Living in the deer tick capital of the United States, Massachusetts residents more than anyone need to know how to deal with ticks. This knowledge not only includes how to reduce ticks and avoid ticks but what to do should you, unfortunately, find a tick on you, your child or your pet.
You’ve done your duty in checking for ticks after a day of outdoor activity and you found one. You followed careful instructions on how to remove a tick with pointy tweezers, but now you are stuck holding a tick in your tweezers. How should you dispose of it?
How NOT to Kill a Tick
Never, ever try to burn, shock, or smother a tick while it is still attached to you or your pet, this could lead to regurgitating into the bite, increasing chances for transmitting a tick-borne disease. Always follow the safe tick removal method before killing a tick.
Once safely removed, there is a plethora of fun and funny methods for disposing of ticks posted around the interwebs. Some of these methods might indeed work, but could be dangerous or less effective than our best advice. Never try to smash a tick, they don’t crush easily and could escape. The most popular piece of advice we hear is to burn the ticks, this most definitely will kill them, but is unnecessarily aggressive. Other methods include dropping them in dish soap, mouth wash, or the toilet. A tick won’t drown in the toilet, but if you do flush them, they won’t be back. Just make sure they go down with the water.
The Best Way to Dispose of a Tick
We often follow the close advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but in the case of tick disposal, we have a slight modification. After safely removing a tick, use packaging tape to tape it to an index card with the date on it. Hang on to the card for 6 months or so. If any symptoms should appear, you can have the tick identified and even tested for Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases for faster diagnosing. Alternatively, you can place it in a dated sealed bag or bottle with a bit of rubbing alcohol.
With the prevalence of Lyme Disease in Southeastern Massachusetts and the dangers it can present, hanging on to your tick is a great way to assist your doctor or veterinarian in diagnosing illnesses.
Prevention is always the best method for avoiding ticks and tick-borne diseases. Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass offers tick control services which can substantially reduce ticks in your yard. Call today.