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Ticks are closely related to insects and spiders. There are over 20 known tick species in Michigan. Most often, they survive by feeding on wildlife. Several species of ticks are known to bite people and pets and may harbor dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Not all ticks carry diseases, but tick-related diseases such as Lyme disease do occur in Michigan and can be serious or fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated.
Tick data for citizen-reported ticks are available on the MiTracking data portal.
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease. This bacterium is transmitted by the blacklegged tick. It is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States, and it is spreading across the state of Michigan.
To learn more about Lyme Disease, visit CDC - Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on many factors like the type of tick, where it came from, and how long it is attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
To learn more about where infected ticks have been found, check out the MDHHS - Michigan Lyme Disease Risk Map.
Avoid areas with ticks
- Ticks generally prefer shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy locations.
- Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active. However, ticks can be active anytime the temperature outside is warmer than 40° F.
- Stay on well-groomed trails and avoid high grass, brush, and fallen leaves.
- Learn ways to keep your home and yard tick-free.
For more prevention information, visit MDHHS - Ticks and Your Health: Preventing tick-borne illness in Michigan
Check skin and clothes for ticks after being outdoors
- Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to see
- Perform daily tick checks, including your armpits, scalp, and groin
- Shower soon after coming indoors
- Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors.
- Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent ticks on your pet.
Use insect repellents
Insect repellents have been shown to be effective for repelling ticks. Repellents can be applied to clothing and skin. Whenever using an insect repellent, always read and follow the label use directions for proper application and safety concerns, and store away from pets and children.
For more prevention information, visit MDHHS - Ticks and your health: preventing tick-borne illness in Michigan.
See your doctor when necessary
If you develop a rash or fever within a month of removing a tick, see your doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to tell your doctor about your recent tick bite and when the bite occurred.
To learn more about Lyme Disease signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, visit CDC - Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know.
Tick Removal/Tick Bite
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.
After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
For more information on what to do after a tick bite, visit CDC - Tick Bite: What to Do.
Testing and Identification
Expert tick identification is available free of charge for Michigan residents through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). You can either email a picture of the tick to MDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov, or you can mail the tick to the MDHHS for identification. Free tick submission kits are available from your local health department.
If you are interested in having your tick identified, see the instructions provided for the MDHHS - Tick Identification and Testing Program.
Tick Indicators for MiTracking
- Number of ticks reported
Data Can Tell Us
- The number of ticks reported by year, county, and selected types of tick
- If the number of ticks reported are going up or down over time
Data Cannot Tell Us
- The total number of ticks in a county
- If the ticks were found on a human, on an animal, or in the environment
- Incidence of tick-related diseases (such as Lyme disease)
- Your likelihood of encountering a tick
- Your likelihood of getting a tick-related disease
Find Out More
This dataset was created through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Tick Identification Program. For more data information, visit:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
CDC. (2018). Lyme Disease: What you need to know. [Brochure]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/brochure/lymediseasebrochure-P.pdf
CDC. (2019) Stop Ticks to Avoid Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/index.html
MDHHS. (2019). Michigan Emerging Diseases Issues: Lyme Disease. Retrieved from /emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186-76711_77928---,00.html
MDHHS. (2019). Ticks and Your Health: Preventing tick-borne illness in Michigan. [Brochure]. Retrieved from https://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Ticks_and_Your_Health_05_19_661429_7.pdf