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Ick! How to Remove a Tick Safely

There is nothing like that moment of discovering a tick on yourself, your family member or a pet. Ticks are gross enough on their own accord, but when they become attached and partially or fully engorged, the gross factor goes off the charts. Deer ticks, American dog ticks (wood ticks) and brown dog ticks are out in full force in Minnesota as soon as the weather gets above the freezing mark. If you’re spending time outside, doing yard work, hiking or spring clean-up you may very well encounter a tick.

Ticks are not very big and rarely felt. It is important to check yourself and your pets for ticks when you come inside. This is quite likely when you may discover one embedded in your skin. While your gut reaction may be to rip that thing out as fast as you can, that would be a dangerous proposition.


Infected ticks can take 18-48 hours to transmit a disease when attached to a host. The safe removal of a tick can be the difference between a non-event and a medical issue that could be life-altering. With diseases such as Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and Powassan virus potentially being carried by ticks in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, knowing how to safely remove a tick is vital to your health.

Using old-wives tales such as burning a tick off with a lit match or a hot lighter could lead to infection. Shocking a tick has been known to cause it to regurgitate saliva into the host it is attached to – never, ever suffocate, burn or torture a tick that is still attached to you, your child or your pet.

How to Safely Remove a Tick

The advice from the Tick Encounter Resource Center is our favorite. Grab your pointy tweezers and hit play:

Step One:

Pointy tweezers are a must for safe tick removal. Standard household tweezers are not effective for removing tiny nymph ticks which can increase your chances for ripping the tick upon removal.

Step Two:

Before removing the tick, disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol to avoid getting bacteria into the bite upon removal.

Step Three:

Use the pointy tweezers to grip the tick firmly and as close to your skin as possible, preferably around the tick’s head.

Step Four:

Tilt the tick upright so you can pull it straight out of the skin slowly & steadily upwards. If the tick’s mouth parts break off in your skin, don’t panic. Use the tweezers to remove them separately. The tick cannot transmit disease without its body so there is no increased risk of infection.

Step Five:

Disinfect the wound thoroughly after the tick is removed. And follow our best advice for safe tick disposal.

If you want to avoid this potential encounter, lower your exposure to ticks with Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities. Call today, we can eliminate up to 85-95% of ticks on your property with our expert tick control services. (763) 434-2483

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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