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I see a tick! Now what?

 
steward & bricolagier
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When I'm out working and I see a tick... I reach into my pocket or tool pouch and get a tool I carry all summer. I call them my Tick Pliers, and although they get used for other things too, their main purpose in life is to kill ticks for me. I just bite the tick in the pliers, make sure I hear it crunch, and see if there any ants around, if there are, I drop it where the ants will be overjoyed to see a dead tick.

They are small not quite needle nosed pliers. Anything pointier than this tends to stab you in the pocket or pouch. I prefer all of my pliers with no springs in them, so they are spring-free.

Tick Pliers


I know someone who crushes ticks in her fingernails, but I don't trust that they are dead enough.  I want them VERY DEAD, a lot of my long term health issues look like a tick borne illness, not Lyme, as it wasn't anywhere near me when I went down, but all tick borne illnesses look a lot alike.  I doubt I will ever know exactly what I have, but I DON'T want anything else on top of it! My working wardrobe is designed to be tick-proof, and I check myself well before I shower when I come in.

What do YOU do to ticks when you see them? I squish them with my Tick Pliers!!  :D

EDIT for clarification: This is for ticks that are not biting me. You don't want to squish ticks that are engaged.
I have never had one bite me, but I do see them around me or on my clothes. Those are who get squished by my tick pliers.
 
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I pull them off with fingernails usually, or tweezers, then it depends where I'm at and what I'm doing. They are one of the few insects I almost always kill when I see. Throw in the fire, squish until I hear a pop and see liquid with a small rock or stick etc.

I had pretty bad joint pain for a few years, still around a little but much better! I never went to the doc just dealt with it and I too think maybe it's a tick illness, hard to say for sure?
 
pollinator
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The problem with using pliers is that they can squeeze the guts of the tic into your blood stream...

I prefer to use a match light them on fire and then they back out in a hurry.

 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
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Mart Hale wrote:The problem with using pliers is that they can squeeze the guts of the tic into your blood stream...

I prefer to use a match light them on fire and then they back out in a hurry.


Check my edit I added above, thank you for pointing that out. I do this to ticks I see on my clothes etc.
 
steward
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I happily kill them by getting them on the back of a thumbnail and pizza cuttering them with another fingernail.  It's really easy to see if you did a good enough job cuz it immediately stops moving when you kill them.  Then they go to a chicken or flicked out a window.

To remove them we got "tick twisters" from the vet.  It's like a mini cat's paw crowbar.  You slide the tiny pry bar ends around the tick's neck and then rotate it to spin the tick out of you.  Seems to work pretty well.

 
master steward
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I must admit I tend to squish them too - between two rocks, I'm not as organised as Pearl, and usually have plenty of stones. I know there are plenty more where they came from, so probably I should just chill and let be.
Usually when I find ticks they are latched onto the dogs - I also like the Twister tool like Mike uses. If they are engaged then anything that is likely to cause them to react might increase the chance of infection, by regurgitation or the head breaking off as they increase their grip when aggravated. This goes for alcohol swabs too. We have a little tick card that fits in your wallet that just flicks them off - OK for people without too much hair, not so good for pets. Serene showed how to make one here
 
gardener
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When you have a family member who is petrified of parasites, you try random things. Squishing and flushing was not allowed, because "what if its not dead and crawls up while I'm using the toilet". Squishing and flicking outside or in the garbage was not allowed for pretty much the same reason. To satisfy her, I would laminate the tick. I ended up taking a piece of scotch tape, put the tick on one end on the sticky side, and folding it over sticking to itself.

Your pliers sounds like a much better solution, but I thought I would share that random way to deal with ticks.

I also like feeding them to chickens.
 
gardener
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I live in tick country and they are not joke.  Last weekend I got bit by 4 ticks in 2 days!  Fortunately they were not fully attached and they scraped off easily though they certainly itched for about 2 days.  Yuck!

Eric
 
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There are boatloads of ticks here. I "pizza cutter" them too (i like that term!) with my fingernails then burn them. I use the twisty tick remover for ticks attached to my pets. I have noticed that the all natural Amish bug spray, Miller Bug D-Feet works pretty well to deter them from attaching on me. I buy it from Amish catalogs (Nature's Warehouse or AC Sales).
 
master gardener
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Okay, maybe I am a little extreme.

If I find a tick on me (inside) I drop them into a container of rubbing alcohol to make sure that they are dead dead.

Boo ticks!
 
pollinator
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Never seen that type of twisting tool before. Around here you get one that's basically a loop of thread going through a hole, and spring loaded, so it's fed out when you press a button, and then goes back in when you release the button. You put it around the head of the tick and twist. The advantage is it works on all sizes of ticks, including the very tiny (larval) ones.


