Testing of ticks is not recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH), because a tick tested positive for Lyme disease does not necessarily transmit the bacteria to human, and a tick tested negative does not guarantee the patient is free from infection (if unknowingly bitten by a different infected tick). All medical diagnosis should be based on the patients symptoms, and appropriate treatment should start early; do not wait for the test results of the tick.

Our District provides identification of medical important insects and arachnids including ticks. Ticks brought to or mailed to our office for identification should be put into a zip-lock plastic bag with water moistened cotton or tissue.

If you have been bitten by a tick and want it tested for tick-borne diseases, you can submit the tick to a number of laboratories within the Bay Area or other states for testing. We do not endorse any of the following laboratories but are providing this information as a public service.

Testing procedures will vary if the tick is alive or dead. Ticks that are alive or have been recently killed may be tested by Indirect Fluorescent Antibody (IFA). The laboratories below will test ticks by IFA tests:

A tick that is dead for days should be placed in alcohol and tested by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) at one of the following laboratories.