Best Way to Kill Ticks

Everyone hates ticks; here’s quick and easy way to kill one.

Best Way to Kill Ticks

A year ago I wrote an article titled, “4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Ticks.” Click here to check it out. As I stated then, ticks can carry several types of dangerous diseases. From Lyme disease to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and even a food allergy to red meat, ticks are nasty.

Yes, you can minimize the number of ticks that find you by taking a few precautions. But if you spend enough time outdoors in settings that are home to ticks, you will eventually find one crawling on you, or worse, stuck in your skin. 

I covered the TickEase tweezers in my previous article, and it’s still a go-to product of mine for dealing with an attached tick. One topic I haven’t discussed before is a simple and effective trick I use to kill a tick. Through the years I’ve seen just about every method possible, including:

  • Using your fingernails in an attempt to pinch a tick in half (doable with a standard tick, but impossible with a deer tick)
  • Crushing a tick with a rock; in my experience, the tick is often lost and escapes
  • Squeezing a tick with a pliers; this works, but then you must clean tick pieces from the pliers
  • Flushing it down a toilet; probably works, but also a waste of water (in my opinion)
  • Washing it down the sink; might work, but could the tick crawl out?

I don’t remember how I came upon this solution, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve killed ticks found on my body with a 1- to 2-inch-long piece of transparent tape (i.e. what you might call Scotch Tape).

Let’s say a tick is crawling on your arm. Grab the tape roll, cut a short piece (about 1.5 inches), then touch the tape (sticky side) to the tick. The nasty creature will immediately stick to the tape! Even better, it won’t be able to crawl off the tape. Now here’s the part I actually enjoy: Simply fold the tape over the tick, encasing it forever (see top photo).

This analogy might seem like a stretch, but my tick killing system is similar to what happened to Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, except Solo is encased in molten carbonite, which is a bit trickier to deal with than Scotch tape (photo below). Of course, Solo isn’t really dead because he’s released from the carbonite in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

How long does it actually take for the tape trick to kill a tick? I have no idea. Does the tick starve? Does it suffocate? I don’t know, nor do I care. But one thing is certain: Not even Princess Leia could bring one back to life.

Han Solo was eventually saved from his carbonite tomb by Princess Leia. A tick encased in tape isn’t so lucky.
Han Solo was eventually saved from his carbonite tomb by Princess Leia. A tick encased in tape isn’t so lucky.


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