When you see something crawling on you, it means easy movement. And if it looks like a tick, all bets are off. According to Research1, tick populations are expanding into areas of the U.S. that haven’t thrived before, leading to an increase in tick-borne diseases in many parts of the country, so it’s only natural to be concerned when any little critter remains welcome . for you the skin
But before you panic, consider whether that crawler is a small, nasty bug that can easily be mistaken for a tick, classified as an arachnid. Fortunately, bed bugs (yes, they’re actually called bed bugs) have very little in common with ticks that can strike fear into your heart. Not familiar with them? Read on to learn more about bed bugs, including how to spot them.
What is a ladybug?
The main thing to know about bed bugs, also known as mealybugs or long-nosed bugs, is that they don’t like to suck your blood. “A ladybug is not going to harm you or your pets,” Michael J. Raup, Ph.D., professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Maryland, tells SELF. “They use their small parts to hit plants, not people.”
It also means ticks don’t transmit harmful pathogens that can lead to diseases like Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because weevils feed on a wide range of plants, they can be found outdoors near vegetation, such as ticks, which thrive in areas with grass, shrubs, or trees. However, mites prefer to infest stored food products such as grains, so they are commonly seen as pantry pests.
How can I tell the difference between bed bugs and ticks?
To the average person, the two might as well be twins. In fact, experts at the University of Rhode Island say people often confuse them because bed bugs are similar to ticks.
But ticks and bed bugs have very little to say outside of their appearance, and knowing the key characteristics can help you tell them apart. “Bugs and ticks may be small and brown, but that’s where the similarities end,” Marissa Schuh, MS, an entomology and horticulture educator at the University of Minnesota, tells SELF.
If you find something on your skin when you’re outdoors or after you come inside, try to stay calm and take a closer look. Although each species of weevil looks a little different, they are usually identified by their large beaks and antennae that bend like elbows, Schuh said. “As beetles, they have a hard shell that covers their body,” Schuh said. “Most of the species we see in the US are small and brown.”
In comparison, ticks do not have particularly noticeable antennae or snouts. You can tell the two apart by looking at their feet. “Bugs have six legs, but the nymph and adult stages of ticks can be found walking or mating with eight legs,” Rutgers University entomologist Albrecht Koppenhofer, MS, PhD, told SELF. (Little ticks in the larval stage have six legs, but are much smaller and usually feed on rodents rather than humans, he said.) Some weevils have wings and fly, while ticks are wingless and they can crawl.
If you’re not sure what’s got you, Dr. Koppenhofer recommends trying to remove the creature. Bed bugs fly or hatch immediately, but ticks stick to the skin. If you are dealing with a tick, it is important to remove the blood sap as quickly and safely as possible. (See our guide to getting rid of ticks to learn how to do this.)
If you experience possible symptoms of a tick-borne illness — along with other flu-like symptoms — such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches, or nausea — after removing the bug stuck to your skin, you should make an appointment with a primary care physician. . See your primary care doctor, dermatologist, or local emergency room for an exam, even if you’re not sure what bit you. If the culprit is Evil, go ahead and take a breath—and maybe even check out the creature. “They are beautiful with a nose,” says Dr. Koppenhofer.