Free Tick Identifications for the Illinois Community

If you reside in Illinois you can send photos or ticks to the the INHS Medical Entomology Lab for professional expert identification and archiving

Photos of ticks can be uploaded to our iNaturalist project: Ticks of Illinois

We do not currently test community-submitted ticks for disease agents

We do not accept attached ticks (that previously bit someone) and cannot return ticks sent to our lab – for attached ticks, we recommend saving the tick using instructions in step 2 here in case it is wanted later by a health care provider or public health department. You can try identifying the tick yourself or getting a photo identification of the tick. See instructions below for loose and attached ticks.

For attached ticks on pets, please see: https://www.showusyourticks.org/

Instructions for submitting tick photos to the INHS Medical Entomology Lab

  • Take unobstructed photos of the top and bottom of individual ticks against a light, solid-colored background
  • Make sure tick is in focus and body parts are clearly visible
  • Use well-lit area

Include information on:

  • When and where (zip code and city) the tick was *found*
  • When and where the tick was likely encountered/picked up (like, the name of a park)
  • Whether individual a tick was removed from traveled outside the county of residence in the past 10 days
  • Any other information that could be useful
  • Send photos and information via e-mail 
  • Photos of ticks can also be uploaded to our iNaturalist project: Ticks of Illinois

Instructions for submitting tick samples* to INHS Medical Entomology Lab

*We do not accept submissions of attached ticks.

1. For live ticks: Drop in plastic bag with a *handful* of *fresh leaves*. Securely seal bag and *add tape over top* (like duct or packing tape).

2. For dead ticks: wrap in tissue or gauze dampened with rubbing alcohol and put inside a plastic bag. Securely seal bag and *add tape over top* (like duct or packing tape).

Multiple ticks from the same individual, location, and day can be put in a single bag.

3. Fold a single sheet of paper around bag (to prevent crushing).

4. Put in regular envelope. Add single stamp.

5. Add paper with:

  • When and where (zip code and city) the tick was *found*
  • When and where the tick was likely encountered/picked up (like, the name of a park)
  • If the tick was found on a structure (like a greenhouse) or plant, what that structure or plant was.
  • If the tick was found on an individual, whether they traveled outside the county of residence in the past 10 days
  • Information for a contact (email/phone number) if identification results are desired
  • Any other information that could be useful

Send via regular mail to: INHS Medical Entomology Lab – Tick Surveillance Program, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820

All individual-identifying information remains confidential

We will identify the tick species, life stage, and sex and provide that information soon after receipt (if contact information was provided). The tick will be archived at the INHS Medical Entomology Lab after identification.

Special Information for Attached Ticks

The INHS Medical Entomology Lab is not testing community-submitted ticks for disease agents right now and **we cannot return ticks** if they are needed for disease agent testing later. The INHS Medical Entomology Lab is not responsible for testing or returning attached ticks sent to the lab.

For attached ticks on pets, please see: https://www.showusyourticks.org/

 

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