevention regimen prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Check your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors
  • Avoid walking your pets in wooded or grassy areas

Clothing choices

  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing to make ticks easier to spot
  • Tuck pants into socks or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs
  • Use tick repellent on your clothing and exposed skin

Tick checks

  • Perform tick checks on yourself, your children, and your pets after spending time outdoors
  • Remove ticks promptly using tweezers or a tick removal tool
  • Monitor yourself and your pets for any signs of tick-borne illness, such as fever or rash


Ticks are a serious concern, but not all creepy crawlies that resemble them are dangerous. By learning how to identify ticks and tick lookalikes, you can reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases and avoid unnecessary harm to beneficial insects. Remember to take preventive measures such as landscaping, pet care, clothing choices, and tick checks to keep you and your family safe from ticks and tick lookalikes.


What diseases can ticks transmit to humans?

Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease

Are all tick lookalikes harmless?

No, some tick lookalikes such as chiggers and seed ticks can still transmit diseases to humans and animals.

“Prevention is better than cure when it comes to tick bites and tick-borne illnesses.”