We have covered the importance of properly removing a tick to reduce the risk of disease and bacteria transmission in previous posts. The question is, once you remove the tick properly what do you do with it? It is highly recommended to keep the tick in a container for a period of time following removal in case you start to show signs of being ill from the bite. The tick may be needed for further testing to help diagnose a possible tick-borne illness. An empty pill bottle or plastic baggie stored in a cool, dry place will do. In many circumstances ticks are still alive following removal. So the question is… what is the proper way to kill a tick?
How to kill a tick
I recently found a tick attached to my dog and realized that even though I deal with ticks on a daily basis with Mosquito Squad of SoNH, when it came to removing the tick I was suddenly all thumbs.
The best way to kill a tick and keep it intact enough for testing is by applying rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and placing it within the container or baggie with the tick. The tick will die within minutes, and will remain intact. Many sources also point out that mouthwash such as Listerine will also work to kill a tick if you do not have rubbing alcohol on hand. A tick should never be handled with bare fingers, to prevent picking up the germs it might carry. Dropping it into rubbing alcohol or a mouthwash like Listerine that contains alcohol should kill it quickly.
It is not advisable to kill a tick by squashing it. Squashing a tick will kill it but will also expose the blood contained by the tick, plus it is just downright gross! The blood may contain diseases that can be spread by contact. Any surface that comes in contact with the blood may also be contaminated. If a tick is accidentally ruptured during removal from a host, the blood should be immediately wiped up and the area washed thoroughly.
Over the years there have been a myriad of suggestions in regards to killing a tick. Some of these include burning the tick and even microwaving the tick in a plastic bag (can you say baked tick with extra butter and sour cream)?
Of course, the old fashioned way usually entails flushing the tick down the toilet, therein lies the basis of popular folklore which says the tick will proceed to crawl back up through the plumbing. As strange as this seems, according to the Tick Encounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island ticks cannot swim, but can be submerged in water for 2-3 days and seem to survive just fine. Since they cannot swim, wrapping them in a tissue and flushing them down the toilet should suffice.
The ideal way to eliminate a tick is to do so before it has a chance to attach to you, a member of your family or your pet. Mosquito Squad of Southern New Hampshire can reduce the chances of coming into contact with a tick while in your yard so you will never have to worry about removing ticks. When it comes to controlling and preventing ticks in your yard, out of sight is out of mind. Contac tMosquito Squad of SoNH today to learn more about our highly effective and safe tick control program. Call us today for a free quote (603) 538-3125