Tick Testing/ Tick ID

Tick Removal

Improper removal of ticks greatly increases the risk of acquiring tick-borne infections. Squeezing the tick or putting substances on the tick to try to make it "back out" may aggravate it enough that it injects into you whatever disease organisms are inside it.

      Do not  burn or use any substance on tick
      Do not grasp, squeeze, or twist body of tick
      Grasp tick close to the skin with tweezers
      Pull tick straight out 
      Use antiseptic on skin
      Disinfect tweezers, tick spoon, or tick key
      Wash hands thoroughly
      Always see a physician for possible diagnosis, testing, and treatment
      If desired, can save tick for testing, preferably alive, in a zippered plastic bag or a closed container with a moist cotton ball. 

 

Tick Testing 

Maine
UMaine Extension Tick ID Lab
UMaine Cooperative Extension can only tell you tick species at this time, until the new tick testing lab is built by the end of 2017.  Please click their link for tick submission details.

Massachusetts
UMass Amherst will test your tick for a standard package fee of $50, and you will have the results in three business days.  They will send your results by email with tick species, any pathogens it was carrying, and assessment of tick feeding status.
 
California
Bay Area Lyme Foundation offers FREE tick testing but it takes 21 days to get results by email.  Please click their link for tick submission details, a list of diseases the tick is tested for, and information about their diagnostic tests. 
   
Tick Species of Maine

There are fourteen different tick species that have been found in Maine, though not all are permanent residents. Some may arrive in the state on host organisms and do not establish viable populations. Other species have thrived in Maine and are now widespread throughout much of the state. Certain tick species can be very difficult to differentiate from one another. For a full listing of these species and photographs please click here: https://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/tickid/maine-tick-species/
 
Deer Tick

Common Names: Western Black Legged tick, Black Legged tick, European Wood tick, Sheep tick
Formal Names: Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes dammini, Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes ricinus
Name Match Ups:
  • Deer tick - Black Legged tick - Ixodes scapularis - Ixodes dammini
  • Bear Tick -  Ixodes pacificus - Western Black Legged tick
  • Sheep Tick - Ixodes ricinus - European Wood tick
Diseases: Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme Disease), Borrelia Mayonii, Borrelia Miyamotoi, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Bartonella, Powassan Disease
Deer Tick Engorged Series
The changing face as the deer tick engorges
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged,
1/2 engorged and fully engorged.
Note the circular dark spot above the mouthpart . . . this is the shield. The shield does not change as the tick engorges and it is the key component, along with mouthparts in identifying different ticks.
 
Clockwise from top: female, male, larval, nymph



Lone Star Tick
 
Nick Names: Lone Star, Seed ticks
Common Names: Lone Star
Formal Names: Amblyomma americanum
Description: The female is easily distinguished from any other tick by her pronounced white dot or star in the center of her back. The star is actually part of her shield. Lone Star are aggressive ticks and are known to move long distances in pursuit of the host.
Diseases: Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and suspected of Lyme Disease and possibly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bourbon Virus, Heartland Virus, STARI
 
Left to Right: nymph, female, male
Left to Right: female, male
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.  Notice how star continues relationship to mouthparts?  The star is part of the shield and remains consistent throughout the engorgement sequence.  Shields on all hard ticks are consistent in their relationship to the mouthparts.

American Dog Tick
 
Nick Names: Dog tick, Wood tick
Common Names: American Dog tick 
Formal Names: Dermacentor variabilis
http://www.tickinfo.com/images/AmerDogTickPair.jpg
Left to Right: female, male
Description: Looks like Rocky Mountain Wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni - DA), and Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum - AM).
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged
Disease: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tuleremia and cause tick paralysis
 
Sources:
www.tickinfo.com  
www.lymediseaseassociation.org

"Results suggest that significant climate warming may reduce risk of anaplasmosis and the Powassan virus, but increase Lyme disease risk."

Press release from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Feb. 18, 2015
- See more at: http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/ticks-emerge-early.html#sthash.oD3u8gNy.dpuf

"Results suggest that significant climate warming may reduce risk of anaplasmosis and the Powassan virus, but increase Lyme disease risk."

Press release from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Feb. 18, 2015
- See more at: http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/ticks-emerge-early.html#sthash.oD3u8gNy.dpuf