What if You Find a Tick

tick in skinIf you do find a tick, it should be removed as soon as possible. Ticks must be attached for 12-24 hours for the pathogens to be transmitted. The entire tick must be properly removed with a tweezers. Any other method such as burning it or using alcohol or acetone may traumatize the tick, causing it to regurgitate the potentially tainted blood into your bloodstream. The time to burn, douse with alcohol, or otherwise torture the tick is AFTER it’s removed. If you are unsure or uncomfortable removing the tick yourself, consult a medical professional.

Tick identification and testing is offered by various state or county offices in New Jersey.  This offices provides useful information to you and your doctor in evaluating and making diagnostic/treatment decisions. Tick testing is not a substitute for monitoring your own clinical symptoms since you may have had other tick bites. Ticks can be submitted for species identification, the tick’s development stage, and the tick’s engorgement to help you assess the risk of having received Lyme disease or some other tick-borne illness. In some cases, there is no charge to residents for this service. If a tick is identified as a deer tick, which is a carrier of Lyme disease, DNA testing is available to determine whether the tick is carrying the Lyme disease organism, Borella burgdorferi. If a tick is positive, the risk of infection is increased but is not confirmed. Only a doctor can diagnose whether you have Lyme disease.


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Ticks can be tested either dead or alive. However, do not place ticks in tape; doing so makes identification and testing more difficult. It is best to use a small vial or zip-lock baggie with a cotton ball soaked in plain tap water. There may be a fee to cover the cost of testing.

Monmouth County resident - Monmouth County Mosquito Commission, 1901 Wayside Road, Tinton Falls

Ocean County - Rutgers Extension of Ocean County at 1623 Whitesville Rd, Toms River.

Middlesex County - Rutgers Extension of Middlesex County at 42 Riva Ave, Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, South Brunswick.

For tick control services in Edison, Somerset, Lakewood, Bridgewater, Brick, Toms River, Old Bridge, Middletown, Princeton Junction, Piscataway and surrounding New Jersey, Cowleys Pest Services is your resource. Contact us today.

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