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DIY Tick Lasso: Remove Ticks Easily!

Picture of DIY Tick Lasso: Remove Ticks Easily!
You can make a simple tool to remove ticks with materials you probably have on hand: a mechanical pencil (or pen) and a 3-foot piece of strong but thin string. I used upholstery thread, and fishing line would also work well.

I disassembled a mechanical pencil for mine. You could also use an old pen. It just has to be hollow, open at both ends, and the "lasso" end needs to have a relatively small opening.

Thread the lasso by inserting the ends of the string into the narrow opening of the pencil casing, leaving a loop (as pictured). You'll want to leave long ends of extra string hanging out the wider end.

To remove a tick, just loop the lasso around the tick, where it's attached, close to the skin. Then pull the ends of the string tight -- you're tightening the "noose" -- and firmly pull the tick out.

I always trap the removed tick between 2 pieces of tape, to ensure it can't crawl onto someone else, before throwing it away.

If you'd like to see a video of tick removal using the lasso method (I was having enough trouble holding my dog down & holding the tick lasso with two hands to make my own), just search for "tick lasso" on YouTube.

I'd like to credit a commenter named Scott on BoingBoing for giving me this idea when I was having a lot of trouble removing a tick from my dog using tweezers: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/06/23/tick-removers-which.html

Finally, please be sure to consult www.cdc.gov (and your doctor) if you have concerns about tick-borne illness.

If you know of a way to eliminate that feeling of ticks crawling all over you after you have to do this, please share it.
chuckr442 years ago
Doesn't this method rip its head from its body, leaving the head in your skin, open to infection?
kshriver (author)  chuckr442 years ago
You raise a good point: it's important to make sure the lasso grabs the tick at the point where it's attached to the skin, not around its body. The lasso string serves to pinch the tick right where it's attached, just like "needlepoint" type tweezers would. The CDC addresses what to do if the tick's mouth-parts do detach as you're removing it:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

I like this as an alternative to pointy tweezers, because I was concerned about poking the dog. I've removed half a dozen ticks from my dogs this way without a problem. (Another human distracted the dogs with treats.) I could tell I got the whole tick out by looking at it after I trapped it between 2 pieces of tape (the type I removed has a body that look like a sunflower seed, and mouth-parts that look like 2 little fangs sticking straight out from the body) and checking the site of the bite.
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