University of Arizona researchers need you to send them your ticks

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:25 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s time to check yourself and your pets for ticks. As the temperature starts to warm up, more ticks come out.

Tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever are on the rise in the southwest and researchers at the University of Arizona need your help. They want you to send them your ticks.

Researchers just launched the Great Arizona Tick Check. This will help them build the first ever database in Arizona that has to do with ticks and their diseases. Ultimately, this research could save lives.

“The idea of the Great Arizona Tick Check is to create a really up to date and hopefully complete picture of what kinds of ticks we have throughout Arizona and what kinds of diseases they could carry,” said Dr. Kathleen Walker, a professor with the U of A.

Here in Arizona, the most dominant tick is the brown dog tick. It’s a carrier of the deadliest tick-borne disease in the world, Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It’s infected hundreds across the state and resulted in several deaths.

″Ticks are moving. Tick-borne diseases are changing and moving to new places, sometimes to new ticks and this is a concern,” Walker explained.

With the Great Arizona Tick Check, Walker is hoping to create a complete map of what’s being seen across all of the counties. Right now, there’s a lot of gaps.

She said, “We really need a statewide effort to figure out what’s here, what the risks are that are posed by these different ticks and then we can inform physicians, animal health professionals, tribal and county health departments, and just everybody.”

This is where the university needs your help. They need ticks from all over the state. If you find a tick on yourself, your pet, livestock, or just out in nature, they want you to send it to them. You can send it in the mail, dead or alive.

″You just put it in a baggy and then take a piece of paper and write down the date, the location it was collected, the animal is was collected. You may even find one just walking on the walls,” she explained.

Once this phase is done and researchers have learned about where certain ticks are, the ultimate goal is preventing the spread of tick-borne diseases.

This project will be going on for the next four years and researchers are hoping to receive between 500 to 1,000 ticks.

You can mail your ticks to Dr. Kathleen Walker Forbes 410, Dept. of Entomology P.O. Box 210036 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721

You can find more details here.