Introduction: 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.

Comments

Callie Lea (author)2016-10-28

Thank you so much! My husband got deer ticks on his body twice recently and both times I used fine, pointy tweezers, and the heads remained in his body. The first time, his doctor had him take antibiotics, which I felt was overkill and not necessary, as the tick had not been on (in) him very long. The day he completed the med, he got another tick and I told him what I knew about how long the tick had to be attached before any disease could be spread and urged him not to call the doctor. He didn't. Antibiotics are used too freely and shouldn't be, as nasty little creatures, bacteria, etc., tend to mutate and become antibiotic-resistant.

Bad idea. They caught my tick borne illness fifteen years too late thanks to this.

Sorry that you got the disease. I've heard that it's terrible. ?

Callie Lea (author)Callie Lea2017-07-23

2nd comment: I made this and when I used it, I realized that the thread I used was too thick. Somehow I managed to get the tick off, but the head stayed in. It was a wood tick, thank God. I bought a loop tick remover and it worked really well, got the tick out with some of my husband's flesh in its jaw. The next one had flesh in its jaws, as well. We've removed more and they've been wood ticks. I do a thorough body scan after he's been doing work outside and have found some and easily gotten them off him.

The lasso device in this instructible would have done the trick had I known to use thinner thread and held the loop down with a finger as I edged the loop up to the tick. Once I snag the beast, I successfully get the whole tick out.

chuckr44 (author)2011-11-10

Doesn't this method rip its head from its body, leaving the head in your skin, open to infection?

ex811 (author)chuckr442015-01-12

If you apply gentle but steady pressure, the tick will withdraw its head and can be easily removed from the site. Yanking will, as you note, leave the head/mouth parts behind leaving a serious risk of secondary infection.

Also, contact LDA, Lymenet.org or ILADS for tick-borne infection information.

kshriver (author)chuckr442011-11-10

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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