Tick Testing & Identification

Tick testing-ticks in airtight containerThere are places where the public can have tick testing conducted and/or identified to see if they contain the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, and/or other disease organisms that can infect humans or pets. There are generally charges for these services.

LDA does not make recommendations:

  • whether you should have ticks tested
  • about specific testing or identification facilities
  • about the reliability of tick testing
  • whether you should wait for the results before seeking/getting treatment
  • whether you should base your treatment on your tick testing results

*Above items are decisions that need to be made by you after reviewing material on the topic and discussing the benefits/risks with a professional.

Save tick alive if possible. Do NOT put in tape. Place in airtight container or zip lock bag. Check with the labs for proper packaging and mailing of the ticks, the types of organisms tested for and the associated costs.

Tick-testing lab examples from Lyme Disease Association’s LymeR Primer brochure

IGeneX Labs- Click Here

MDL- Click Here

NJ Labs- Click Here

Clongen Laboratories- Click Here 

Additional Tick Identification and Testing Laboratories

Nationwide Services
APHC-Army Public Health Center (For Department of Defense personnel and their dependents ONLY)- Click Here
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab- Click Here 
Cornell University- Click Here 
TickCheck- Click Here 
Ticknology- Click Here 
Tick Report-Click Here   
Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania (FREE Identification, Testing for fee)- Click Here 

Additional Tick Identification and/or Testing Laboratories

Specific State Resident Services

Connecticut Residents:
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station- Click Here 

Maine Residents:
University of Maine Cooperative Extension:Tick Lab- Click Here 
New York Residents:
Thangamani Lab-SUNY Upstate Medical University (FREE)- Click Here 

Tick Identification Services Only*

Tick Encounter- Click Here 
TickTracker (Tracking & Reporting App)- Click Here 
Specific State Resident Services


Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (FREE for Colorado Veterinarians)- Click Here 
Illinois: Illinois Department of Health working with University of Illinois- Click Here
Maryland Department of Health/University of Maryland- Click Here
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (FREE for Michigan Residents)- Click Here 
Midwest (Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin):
Midwest Center of Excellence @UW-Madison(FREE for Midwest Residents)- Click Here 

New Jersey:
Monmouth County (NJ) Mosquito Control Division (Monmouth County Residents ONLY)- Click Here

New Hampshire:
New Hampshire (FREE for New Hampshire Residents)- Click Here

Vermont (FREE for Vermont Residents)- Click Here 

*As services may change, check with your own State or County health department on what services they may provide.

Search State Health Departments The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a list of all State and Territorial Health Department Websites here.

Maryland Department of Health Warns Doctors About Lyme

In a letter to physicians, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) warns doctors to pay attention to Lyme which is the most frequently diagnosed tick-borne disease (TBD) in Maryland residents (1400 cases 2019). The MDH also cautions them to report other TBDs, which it specifically names. The letter also points out the similarities of Lyme symptoms to COVID 19 symptoms and reminds providers of obligation to report the required TBDs.

Tick bite prevention tips are offered, and a Maryland Tick Identification Service is provided in the letter. https://health.maryland.gov/phpa/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/Tick-Identification.aspx

Read full letter here  

Read more LDA articles on Maryland here

Tick Removal

Tick Removal Video provided by University of Manitoba
Kateryn Rochon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – Veterinary Entomology

No tick bite is a good tick bite!  Frequent tick checks allow for detection of ticks quickly. The sooner a tick is removed properly, the less chance of disease transmission. Watch video below to view proper tick removal. 

LDA Comments

The tick shown in video is not a black-legged/deer tick. The LDA provides this video to show proper tick removal, but has no role in video production. Any comments on the video itself should be directed to  the University of Manitoba

Information below is from Lyme Disease Association’s LymeR Primer brochure. 
Click here to
download brochure.

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.

      LDA Tick Removal copyDo 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

      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.  



Improved Lyme Testing Allows for Earlier Diagnosis

SchutzerSteven Schutzer, MDIt is well known to the medical community that Lyme disease testing methods are highly inaccurate. The only FDA approved Lyme tests available are antibody-based tests, which are the current standard, but are known to produce both false positives, and the more devastating false negatives. For example, it can take weeks for antibody levels to reach a point where they are detectable, resulting in a negative lab result. Many antibodies are cross-reactive to other bacteria not associated with Lyme disease, clouding diagnosis. These tests were created decades ago, with old technology, and omit important information.

Unfortunately, most medical providers rely solely on this flawed testing to make a diagnosis, and many Lyme cases go untreated, developing into serious health complications.

Addressing the issue, Steven Schutzer, a physician-scientist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School organized a meeting of scientists from Rutgers University, Harvard University, Yale University, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and other academic centers, industry and public health agencies. The meeting took place at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Banbury Center, a nonprofit research institution in New York. This meeting resulted in an analysis published on December 7 in Clinical Infectious Diseases which focuses on new scientific advances in testing.

“New tests are at hand that offer more accurate, less ambiguous test results that can yield actionable results in a timely fashion,” said Schutzer. “Improved tests will allow for earlier diagnosis, which should improve patient outcomes.”

We look forward to these new tests.

Read article in Rutgers Today here