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Thread: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

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    United States Moderator Noelle's Avatar
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    Default What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    If there is anyone who is good at identifying insects on Avalon, I sure could use your help.

    About a month ago, an insect infestation began at our central Florida home, both inside and outside. The problem is consuming so much of my time and energy, and I know no more about what I am dealing with right now than I did when it started, despite talking to a pest expert, neighbors and others along with countless Internet searches.

    First, I need to point out that our family includes a German Shepherd and several cats, which I don't treat with pesticides. I usually control pests with regular grooming, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar, and other non-toxic solutions. We do get regular pest service (eco-friendly) to control fire ants, fleas, ticks, etc. outside, and have had no issues with insects for at least four years.

    We have a fenced in dog area in the backyard, which backs up to a canal. There are two oak trees and three fruit trees in the backyard too. When the dog is in the backyard, this mystery creature jumps on his feet, legs, belly, and other areas. The size and shape of the bug varies from brown specks, which I find mostly on the dog's feet and legs, to slightly larger reddish-brown dots (I see no legs on these things). My thinking is they are the same bug, and the difference in size and color reflects their age.

    The cats are kept indoors, though they have access to our large screened-in porch. Not only are the insects coming in and infesting the cats via the dog, but they are flying through the screens.

    A few other important things to note: they have white nits, which I have to comb off the animals every day; they seem to be sucking blood (I've smashed a few with blood in them); and they often attach to the animals' chins or crawl into their ears.

    I've tried the following: diatomaceous earth, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, natural pest control for pet (usually contains peppermint oil). All seem to provide some relief, but it's temporary.

    I have asked several neighbors if they have noticed this bug -- all people with pets -- and so far no one else is experiencing it.

    Any help in identifying the bug would be greatly appreciated. Right now, I'm considering chiggers, seed ticks, or some unknown mite-lice hybrid.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Look like young ticks to me but we would need a close-up to establish more I think.

    PS: I've heard the term 'Chiggers' and assumed it was a colloquial nickname for some kind of tick?

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    United States Avalon Member mojo's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    looking more like bedbugs but the image is not definitive

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    United States Avalon Member william r sanford72's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    could bee seed ticks. Cant really tell from the pictures..sorry.. tho that's what they remind me of and kinda look like and where and how your finding them.

    www.parasiticpests.com/seed-ticks.htm

    What are seed ticks? - Seed tick is the name given to ticks when they are going through two of the immature stages of their lifecycle. The term does not refer to specific specie of tick. Ticks have four stages to their lifecycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Seed ticks can be used as a description for both the larvae and the nymphs (as they look like little seeds). Once the female adult tick mates and deposits it’s eggs (in the thousands), the eggs hatch to six legged larvae which then crawl and search nearby for small animals (hosts) to begin feeding on. Once the parasites have successfully had a blood meal, they fall off the host, moult and become nymphs (with eight legs). Once again, the nymphs then repeat the process of finding a host and feeding on their blood. They too fall off and moult and then emerge as adults. The adult finds a further host (or possibly the same one), feeds and once well fed, is ready to mate and produce eggs.

    Seed ticks on dogs - These parasites are normally found in large numbers (hundreds if not thousands). Therefore if you or your dog have a seed tick, it is highly likely that there will be many more nearby or where you have recently been...

    ................................

    Hope that helps..

    William.
    TRUTH and BALANCE

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    Scotland Avalon Member Ewan's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Quote Posted by william r sanford72 (here)
    could bee seed ticks. Cant really tell from the pictures..sorry.. tho that's what they remind me of and kinda look like and where and how your finding them.
    William, you have Bee's on the brain.

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    Virgin Islands Avalon Member TargeT's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    not seeing the leggs rules out ticks, their legs are very visible


    it's not fleas (too big also),


    and it's not mites (mites are super super small)


    you've got something else there...

