Skip to main content

An identification guide to common Ticks of South Dakota

Preventing Tick Bites

The best approach to dealing with ticks during the summer is to prevent
them from biting! If you are spending any time outdoors, it is important to
regularly check yourself for ticks. Be especially careful in places where ticks
are abundant such as in tall grass, wooded areas, and near lakes and water

To help ward off ticks, you should wear clothing that covers as much skin
surface area as possible (i.e., long sleeves, long pants, shoes and socks).
Tucking pants into long socks (preferably white) can make crawling ticks
more visible so that they can be removed. Permethrin spray applied to
clothes and shoes can also be helpful by repelling ticks through multiple
outings. Make sure to read and follow all label directions when treating
clothing or applying personal repellant.

Areas to evaluate during tick checks are:

• Scalp
• Ears
• Underarms
• Belly button
• Waist
• Back
• Legs
• Pelvic area

If an unembedded tick is observed, it should be immediately removed and
disposed of. If the tick is embedded, it should be removed using a pair of
pointy tweezers (i.e., not common household tweezers). It is very important
to remove ticks by the mouthparts to avoid squeezing their bodies.
Squeezing can expel the contents of the tick into the wound, which greatly
increases the chances of contracting tick-borne diseases.

Steps to Safely Remove a Tick

Step 1: Grasp the tick with the pointy tweezers as close to the skin as
Step 2: Pull the tick straight out with slow, steady force.
Step 3: Once the tick is removed, disinfect the bite area with rubbing
alcohol or soap and water.
Step 4: Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. If you would like
to have the tick identified, bring it to your healthcare provider in
rubbing alcohol or in a sealed container.