Deer Tick Removal - How To

by Jennifer Smith December 19, 2016

You see a dark spot on your ankle and judge that it's a deer tick. Don't panic. Although some blacklegged ticks spread Lyme Disease, you will have approximately 24-48 hours to remove the tick from your skin before the possible transmission of Lyme. Act quickly but thoroughly. Here is what you need to do to successfully remove a deer tick latched onto your skin:

Since deer ticks feed by burrowing their heads into human flesh, you will need to make sure you properly remove the tick as a whole. You will need a tick removal tool to successfully remove the tick. Do not start clawing at the tick area and do not burn the area with a match. (C'mon guys, this is your skin we're talking about.)

Step 1) Clean the tick remover tool with alcohol and carefully grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull slowly upward and try not to twist or break the tick.

If parts of the tick's mouth or body are still in your skin, remove those parts with tweezers or the tick removal tool. Do not leave them in the skin.

Step 2) Once the tick has been successfully removed, disinfect the bitten area with alcohol, hand sanitizer, or soap.

Step 3) Wash your hands with soap and water and place the tick in a sealed container for testing at a healthcare provider's office.

Record the location and date of the bite. The public health authority will determine the type of deer tick that latched onto you and the affect it may have on you. It will take 2-6 weeks for the examiner to determine all of the details.

You may store the sealed container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator for live ticks or freezer for dead ticks.

The following Canadian provinces accept tick submissions for testing:

  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec

 For tick-borne illness questions contact the National Microbiology Laboratory in Manitoba at (204) 789-2000 or through email:


Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith