What to Do With a Tick After Removal

Why save a tick for testing?

  • Different species of ticks carry different varieties of bacteria.
    • For example, Black-legged (deer) and Lone Star ticks carry Lyme disease in the central and southern states.
  • Testing a tick to determine what (if any) disease it may carry is more accurate than testing you after you’ve been bitten.
  • A positive result means the tick is probably carrying diseases, like Lyme, but doesn’t mean you were infected. It depends on whether or not the tick injected enough bacteria to overwhelm your immune system.

Tick Identification

When you remove a tick, use a magnifying glass to look at the color of the legs.
•Deer ticks typically have black legs.
•Lone Star ticks typically have red or orange legs.

Both can transmit Lyme disease, but Lone Star ticks often carry a strain that is more likely to produce negative antibody tests.

Labs that will test ticks for disease:


Igenex Labs, Palo Alto CA

Click here for a Tick Test Requisition

Pricing: $65 per test (Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonella henselae, and Rickettsia) or $330 for all five tests


Mt. Laurel, NJ


NJ Labs
New Brunswick, NJ


Pricing $60 for Lyme test. $175 for DNA testing if tick has been exposed to alcohol or other antibiotic agents.

 How to Save Ticks for Testing:

  • Live ticks are preferred, although dead ones can be tested.
  • Don’t kill it with alcohol, smash it, or burn it if you want it tested.
  • The tick must be kept moist in the container with a few blades of grass or a cotton ball dampened with water.

Tick Disposal

  • To kill a tick, put it in a container with an alcohol soaked cotton ball.
  • Then throw in the trash.
  • Ticks don’t drown.  Flushing it down the toilet will not kill it.

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