The Tick Key Tick Remover

The Tick Key

I saw this the other day and picked one up for my first aid kit. It’s called The Tick Key® and is a really easy way to remove ticks that have already attached themselves. The Tick Key is made from strong 5052 anodized aluminum and is available in seven cool colors; green, blue, orange, purple, red, pewter, and black – as you can see I got myself the blue one.

Using the Tick Key is simple. You place the key over the entire body of the tick in the large part of the tear shaped slot of the key. Pull the key away from the tick sliding it along the skin until it get’s caught in the narrow “v” of the key. The tick is removed easily and safely, head and all!

I’m going to put this one in the first aid kit that I always carry with me. I’m also considering buying several more to have attached to my backpacks. Below is a product video that I found on YouTube of the Tick Key in action.

What tool or method do you use for removing ticks?

Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.

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  • Anonymous

    I carried one of those for awhile until I came to the conclusion that a pair of simple tweezers were far more versitile and useful. Try pulling out a sliver, ingrown hair, etc. with the tick key.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    That’s absolutely right. I’d carried a tiny pair of wickedly pointed tweezers for a long time and still do for splinters etc. The Tick Key is very much a single purpose piece of gear in that respect. I’ll see how it goes and adjust accordingly as usual, it’s an ever evolving battle :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04380958324541306917 JERMM

    The thoughts of having a tick on me makes me squirm. Having had lyme disease in ’09 I’m always interested in prevention and removal of the nasty beasts. I saw another version/brand of a tick removal device on another blog not long ago, I can’t remember where though.

    I wonder how well the Tick Key works on the tiny deer tick? Any volunteers out there?

    I use tweezers for removal, more uses and something I already carry. I can’t see me adding a Tick Key to my kit, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea, actually it’s a very cleaver one.

  • Anonymous

    This could be an invaluable tool for certain activities. In the Marines, I’ve come out of swampy training areas with a dozen ticks stuck to my body.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    JJ, according to the literature that came with the Tick Key, it is purposely designed to remove the pin-head sized deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) that you can find all year round, as well as the larger black-legged, lonestar, and dog ticks. Luckily I’ve never had Lyme disease but have had to remove many small deer ticks in my time. I bought the Tick Key out of curiosity (I’m an incurable gadget geek) and to see how effective it is. I’ll write a follow-up review after I have had to use it a couple of times.

    Sorry to hear you had Lyme disease in 2009. Hope you’re better now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02134844080876741022 Ray Anderson

    I tried something like this about 8years ago and, like the person said above, tweezers were just as good. But that was a metal one that bent out of shape and didn’t stand up. This looks stronger–if it is, it will be useful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Ray, to be honest I haven’t been able (thankfully) to test it out yet. I plan to post an update after I’ve used it, but I’m curious to see how well it works so I’m gonna give it a shot. It also looked like a cool design.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12336405315814453842 Matt DeWitt

    where do you get these. Campsaver shows sold out.

  • Anonymous

    This looks like it’d require less fine tuned manual dexterity than a set of tweezers, making it more useful for removing ticks from yourself in hard to reach but still accessible places.

    I completely agree tweezers are more versatile and if you have someone else with you.

    I’ve had three ticks on me when I went hiking in Tennessee and only one of them were in a spot I could get with tweezers myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Matt, you should be able to get these at most of the big name outdoor stores. I know that REI stocks them and you can have them shipped to your local store for free pickup.

    Anonymous, several people have posted here that they prefer tweezers and that they also have multiple uses, but I’m hoping this single purpose tick key will be ideal for its intended purpose. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I haven’t had to use it since I bought it :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12336405315814453842 Matt DeWitt

    Great thanks

  • ttownbeast

    Bad Idea here’s why–a tick has a cork screw for a mouth it twists its way into the skin even if you manage to remove the rest of the tick that corkscrew is still stuck and separating any piece of a tick from the rest of it releases toxins from the bug into your skin. the only good known working method is to burn it off. If you go hiking even if you don’t smoke keep a pack of smokes and some waterproof matches handy. You get a tick you light one up take a few puffs and singe the tick, puff puff singe, it will back itself out and you can flick it off the skin. Still following a hiking trip and you have been bitten by one of those nasty things get yourself checked by a doctor–ticks carry some really serious diseases.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00215280603948401453 Tim @ Appalachia and Beyond

    We picked one of these up at the Bass Pro a couple weeks back. We haven’t used it as of yet but could have weekend before last. Anyway, What about that video? I didn’t see the tick key used on a person. Only on a dog. Furthermore how many ticks did that dog have? Do those people not know about Frontline or K9 Advantix?
    As for our methods of tick removal, and we get plenty through the year, it’s either our fingers or tweezers. It really all depends on when and where we find them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Tim, I agree with you comments about the video only showing a dog (poor dog). I intend to try and shoot a video of me using the Tick on myself as and when I get one of the nasty little suckers, but I’m not going to set that up just for the purposes of a demonstration video :-) Feel free to if you want to and I’ll post your video here! LOL

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    That’s absolutely right. I’d carried a tiny pair of wickedly pointed tweezers for a long time and still do for splinters etc. The Tick Key is very much a single purpose piece of gear in that respect. I’ll see how it goes and adjust accordingly as usual, it’s an ever evolving battle :-)

  • http://profiles.google.com/treeswing Kevin Stevens

    Just got a tick embedded in me two weekends ago. Full on(!) tick season here in the CA hills, brushed a couple off on the hike and then woke up with one in the middle of my back the next morning. One thing is, if you can’t get at it yourself having the right tool is important: if the person helping you is nervous, not as steady or is using something that wasn’t designed for the task, the whole operation can be more of an ideal.

    I handed my GF the ‘Uncle Bill’s Sliver Grippers’ because the are usually awesome and always handy on the key-ring attachment that some of them have. Thing is, they are too sharp and pointy and she broke the tick off with parts still inside. She might have been more freaked out than need be, but I’m pretty sure the tweezers were just designed to grab splinters and not anything squishable/breakable. As it was, I made her get out her small pen knife and dig out the rest of the parts. Everything has healed up nicely and I’m keeping an eye on my health and the (nearly healed)wound (WooHoo camp surgery, um… FTW!)

    I’ve since looked at the tick key and other(often more ridiculous) solutions, and wondered about those vs. a pair of dull-ish tweezers(maybe with a bent nose?). I’m due back at the same park this weekend and will probably just go with a set of reg tweezers and better checks before bed. I’m still waiting to hear from someone with actual experience of these products rather than the marketing I’ve read over and over again. It’s all so believable, but also so rare that you need them that it’s hard to tell what actually works most of the time.

    What I would advise ttownbeast and others is to do some properly vetted research into ticks/Lyme Disease and know what to do based on science and fact, not what most of us learned as kids(I’m just recently unlearning many of the “facts” I was taught growing up in the woods). The “cork screw” mentioned most likely refers to the spiral-shaped bacterium, not the actual tick. Pulling straight up on the insect and >not>>Pretty reliable group of brainiacs
    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7485.html#PREVENTION
    >>> Warning: Not well referenced!
    http://www.coepark.org/tick-info.html
    http://coepark.org/Ponderosa/Early_Spring2011.pdf (page 9)

    **
    This could be promising…
    http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcaster/2011/04/repel-mosquitoes-and-ticks-with-grapefruit.html

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great information Kevin, thanks so much for sharing with us!

  • http://profiles.google.com/treeswing Kevin Stevens

    Just got a tick embedded in me two weekends ago. Full on(!) tick season here in the CA hills, brushed a couple off on the hike and then woke up with one in the middle of my back the next morning. One thing is, if you can’t get at it yourself having the right tool is important: if the person helping you is nervous, not as steady or is using something that wasn’t designed for the task, the whole operation can be more of an ideal.

