Free Tick Identifications

For Illinois Residents and Visitors

Encountered a tick?

  • Different tick species are associated with different disease agents
  • Learn more about those differences with this webinar for Illinois Extension: Ticks of Illinois
  • For attached ticks: information on tick bite response and tick testing

Want to see what different ticks look like?

Want to get a tick identified and contribute to our tick surveillance program?

Send photos or samples to the the University of Illinois INHS Medical Entomology Lab for free expert identification and professional preservation

View and download instructions for submitting photos or samples

Photos and physical samples of ticks strengthen our statewide tick surveillance program. They inform our understanding of where and when different ticks occur in Illinois.

If contact information is provided, a tick identification result will be shared soon after receipt. Samples will be archived at either the INHS Medical Entomology Lab or INHS Insect Collection. All individual-identifying information remains confidential.

Photos of ticks submitted by Illinois community members

Information on Tick Testing

We are currently testing a subset of community-submitted ticks for surveillance of tick-borne disease agents but do not guarantee a submitted tick will be tested

  • We are not testing all ticks that are submitted
  • Whether a sample will be tested is determined after identification
  • We securely preserve and archive all tested and untested samples
  • We are unable to return physical samples sent to our lab

The CDC does not recommend testing ticks from people for human clinical diagnostic purposes or for making a treatment decision

See information below from the CDC webpage on tick removal and testing:

“People who have removed a tick sometimes wonder if they should have it tested for evidence of infection.  Although some commercial groups offer testing, in general this is not recommended because:

  • Laboratories that conduct tick testing are not required to have the high standards of quality control used by clinical diagnostic laboratories. Results of tick testing should not be used for treatment decisions.
  • Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
  • Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
  • If you have been infected, you will probably develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. If you do become ill, you should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.”

For questions, please contact us

The INHS Medical Entomology Laboratory will identify voluntary submissions of photos or biological specimens of arthropods using the most appropriate methods available. A subset of physical sample submissions will be tested for surveillance purposes but testing of ticks is not guaranteed. These identifications and/or diagnostics of arthropod specimens are not intended to provide an estimate of personal risk nor clinical diagnosis of vertebrate disease and they should not be interpreted as a substitute for clinical testing or consultation with a medical provider.

Results from submissions will be used to document the presence of arthropods and associated disease agents in the State of Illinois.


Picture of adult female lone star tick
Adult female lone star tick