Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist
A small, 1/5th inch long, reddish or brownish 'bug' with two large 'pinchers' is sometimes found in homes. Although it looks like a tick or scorpion, it is actually a pseudoscorpion. A pseudoscorpion is not an insect but is a type of arachnid, so it is related to spiders, ticks, and true scorpions. Pseudoscorpions have eight legs and pincher-like pedipalps (part of their mouthparts). They lack the stinger that true scorpions possess.
Pseudoscorpions are predators on a variety of small insects and other arthropods, like springtails, booklice, and mites. They are found in a variety of habitats, such as leaf litter, moss, and under stones and tree bark, and occasionally buildings. Despite their appearance, they are harmless to people. If you find a pseudoscorpion in your home, just physically remove it or ignore it. If possible, capture and release it outdoors. Fortunately, we rarely see more than one or two pseudoscorpions at a time. For more information, see Pseudoscorpions in homes.