What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a carios kelleyi? (Bat tick?)
Location: Central Wisconsin
April 2, 2011 10:45 am
I did some research online with these photos I took of this bug in our closet. I’v never seen anything like it! We live in Wisconsin, and I don’t know if this bug is native to here, or where it came from? I took some shots at different angles. It wasn’t moving very fast, so it was easy to do. Please let me know what this crab/tick-like bug is, so that I can finally sleep at night! Thank you!
Signature: The Beckers


Dear Beckers,
We agree that this is a Tick, but we are not confident trying to identify the species.  While we acknowledge that it does resemble the Bat Tick images posted on BugGuide, we believe it looks even more like this unidentified Tick posted to BugGuide, interestingly also from Wisconsin.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide additional information.


Thanks for the response. I agree it looks like the unidentified bug from wisconsin. I know for a fact that we have bats in our attic, near to where I found this bug, so thats why I assumed it was a bat tick. And maybe it’s a species of bat tick. Are bat ticks harmful to humans, do you know?
Thanks for the help!

Thanks for writing back.  Harmful is relative.  We believe that most Ticks, which feed on the blood of a relatively specific host, will bite and feed off of the blood of an alternate food source if the primary food is unavailable.  Since you have bats, it now seems that a Bat Tick is a likely contender.  We suspect that a hungry Bat Tick might bite a human if no bats can be found.  We believe that most people would consider that to be harmful.  We do not know if Bat Ticks carry any secondary pathogens like Lyme Disease which is carried by the Deer Tick.  We believe that all people would consider that to be harmful.  Perhaps a true expert, or an amateur who can point us to any respectable links online, will write in with any additional information.
P.S.  We decided to feature your posting.

That’s great that you decided to feature my posting! Hopefully we’ll get some answers from others who have hopefully seen this tick as well.
Thanks for the information- hopefully it was an isolated tick, and the others are hanging out on the bats in our attic….bats that are unreachable since it’s about 1-2 feet of attic space…don’t really know how we are going to get rid of those!
Thanks again

Update on Bats in the Attic
April 5, 2011
Hi Daniel,
I am wondering about the bat tick, and the bats in the attic.  Bats in colder climates usually only inhabit attics during the summer, and go to caves, mines, etc. for the winter to hibernate.  Are the bats in the attic right now?  If not, now is the perfect time for the Becker’s to exclude the bats.  They can put a bat house up near when the bats come and go from in the summer time, then close up the hole/area in the attic where they are getting in (as long as they are sure there are no bats in the attic).  More information on bat houses, bats, and exclusions can be found at www.batcon.org (Bat Conservation International). …
Thanks, Liz

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Wisconsin

10 Responses to Tick, but what species???

  1. sjmaerz says:

    That is exactly the same bug I just found in my house and have been trying to identify. I have occational bats in my attic, so I assume it is a bat tick that has run out of food. I would post photos but can’t figure out how to upload them to his site. I am in Wisconson too.

  2. bmoc says:

    This is a “soft tick” in the family Argasidae. About the only species that occurs in the upper midwestern United States is the “bat tick”, Carios kelleyi.

  3. Frank Frieberg says:

    That is a bat tick. They are host specific, however, one was found in Iowa with primate blood in it’s gut, and the homeowners don’t own a monkey. They are nocturnal, feed only briefly, up to 15 minutes, have 5 life cycles, can go up to 19 years between feedings, and when you exclude the bats they will go hunting for another host. If you have one tick you probably have hundreds of them. I was in a house where we found thousands of them.
    They seem to bite women more often than men, and you can look them up on the CDC website. They seem to carry a gram negative organism. Cockroach spray kills them.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your informative comment.

    • Lisa says:

      I am dealing with bat ticks right now. They feed at night. My bits are hot and itchy and last a long time. My boyfriend reacts worse though, his get oozy and pussy. I have tried to build them out but they keep coming. How do I get rid of them, short of burning my house down?

      • Frank Frieberg says:

        If you are bitten please call me. I know a couple doctors who specialize in this sort of thing.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Frank, when you said you found thousands, where did you find them? My originated in my roof I believe, then I re vapour barrierd it and dry walled and find it hard to believe they are still coming from the roof. Could they be in my floor cracks now, in my closet or coming up from the floor and crawl? If I cockroach spray them, does it have to hit them directly or can I spray the general area? I really don’t know where they are as they hide in the day. They move so slow I can’t imagine they are coming from too far. Looking forward to hearing from you.

      • We found them along baseboards, bedframes, climbing on walls and ceilings. You can get those sticky traps and try to catch some live ones. There is a lab in Montana that would be interested in them…also Iowa State University will try to identify the tick species for you, also the sex and life cycle of the tick.
        Cockroach spray doesn’t have to hit them directly.
        You should see a Dr. if you have bites.

      • Frank Frieberg says:

        Actually the Iowa State Department of Entomology website has a good description of these ticks. However, they will only identify ticks from Iowa residents. Maybe your state university will do the same.

  4. Ashish says:

    It is an Argasid tick, also called soft ticks. Feed on blood of mammals.

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