Edit to say that you can improvise one of these from an old ballpoint pen and a piece of fishing line or such. The simplest version would be just the outer casing of the pen with the line running through the hole, but someone mechanically inclined could probably manage to use the spring system of the pen as well...
 
master gardener
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I've been outside doing bed-prep with all my free time for the last week. On Monday I removed 34 ticks -- that's my new record for one day. I usually have a hori with me, so I'll put the tick on a rock or board or shovel and whack it with that. If I don't, then I pinch it between thumb and fingernail. If I'm at my desk when I find them, They go into a spice jar and crawl around and around across the corpses of their kin for several days before joining them. Elsewhere in the house, they usually go down the toilet.

In some ways it's easier dealing with them here in tick-central. We lived in Missouri and New Jersey (where my wife was once sick as a dog for six weeks with Lyme) before this -- ticks were around, and we thought there were a lot of them, but there weren't so many that you were absolutely certain to have some on you after a day outside, so it was easy to get sloppy. Now, Cathy and I perform a mutual tick-check every night before bedtime all spring long.
 
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My dog collects ticks like crazy. I keep an old coffee mug (that I sharpied "TICKS" on to) that has soapy water in it. I pull them off and drop them in there, and get great delight watching them frantically swim a little bit before dying and dropping to the bottom.
 
pollinator
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When I take a shower, I automatically scrutinize any nook and cranny where they might hide. If it is not engaged, easy peasy: I grab it and cut it in half with my scissors, or I put it om the point of a knife and burn them with a match.
The other day, I had one under my right arm, and the darn thing was really attached. that's not a place to light a match, although I'm really not furry.
I figured on trying the Vaseline trick: Cover them in Vaseline: it suffocates them and they release. But I had no Vaseline handy. I did the next best thing; I had some "Icy Hot" like you rub on painful joints: It is greasy like Vaseline and will bring tears to your eyes if you breathe in a good whiff.
The tick went instantly limp and I was able to rub it off with a paring knife. It was a Lyme disease tick [smaller that what you can see on your dog with a yellow/light brown body and black legs]. I went to the doctor and got 2 pills that worked quite well: It didn't swell.
I like needle-nosed pliers to pick it up and put to a flame but as noted, they are not good to force the tick to release your skin. I had never noticed how strong my skin was until I pulled a dog tick that was well attached!
 
pollinator
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I have had various tick removal tools over the years. They get used infrequently, and tend to not be with me when I or the dog pick one up. I improvised a removal tool out of an old plastic loyalty card recently, and it has lived in my wallet since then.

I see that you can now get purpose made removal tools that fit in your wallet, which would be ideal for me. Mine would live in my phone case, which I have with me every day.

credit card removal tool

 
gardener
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We have a number of different types of ticks here, including paralysis ticks cattle ticks, and kangaroo ticks. Kangaroo ticks are not such a problem because they do not tend to have human hosts.  The others are a problem.  A bite from a cattle tick has been known to result in an anaphylactic shock when the victim eats red meat and especially beef.  Paralysis ticks do exactly that and can kill pets.

We have tick packs which has a liquid nitrogen propellant and a lifter for removing the tick.  As mentioned previously, if a tick is squeezed, its guts are pushed into the unfortunate bite victim.  Freezing kills the tick and prevents spillage or injection of tick contents.  I know in the USA, deer ticks can carry lyme disease which is a severe issue.

For me, prevention is the best cure.  Long sleeves, gloves and long pants tucked into boots is the best option.  Natural turpentine (like artists use) in a rag wad is a good way to get the ticks to remove themselves if they has bitten. The credit card type remover is great once the tick is deceased or on its way out.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Ticks lie in wait in  the grass or drop from the trees. This year, I have not seen as many ticks: Zero big ones like you find on dogs and only 5 so far, [but it is June]. Of these 5 tiny ones, 3 were engaged, 2 weren't. If they are engaged, I heard that Vaseline covering them up suffocates them and they die [but it takes time and I have no patience where ticks are concerned]. I used a cousin of Vaseline: "Icy Hot". I suspect the smell of it plus the suffocating effect of the Vaseline-like base makes it work faster. If one is not engaged, I just bite them dead, [then spit because they really taste bad!]. I have some really sharp little scissors but I'm afraid of losing them out there. Burning them at the point of a knife once they are off you works great too.
For those  that I might pick up in the grass, I have 2 of these white dog collars to keep dogs tick free. I put one over each pant leg, at the bottom, making sure they do not contact skin. This works really well.
Early in the morning or late at night, I strip and look myself over, using a mirror if need be, but I can usually feel them crawling if they are on me.
 
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Paul Fookes wrote: A bite from a cattle tick has been known to result in an anaphylactic shock when the victim eats red meat and especially beef.  


Sadly we have Alpha-gal here in the USA.
 
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