Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that are often found in tall grass and brush. There are more than 850 species of ticks worldwide, at least 100 can and do transmit more than 65 diseases. The five most common ticks in Michigan are: American Dog Ticks (wood tick), Brown Dog Tick (kennel tick), Woodchuck Tick, Lone Star Tick, and the Black-legged Tick (deer tick). Black-legged Ticks are associated with the chronic-illness, Lyme Disease.
When discovering a tick crawling or one that has bitten oneself, it is important to submit these ticks to the local health department, in order to identify its species & if it was carrying any harmful diseases.
We have undergone the procedures for submitting ticks in the state of Michigan and want to share how you can do this to keep: you, your family, friends, and pets safe & knowledgeable to identify ticks and their associated diseases.
Upon finding ticks on people or pets, it is important to remove the ticks and isolate them to an enclosed container. When removing ticks, do not dismember them and try to keep their mouth-parts intact; jerking or twisting the tick can cause mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin.
Once the tick is in an enclosed container, it is time to obtain a Tick Submission Kit. In Michigan, local county health departments offer these kits free-of-charge. For the purpose of this post, we are located in Kent County, and obtained our kit from the Kent County Health Department located at: 700 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
Tick Submission Kits include:
- Ticks & Your Health booklet
- 2 instruction sheets
- Mailing envelope
- Tick vial
- Identification & Testing Form
Their instructions are as follows:
- Place tick into the vial.
- Add a few pieces of fresh grass, or a small piece of slightly moistened paper towel to the vial. *Do not put air holes in the vial.*
- Screw the cap onto the vial securely, and seal it in the plastic bag by “zipping” it closed.
- Fill out the Tick Identification and Testing Form completely. You may choose to complete a .pdf version on your computer and print it out. The form is available online at: www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/MDHHS_TSF_Web_549971_7.pdf
- Place the form and the zipped bag inside the pre-addressed mailing envelope. Be sure to include your return address on the envelope.
- Mail immediately by first class mail. NOTE: a surcharge of several cents above the regular first class postage is required for the Tick Test Kit. Make sure you have proper postage, or the envelope may be returned to you for “postage due” resulting in s significant delay in tick identification and/or testing.
We encourage anyone who finds ticks to submit them to their local health departments as it helps researchers track & document various species’ migration and track the spread of their harmful diseases.
Here is a link to our Facebook & Instagram for pictures of our Tick Submission Kits: