Polk County Conservation

Tick Removal

  • I recently found a tick attached to my son and wondered what’s the best way to remove it? I’ve heard that if you hold a lit match to the tick it will drop right off. Is this true?

    Do not, I repeat, do not burn, prick or crush an attached tick as it may release infected fluids. You should never try to smother the tick with petroleum jelly or nail polish because the tick has enough oxygen to complete feeding. If you find a tick attached, use fine pointed tweezers to pull it out. Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and around the tick’s mouthparts. Avoid crushing the tick’s body and gently pull the tick out. Wash your hands and disinfect the bite site and tweezers. After being outside, you should always check closely for ticks. Pay attention to anything that looks like a small black freckle or poppy seed. Look closely at parts of the body covered with hair. Put clothing worn outdoors in the dryer and run on high heat for 30 minutes. The heat will kill any ticks that may be in your clothing.

    Save the tick if possible. Entomologists at Iowa State University want to determine where certain ticks live in Iowa and if ticks have Lyme disease. If you find a tick, wrap it in tissue, add a small drop of water, and place in a sealed zip lock bag. Send it to: Department of Entomology, Lyme Disease Project, 440 Science II, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. They will send you a postcard telling you what species of tick you have found.

  • Contact Us

    Administration Office
    11407 NW Jester Park Drive
    Granger, IA 50109

    P: (515) 323-5300
    F: (515) 323-5354
    pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov

    Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    More Contacts