    Looks like dirt to me.. haha


    Quote First, I need to point out that our family includes a German Shepherd and several cats, which I don't treat with pesticides. I usually control pests with regular grooming, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar, and other non-toxic solutions. We do get regular pest service (eco-friendly) to control fire ants, fleas, ticks, etc. outside, and have had no issues with insects for at least four years.
    Just remember... Hormesis is REAL and WORKS!

    low level exposures to toxins is actually very very good for you, better than avoiding them all together. The key is to keep the exposure in the lower levels.

    so uh,, don't be afraid of some Bravecto

    I use that on my 14(?) dogs and have for years it's really amazing stuff; and takes quite a bit less work than your methods, but then I deal in volume; so different techniques apply.
    Last edited by TargeT; 26th April 2018 at 18:04.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Some of these images seem to match LadyM - (WARNING: some of these are gross)

    https://www.google.com/search?q=tick...ih=923#imgrc=_

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    Virgin Islands Avalon Member TargeT's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    nah, definitely not a tick, even when they are as small as they can get the legs are SUPER visible.

    (I deal with hundreds of these lil guys every year... when the eggs hatch we call it a "tick bloom" haha)

    Luckily with Bravecto none of the ticks attach to our animals. (we use a topical spray on the horses).
    There was a 1: 400,000,000,000,000 chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?

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    United States Moderator Noelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Thanks, everyone, for the responses, especially to you, Kiwi, for totally grossing me out.

    I know. I wish had better images. I will try to get some more, though all I have for a camera is my iPhone.

    Do bed bug problems begin in backyards and head indoors?

    It was the pest control guy who "guessed" it was chiggers.

    These critters are everywhere in and outside of my home. I vacuum twice a day and lint roll floors and furniture constantly to remove them.
    Last edited by Noelle; 26th April 2018 at 19:47.

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    Avalon Member Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    I've experienced chiggers outside of Abilene TX - not something that one would want to experience again... over 600 bites inside of 2 hours totally with the critters totally thriving off DeepWoods OFF !

    Looks like mites to me.. http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/tropical-en...st_mites.shtml take a look at that page..

    I believe one can take a strip of masking tape, lay it out and capture enough of the critters so that u can send the sample in a plastic bag to the University for identification and a recommended treatment.

    Sample submissions website : http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/plantdiagno...s-and-contact/

    Quote Our services include analysis of plant material for bacterial, fungal, viral, and nematode pathogens as well as the identification of insect pests. All diagnoses include appropriate control measures when available.
    == updating ==

    http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/about-us/contact-us/

    For submitting bug/insect samples:

    Quote Contact Us
    Please contact the following people for help with your specific questions about the department:

    Reception
    Ms. Nancy Sanders (352) 273-3901
    nsanders@ufl.edu

    The INSECT ID LAB:
    http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/insectid/

    Quote Need to name that bug?
    A host of experts is available to help Floridians identify any insect or related arthropod. If your mystery creature has six or more legs, the UF Insect ID Lab is the place to send it.

    In most cases when you send a specimen to the Insect ID Lab, manager Lyle Buss will review it, identify it and respond with the result.

    If it is an unusual specimen, Mr. Buss forwards it to a commodity or taxonomic specialist within the UF/IFAS Extension System or the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry. Mr. Buss will send you the final identification results.

    Read instructions and complete the form to begin the process.

    You may email Lyle Buss, or call him at (352) 273-3933.
    ljbuss@ufl.edu
    Last edited by Bob; 26th April 2018 at 19:46.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Quote Posted by Bob (here)
    I've experienced chiggers outside of Abilene TX - not something that one would want to experience again... over 600 bites inside of 2 hours totally with the critters totally thriving off DeepWoods OFF !

    Looks like mites to me.. http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/tropical-en...st_mites.shtml take a look at that page..

    I believe one can take a strip of masking tape, lay it out and capture enough of the critters so that u can send the sample in a plastic bag to the University for identification and a recommended treatment.

    Sample submissions website : http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/plantdiagno...s-and-contact/

    Quote Our services include analysis of plant material for bacterial, fungal, viral, and nematode pathogens as well as the identification of insect pests. All diagnoses include appropriate control measures when available.
    Thanks, Bob. Good idea! I have those sticky lint rollers that I use to pick them up off the floors. I'll bag a few samples from them.

    TargeT: I am going to research Bravecto. Thanks for the tip.

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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    LadyM - I did just update my post for the U of Florida to include their INSECT ID LAB (see the update at the bottom of the post).

    RE the sticky tape, pull it off the roller, and place it in a few spots outside and inside, and then in separate plastic bags for the specimen sample.

    The labs want as fresh as possible samples.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Nasty. Looks like some kind of mite, or weevil maybe. Having a profound distaste for anything with more than 4 legs, I truly hate bugs! I hope you are able to get rid of these pesky things whatever they are.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Oh boy. These things.

    I think they're called weevils? Little bugs that come out of flour.

    Are they tiny, and sort of brownish black, and round in shape? Do they have a sort of rough texture, not quite smooth?

    If so, then I'm pretty sure you have weevils. Hard to be sure from that picture though.

    My mother had an infestation a couple of years back. It was a nightmare. Hundreds of them would litter the floor, every week. Daily she would sweep up dozens of their little corpses, all in the kitchen. We caulked every last little hair of a crack in the kitchen. We set out vinegar and honey and traps. Nothing worked. Finally, out of desperatation, we called in an exterminator and had the kitchen gassed. That stopped them for about a month, then they came back.

    Then one day, my mom was cleaning out the pantry and cupboards, and out, way in the back of our pantry, behind the trash, on the floor, was an old bag of flour she had forgotten about. It had been there for years, was all dusty and nasty, and clearly expired.

    She grabbed it, and opened it, and the thing was teeming with weevils, crawling all through it.

    Turns out, these things naturally lay eggs in flour. Tiny, tiny little eggs, smaller than the flour, also white, so impossible to detect. Fun fact: most flour has it, it's just natural and there's no escaping it, but they're usually dead. Well, this bag of flour had millions of eggs, and thousands were still alive. So they hatched. And weevils procreate very very fast, and they're short lived.

    Anyway, they chewed through the bag in some areas, exited it, and also got their way into anything that wasn't in a sealed container. Panko, spices, sugar, salt, cookies...you name it.

    She had to throw out hundreds of dollars' worth of food.

    Ever since that day, she has everything meticulously organized in labeled bins and jars, all of which are sealed. That way, if another breakout happens, it would be isolated and easy to control/locate. It cost a couple of hundred bucks to get all those jars and bins, but it was worth it, since her pantry and cupboards look beautiful, and, most importantly, it's hygienic and prevents pests.

    You can get really inexpensive glass jars and plastic bins at IKEA. Get chalk markers and chalkboard stickers, which are dirt cheap on Amazon, and boom, your kitchen gets a sexy makeover and you will never have a bug problem ever again. I did just that when I moved out almost a year ago.

    My advice: strip your pantry. Clear every cupboard. Check EVERYTHING, and if you see a bug, just bite your lip and toss it out.

    You caught it early. Consider yourself lucky.

    And seriously, do the jars/bins thing. It is 110% worth the initial burden.

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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    They don't look like the ticks I use to pull off my Little One.
    Stepping out now. This thread is making me itchy.

    Last edited by RunningDeer; 26th April 2018 at 21:25.

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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    They are not ticks. I was going to say chiggers.

    I'll bet the USDA in your area (I believe every county has one) would be able to identify them and help you deal with eradicating them.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    @Indigris, cleaning out the cupboards is good advice, and I do plan on doing that. Thankfully, I don't store a lot of food. I'm not sure about the weevils. I don't think weevils are parasites, specifically blood-sucking ones, or attach to cat and dog chins and ears (inner ear).

    @RunningDeer, sorry. I've been itchy for about a month now, even though I've only found a few on me after handling the cats and dog. I also lint roll myself every 30 mins. or so to make sure.

    @ValerieVillars, yes, there must be something like that in my county. Thank you!

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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Definitely not weevils, and likely not ticks, too big to be mites I think, but maybe lice ...

    You say they fly? And have nits? Are you sure were dealing with just one type of critter here? The images look entirely like lice to me (full of blood), and that would certainly explain nits and blood sucking, but the flying? Lice don't fly ...

    Dog lice image:

    Last edited by DeDukshyn; 26th April 2018 at 23:33.
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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Do an image search for 'tropical bed bugs'. They are something new to Florida as of 2016.

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    Default Re: What is this? Lice, mites or ticks?

    Could be tobacco beetles, too. They go after dry food, tobacco etc..

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