Tick Identification: The Best Thing You Can do After Finding a Tick

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“Many people just try and rip it off as quick as they can and either flush it away or burn it or dispose of it in some way. But what you really should do is take a clear picture of the top side of the tick and send it to TickSpotters.”

- Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

What to do if you've just found a tick

So, what should you do when you've just found a tick? Many people make the mistake of throwing the tick away as quickly as possible without taking any further action. However, this can lead to complications if the tick is carrying any disease-causing germs. The quickest way to get information on what type of tick it was, how long it’s been feeding, and the potential germs it was carrying is to send a photo of your tick to a tick expert.

Submitting Tick Photo To TickSpotters

Why you should send your tick to an expert

There are many organizations and companies that specialize in identifying ticks and determining the level of risk associated with tick bites. One such organization is TickSpotters. They can help you identify the type of tick you've found, the stage of the tick, and any diseases it may carry. They can also provide guidance on the best course of action to take next. This information gives you what you need to make the best steps forward, whether that's getting your tick tested at the lab, talking to a doctor, or monitoring your health at home.

Tick Identification by TickSpotters

Taking a good photo of your tick

To send a clear picture of the tick to TickSpotters or any other organization, you need to follow some basic guidelines. 

  1. Start by taking the tick out of the plastic bag or container and laying it flat on a light-colored background. 
  2. Ensure the tick is in focus, and try to include an object that is recognizable for size comparisons, such as a coin or ruler. 
  3. Make sure you fill out all the necessary information on the submission form, including the zip code of the area where you found the tick and any other information that might be helpful, like if you’ve been traveling recently. 

What information you'll receive

After TickSpotters identifies the tick, they will provide you with detailed information about the tick's species, the stage of the tick, and any diseases it may carry. This information is critical in determining the best course of action to take to prevent future tick bites. You will also receive guidance on how to prevent future tick bites, such as wearing Permethrin-treated clothing. 

In conclusion, if you've just found a tick, the best and easiest thing you can do is to send a photo of your tick to a tick expert like TickSpotters. By sending the tick to an expert for identification, you’ll quickly have the insights you need to make the best next decisions as well as helpful ways to stay avoid ticks in the future. Remember, prevention is key.


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