Need a tick identified?
We're offering a tick identification service this year to help those who aren't sure how to tell a wood tick from a deer tick. Identifying the stage and species of a tick is crucial to deciding whether to seek medical attention or not, because tick-borne diseases are only carried by certain ticks in specific regions. You can take a picture and send that to us or mail in the tick.
If you'd like to submit a photo or mail a specimen, use the following link:
Want to try to identify the tick yourself?
In the Midwest, the most common ticks on people and pets are the deer tick (also called the blacklegged tick), the wood tick (also called the American dog tick) and the lone star tick. Here we provide some images to help you decide which one you have. Most people notice and find adult ticks but be alert for tiny ticks as well. These might be nymphal deer ticks or larval/nymphal lone star ticks.
These are adult wood ticks (American dog ticks; bottom row) compared with adult deer ticks (top row). Wood ticks have the whitish markings on the body while the deer ticks (blacklegged ticks) are reddish to dark brown in appearance without white markings and are usually smaller. The single deer tick is circled in the group photo-the rest are all male and female wood ticks that show how much size can vary.
These are all deer or blacklegged ticks. Top row: nymph and larva. Bottom row: Adult female and adult male.
These are lone star ticks. They are not common in Wisconsin but are abundant in Southern Illinois. The female has the white spot on the back. The other tick is a male.