Tick Surveillance

We want your ticks!

The Medical Entomology lab at Iowa State University offers a FREE tick identification service. We invite anyone that has found a tick on themselves, a family member, or their pet to send their tick(s) for identification. Simply follow the directions and fill out the information on this tick submission form, then send the samples by mail to:

Tick Surveillance Program                                                                                                                                                                                                               Attn:  Ryan Smith                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology                                                                                                                                                2310 Pammel Dr.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Ames, IA 50011

It should be noted that this service does not test for the presence of pathogens, we will only identify the tick to provide information regarding potential risks of tick-borne disease. If fever or rash develop within days after removing a tick, consult a physician immediately.

The information resulting from submitted tick samples will be solely used for tick surveillance purposes to better understand tick species distributions in the state.

Tick informationTicks in Iowa

Iowa is home to several tick species, including the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the black-legged tick or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Each of these species may vary in their distribution in the state, but are all capable of transmitting disease.

Ticks have three life stages: larva, nymph, and adult; that are most abundant in the spring and summer months. Needing a blood meal to develop to the next developmental stage or to produce eggs, this feeding behavior also increase the chances to potentially acquire and transmit pathogens.

At present, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in Iowa, and is transmitted by deer ticks. Cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis have also commonly been found in Iowa.

Further information addressing each species is available through Iowa State University from the Extension Store website.