Son (partially) ate this blood-containing insect. Help!
December 28, 2009
Photos are of a non-eaten, but same, insect. Flea? Tick? Found indoors in Berkeley, CA home during cold, intermittently rainy weather. Had not noticed any before in 4 years here; recently have seen several. Dog present in home. Have not noticed any bites on people in home.
Possibly an intermittent stage (a pupa?)as the whitish covering seems to conceal a brown, patterned surface. Very slow-moving; 1/4th of an inch long, a little under 1/8th inch high. Bean-shaped body (i.e., not flattened).
Contained enough of what I think was animal or human blood (reddish brown, iron-scented and tasting) to cover my 13 month old’s chin. Worried about tapeworms, Lyme diease, other things I don’t even know about!
What is it??
Berkeley (Northern coastal) CA
Dear Worried Mom,
This is a Tick, probably an American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis. Though dogs are the preferred host, they will bite humans. Ticks are known vectors for disease, and you should try to rid your dog and home of this blood sucker.
Thank you! I looked at pictures of ticks on the internet, but all the descriptions seemed to
be of a much smaller insect. Our local vector control, which offers an insect ID service, is closed for the holidays for budgetary reasons.
I will now look into safe ways of getting rid of ticks.
Hi again Gretchen,
Ticks increase in size when they are engorged with blood like the specimen in the photo you provided.