Crowdsourcing Ticks for Disease Surveillance

A rural autumn road in the Keweenaw peninsula, Michigan

Tick Talk, the crowdsourcing tick collection project conducted last year at Michigan Tech, has returned for a second year. Tick collection has already begun for 2024.

MTU’s Genomic Sequencing Lab wants ticks from you, your family and your pets. The goal of this project is to identify the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses in the Copper Country. Please bring any ticks you find to one of two collection boxes on the Michigan Tech campus:

  • U. J. Noblet Forestry Building — Main Entrance
  • Great Lakes Research Center — First Floor

Current Results
Results from the community tick submission so far are available on the Tick Talk Dashboard. If you have any questions, please contact lab lead Aimee Marceau at

  • 174 blacklegged ticks and four brown dog ticks have been collected.
  • 20% of the blacklegged ticks submitted tested positive for Lyme.

How to Remove and Preserve Ticks

  1. Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause its mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you cannot remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by:
    1. Placing it in a sealed plastic storage bag. Multiple ticks from the same location can be placed in the same bag.
    2. Once the tick is sealed inside the plastic storage bag, bring it to a drop-off point within eight hours or place the bag with the tick in a freezer until dropping it off at Michigan Tech.
  5. Follow the directions at the drop-off site to ensure the tick is properly preserved.