It’s important that people remember this is entirely voluntary. If you are not comfortable collecting ticks, which always pose a danger, don’t do it!

Illinois Natural History Survey is attempting to get evidence of presence of the blacklegged tick in Illinois. As an example, Illinois Department of Public Health map named “Known Geographic Distribution of Ixodes scapularis by county in Illinois 2017” lists Mercer County as “suggests the deer tick is present and maybe established.” I sent in several live ticks 10 days ago from a harvested deer and 1 off a cat and just heard from Holly Tuten, Vector Ecologist. She has identified all of them as black legged ticks!! There were 5 females (which lay lots of eggs!!) and 1 male.

Holly explained how helpful this is for their research.

It’s important that people remember this is entirely voluntary. If you are not comfortable collecting ticks, which always pose a danger, don’t do it!

Mail your ticks to the address below. Again – It’s important that people remember this is entirely voluntary. If you are not comfortable collecting ticks, which always pose a danger, don’t do it! Unfortunately, INHS can’t yet offer real-time testing yet; so, if someone needs a specific tick tested with results ASAP, they would still have to use a fee-based national service. If INHS can’t test the tick right away, they will identify them and archive them properly for future testing.

Wear gloves! After removal, place tick(s) in a plastic vial/container with screwtop lid (e.g., a pill bottle) inside a sealable plastic bag (e.g., ziploc). All ticks from an individual can be placed in the same container. If a container isn’t available just put in sealable plastic bag. Put a slightly moist q-tip in bag, seal, and then wrap the top of the bag in packing or duct tape. Place in padded, sealed envelope, or wrap container in padding inside sealed envelope. Basically, prevent the tick from being able to escape or getting crushed. Mail ASAP after removal. In the mailing, include on a piece of paper:
1. their contact information (name/address/phone/e-mail)
2. when and where they found the tick (date, human/pet, location on body, was it moving around or embedded), and the geographic location where they think the tick was acquired.
3. Mail to: Drs. Chris Stone and Holly Tuten, INHS Medical Entomology Lab, 1902 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820

Ok people… My brother got a being obsessed with ticks I ran down there with my Ziploc & gloves. I found one just crawling on the bed of the Polaris. Once they got it hung..I kept picking and combing. Got home & counted 43 ticks in the bag off 1 deer!!!! I excitedly messaged my friend from the U of IL Holly Tuten and felt something…I HAD 1 CRAWLING ON MY NECK!

So this now turns into your public service announcement!!

If you get a deer and hang it in your shed or garage…as soon as that deer’s blood starts cooling…TICKS DROP OFF… ALIVE….and are now crawling around said structure waiting for their next blood meal… I had Aaron Struble put a sheet down under the deer that I sprayed with Permetherin and we reuse it. So if a tick falls on the sheet it will die.

So wear clothes treated in Permetherin. If you are going to collect ticks WEAR gloves..there is always a risk touch these nasty little creatures.

And ALWAYS check for ticks!!!

Can’t wait to find out what these guys are…even found some weird looking ones!!


The week of July 23rd, Jen and Sarah Wessels were busy traveling around State Rep Dan Swanson’s district to his Veteran and Senior Resource Fairs.   First stop was Geneseo, then Aledo, Knoxville and Bureau County.  We talked to a lot of people that knew people with Lyme.  We also showed them how to properly apply Permethrin to their clothes, and talked about prevalence in the different areas.

It was a great week!!!  Met some fabulous people.

Always trying to raise awareness!!

We are super excited about our meeting last week!!!  IL State Representative Dan Swanson and Jen went to University of Illinois to meet with Professor Brian Allan, Dept. of Entomology, School of Integrative Biology.  The intention of our meeting was to get Spotlight on Lyme QCA and our scientists on the same page and open the lines of communication as to how we can better work together.  Professor Allan is working on great things. His work will finally put to rest the long argument that “there is no Lyme in Illinois”.  Can’t wait for his study to be completed and published.

Professor Allan demonstrated his state of the art equipment that he uses to test the ticks for pathogens!  It was a very educational day and a day of bouncing ideas around!!

I am so grateful for Representative Swanson taking time out of his day and joining me!  I couldn’t do any of this without his support to our cause and those that suffer.