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Ticks: Ultimate Solution to Remove Them Intact

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  • Ticks: Ultimate Solution to Remove Them Intact

    I have collected enough data now. This works for big fat dog ticks and smaller deer ticks, including those who have been latched on for 24 hours.

    Every time I have tried it, it succeeded. Not just on me, but on other people. Not just on flat areas like arms and thighs, but in narrower more sensitive ones.

    (I haven't tried it on companion critters or horses yet.)

    Nothing I ever had tried before -- rubbing alcohol, finger nail polish remover (ethyl acetate), varnish, paint thinner, gasoline, acetone, turpentine, lighter fluid, 100-proof vodka, hot tweezers, cold tweezers, detergent, lighters, matches, you-name-it -- ever before worked not even once.

    I want to hear back if this does NOT work for you.

    Instructions:

    Obtain some Everclear (95%, 190 proof ethyl alcohol) and either a narrow shot glass or better, something maybe a half-inch across into which you can put a quarter inch deep pool of Everclear. The ones I've used have been transparent, but a big clean dry 1/2" wide flat-edged/bottomed plastic bottlecap should work.

    [If you aren't drinking age, get someone who is to help you.]

    Be sure there is no water in the container -- if there is, dry it out and rinse it out first with some Everclear that you discard to make certain there is nothing but undiluted Everclear in the container. (If water gets into the Everclear and dilutes it, even a little, likely this won't work.)

    Pour Everclear into the small container or cap. Better too much than too little. Half an ounce should be more than enough.

    Place the container containing the Everclear against the area of skin where the tick is attached. (This may mean having someone help you if the tick is on you and you can't reach to hold the liquid in place, or it is awkwardly situated.)

    Invert the container so that the liquid totally covers and continues to cover the tick against the skin, and does not leak out while you're holding it against the skin.

    Hold the container in place for ten minutes without letting the Everclear leak out. (For small deer ticks this might not need to be all of ten minutes, but go with ten minutes.) If the tick is on a hairy spot like your head or neck where the liquid slowly leaks out, you may need to use enough Everclear so that the tick stays submerged the whole time.

    After ten minutes of continuous tick submersion, remove the container, exposing the tick.

    Probably you can now just brush the tick off. Possibly you may need to grasp it lightly with your fingertips. At worse, you may need to attach tweezers lightly to the tick near its head and give the very slightest of tugs.

    The tick will release without much effort. It's mouth parts and head will not remain embedded. The tick may even start wandering around on your skin.

    Save or discard the tick as you prefer.

    If it's been embedded a long time, you will see a little indentation/mark on the skin where the critter was clamped in before letting go.

    Probably the alcohol will have done much to disinfect the former attachment site, but there's no guarantee that if the tick was infectious that the site might not become infected, so treat it as you would any other tick bite after the tick is gone (with or without its head and mouth).

    Discard the used Everclear. Your skin should be just fine.

    The tick no doubt felt no pain.

    If for some reason the tick didn't release as all the others have so far, repeat the process for another ten minutes.

    Do not substitute anything else for the Everclear. Even 151 proof rum doesn't have sufficient concentration of alcohol. It's possible that 90% isopropanol [rubbing alcohol] does, but normally the strongest version sold is 70% which does not work.
    Last edited by Adamantane; Jul. 15, 2010, 08:24 AM. Reason: Mass confusion, or how William Empson isn't appreciated on COTH
    "Things should be as simple as possible,
    but no simpler." - Einstein

    “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

  • #2
    Nice, but I'm more likely to down the liquor myself then pinch the tick off.
    "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
    http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I vote a shot of good whiskey, and save the Everclear for the tick.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I like alcoholic beverages but I'd much rather drink whiskey and use the Everclear to get excess water out of gas lines in my garden tractor or jet ski if there's nothing else handy to do that.
        "Things should be as simple as possible,
        but no simpler." - Einstein

        “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

        Comment


        • #5
          I just pull 'em off. Never had a problem!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hundredacres View Post
            I just pull 'em off. Never had a problem!
            Me too. Then I like to make them blow up like popcorn by holding a lighter flame to them (insert evil grin).

            If I buy alcohol- it's gonna be something worth drinking!

            Comment


            • #7
              Who on earth has a pain threshold so low they need to go through all that BS?
              Pull the damn thing off and drink the alcohol.
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

              Comment


              • #8
                It probably works because ticks breathe through their "skin." (exoskeleton)
                If you want to wait 10 minutes, just cover the tick firmly with a piece of tape. Masking or duct works well. Wait 10 minutes, remove tape and tick with all parts should come with it. Now just fold the tape and toss out, the tick cannot resurrect itself covered in tape.
                Or just pinch it out. Then stick it to a piece of tape.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tick barf

                  The problem with squeezing them and or pulling them off is then they will barf into the wound. Ticks are far to dangerous to have them depositing tick spit in their chew hole.

                  The best ways for removing ticks is the way most likely to prevent this.

                  Then there is the problem with their head encysting if it is left behind when the body is pulled off.

                  The tick pullers depend on getting the grip of the tick at the entry into the skin and then NOT gripping the ticks body...the pull is of the head and mouth parts. Unlike fingers might grip as they pull on the body...squeezing as they pull. It is really important to not inject a nice dose of tick spit which is loaded with spirochetes and bacteria for some really unpleasant diseases.

