College News
College News

Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project accepting submissions, advancing public health research and safety

Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project accepting submissions, advancing public health research and safety

Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project accepting submissions, advancing public health research and safety

The Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project, housed in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Entomology, offers a unique opportunity for the community to contribute to tickborne disease understanding — furthering public health research in the state.

Lexington, Ky.—

The Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project is now accepting tick-testing submissions from Kentucky residents. This project, produced by the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, aims to improve knowledge about where ticks are found and the diseases they might carry.

The results help further public health research at the state level and alleviate concerns for citizens worried about tickborne illnesses. 

"The Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project directly contributes to our understanding of tickborne diseases and their distribution across the state," said Jonathan Larson, UK Department of Entomology assistant professor. "By the community participating, Kentuckians are not only aiding in crucial public health research but are also taking proactive steps toward safeguarding their own health and their neighbor’s." 

To ensure the safety and integrity of the samples, and to comply with postal regulations, participants are urged to follow strict guidelines when preparing ticks for submission: 

  • Do Not Mail Live Ticks: Ensure that ticks are not alive when sent. 
  • Avoid Liquid Alcohol: Do not send samples in containers of liquid rubbing alcohol. 
  • Proper Packaging: Avoid using only paper envelopes for mailing ticks as they may get damaged in mail processing machines. 
  • Avoid Taping Ticks: Do not place ticks between pieces of tape. 

Participants must complete a submission form before sending their tick sample. This form is crucial for processing and can be found at  

Samples without a completed form will not be accepted. Detailed instructions for preparing the tick sample, including necessary supplies and packaging steps, ensure samples arrive in good condition for testing. 

Important Considerations: 

  • Selective Testing: Ticks will not be tested for all possible pathogens. The project focuses on gathering data for surveillance purposes. 
  • Notification Process: Submitters will only be contacted if their submissions test positive for pathogens. There is no notification of negative results. 
  • Backlog and Time: Due to the project's volunteer nature, there is a testing backlog. Participants should expect delays. 
  • Not a Substitute for Medical Care: If a tick has bitten you and has symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Do not rely solely on submitting the tick for health decisions. 

"Community involvement is the backbone of the Kentucky Tick Surveillance Project," Larson said. "Every tick submitted is a piece of the puzzle in understanding our state's tickborne disease landscape. We thank everyone who participates for their contribution to this important work." 

Please send all ticks to the address below: 

Tick Surveillance Program 
C/O Subba Palli 
Department of Entomology 
S-225 Ag Science Center North 
Lexington, KY, 40546-0091 

For more information on the Kentucky Tick Surveillance, visit  

# # # 

The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. 

Crops Entomology

Related News

Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064