                  I don't know if the everclear method prevents ticks barfing. Seems ok to me. PatO

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Any idiot can just rip an embedded tick out. And apparently some do.

                    You can extract a tooth with determination and pliers or amputate a finger with a meat cleaver, too. Not very scientific but in a crude sort of way it'll do the job, at least in the short term. Someone in the US Army during WWII stationed in the rural Philippines swears they'd break horses with two-by-fours, too.

                    The problem is leaving a tick head/mouth buried for days with increased risk of tick-borne or other infection, plus days with an sore welt.

                    None of the other approaches have work reliably for me or anyone else around here I know.

                    Took many experiments but this one does.
                    "Things should be as simple as possible,
                    but no simpler." - Einstein

                    “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                    Comment


                    • #11


                      It's easy enough to grab their heads with tweezers and pull them out all in one piece with no embedded parts and without squeezing their contents back into your own (or your critter's).

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by citydog View Post


                        It's easy enough to grab their heads with tweezers and pull them out all in one piece with no embedded parts and without squeezing their contents back into your own (or your critter's).
                        With such dexterity you have a bright future awaiting you in the healthcare profession.

                        The rest of us who aren't so gifted need to rely on inducing their cheerful cooperation.

                        Think of it as a partnership between rider and tick facilitated by alcohol. Now if I could only knock a couple back with my horse and come to the same understanding.
                        "Things should be as simple as possible,
                        but no simpler." - Einstein

                        “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yay! I'm a dexterous idiot!

                          A) I'm not waiting one extra second to get that icky thing off of me

                          B) If we're going to ascribe human emotions to parasitic insects, then I vote for a causing a split second of pain vs. 10 minutes of terror while it slowly drowns in a miniature vat of booze.
                          I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                          Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            According to the CDC, the best way to remove a tick is with tweezers or a tick extractor. If the mouth parts break off in the skin, they're easy to remove the same way you'd remove a shallow splinter-- no need to "leave (it) buried for days". If you're too squeamish to remove mouth parts from your skin, it won't increase the risk of tick-borne infections, as the bacteria are carried in the tick's gut. The entire head can't break off in the skin, because ticks don't bury their heads to feed.
                            From the CDC's website:
                            Folklore remedies, such as the use of petroleum jelly or hot matches, do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin. In fact, they may make matters worse by irritating the tick and stimulating it to release additional saliva or regurgitate gut contents, increasing the chances of transmitting the pathogen. These methods of tick removal should be avoided.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I just soak them with fly spray if they are in unreachable areas of horseflesh and they drop off w/in 1/2 an hour.

                              On the dogs I'll either douse them in spray also, or pull them.

                              On me, I pull the suckers and shudder....

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by HighFlyinBey++ View Post
                                B) If we're going to ascribe human emotions to parasitic insects, then I vote for a causing a split second of pain vs. 10 minutes of terror while it slowly drowns in a miniature vat of booze.
                                My joke about cooperation aside, I don't give a rat's ass about how the tick feels. (If there any Jainists out there, since the ticks come out of this alive and crawling, at least until you squash them dead afterward, the Everclear approach seems better.)

                                CDC is right that the 'folk remedies' don't seem to work, at least not for me or my friends.

                                Which was the driver to experiment for a few years until I worked this out.

                                Rinsing a big cotton ball in 95% ethanol and sticking it on with a big piece of tape or some vet wrap for ten minutes ought to accomplish the same thing, but I haven't collected data yet. (That would have the advantage of working for ticks in hard to reach places such as the belly of a critter.)
                                "Things should be as simple as possible,
                                but no simpler." - Einstein

                                “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Read the CDC website. Just remove the tick with tweezers. Don't torture the tick with various substances before you try to remove it. They are more likely to spit infectious substances into you if you torture them instead of just pulling them off. My experience, after pulling off many, many, ticks at work, is that they break apart much more easily if they are dead or have been tortured. Then, the head is left in place, which can be annoying (as well hard to remove if it bothers you).

                                  If I don't have tweezers, and I am not at work, I just pull of the tick with my hand and wash my hands afterwards. With the very tiny deer ticks, it is easier to use tweezers.

                                  If a deer tick has been on you for more than 24 hours and is fat/engorged, some people will prescribe a 200mg dose of doxycycline if you are in a Lyme endemic area. Otherwise, you just need to watch for rashes, fevers, or flu like symptoms in the next weeks.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My apologies for failing to grasp that your thread title was a joke

                                    Ticks: Ultimate Solution to Remove Them Intact Without Pain
                                    Or was the "without pain" part referring to human pain? I haven't finished my coffee oh crap, now I'm late for work!
                                    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                                    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by HighFlyinBey++ View Post
                                      My apologies for failing to grasp that your thread title was a joke



                                      Or was the "without pain" part referring to human pain? I haven't finished my coffee oh crap, now I'm late for work!
                                      Human. Over the next few days, not instantly while yanking it off the old fashioned way. That last is no worse than yanking off a bandaid.

                                      I'll tweak the title if I can think so something.

                                      But those ticks are feeling no pain. I don't recommend drinking the Everclear afterward though it probably kills any microbes.
                                      "Things should be as simple as possible,
                                      but no simpler." - Einstein

                                      “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        What proof Everclear was this? Because, unfortunately, even in some of the very few states where you could still buy it the governments have determined that humans are unable to handle the responsibility of 190 proof anymore, and you can only get then 151 proof.
                                        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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