    I handed my GF the ‘Uncle Bill’s Sliver Grippers’ because the are usually awesome and always handy on the key-ring attachment that some of them have. Thing is, they are too sharp and pointy and she broke the tick off with parts still inside. She might have been more freaked out than need be, but I’m pretty sure the tweezers were just designed to grab splinters and not anything squishable/breakable. As it was, I made her get out her small pen knife and dig out the rest of the parts. Everything has healed up nicely and I’m keeping an eye on my health and the (nearly healed)wound (WooHoo camp surgery, um… FTW!)

    I’ve since looked at the tick key and other(often more ridiculous) solutions, and wondered about those vs. a pair of dull-ish tweezers(maybe with a bent nose?). I’m due back at the same park this weekend and will probably just go with a set of reg tweezers and better checks before bed. I’m still waiting to hear from someone with actual experience of these products rather than the marketing I’ve read over and over again. It’s all so believable, but also so rare that you need them that it’s hard to tell what actually works most of the time.

    What I would advise ttownbeast and others is to do some properly vetted research into ticks/Lyme Disease and know what to do based on science and fact, not what most of us learned as kids(I’m just recently unlearning many of the “facts” I was taught growing up in the woods). The “cork screw” mentioned most likely refers to the spiral-shaped bacterium, not the actual tick. Pulling straight up on the insect and >not< twisting or smoking or using vaseline is the most sure way of removing them whole*.

    I dislike DEET so I give that caveat for following some of these directions, but do as you see fit for yourself**

    Places to start learning – Be aware these are both much more geared to California – Contact your local University Extension or similar for your locale.

    * >>>Pretty reliable group of brainiacs
    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7485.html#PREVENTION
    >>> Warning: Not well referenced!
    http://www.coepark.org/tick-info.html
    http://coepark.org/Ponderosa/Early_Spring2011.pdf (page 9)

    **
    This could be promising…
    http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcaster/2011/04/repel-mosquitoes-and-ticks-with-grapefruit.html

  • bfgreen

    Great information Kevin, thanks so much for sharing with us!

  • Rickrace1

    I’ve used tweezers effectively for years. A friend whose wife has severe Lymes recommended Tick Key. I’ve used several times on various tick including tiny deer ticks. It’s fabulous! Quick and VERY easy. IMHO, particularly good is that there is no chance to squeeze tick where it may flush its current mouthful back into you/pet (not seen research on this, just MHO).

    I’ve found, for tiny ticks, orienting key along tick from head to tail and pulling gently works best.

    For backpackers, it is so light and small there is no reason not to carry in First Aid kit; even ultralighters (if going through wet, high-grass areas in Spring/Fall).

    Hey Brian,

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      @6a67e037d0e0c2f17778f2ec5a62646f:disqus Couldn’t agree more, I’ve put one in each of my outdoor first aid kits. Great feedback, thanks Rick.

  • Rickrace1

    I’ve used tweezers effectively for years. A friend whose wife has severe Lymes recommended Tick Key. I’ve used several times on various tick including tiny deer ticks. It’s fabulous! Quick and VERY easy. IMHO, particularly good is that there is no chance to squeeze tick where it may flush its current mouthful back into you/pet (not seen research on this, just MHO).

    I’ve found, for tiny ticks, orienting key along tick from head to tail and pulling gently works best.

    For backpackers, it is so light and small there is no reason not to carry in First Aid kit; even ultralighters (if going through wet, high-grass areas in Spring/Fall).

    Hey Brian,

  • bfgreen

    @6a67e037d0e0c2f17778f2ec5a62646f Couldn’t agree more, I’ve put one in each of my outdoor first aid kits. Great feedback, thanks Rick.

  • Cyn0508

    I just took a tick off my Newfie and I have been putting Frontline on him. Sometimes it isn’t enough.
     

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

       My chocolate lab has such dark brown fur that it’s almost impossible to spot a tick with the naked eye. I brush her down and give her a good hand inspection after hiking in areas that are prone to ticks. So far we’ve been able to keep them under control. But I agree, her pet meds alone don’t do the job.

  • Cyn0508

    I just took a tick off my Newfie and I have been putting Frontline on him. Sometimes it isn’t enough.
     

  • bfgreen

     My chocolate lab has such dark brown fur that it’s almost impossible to spot a tick with the naked eye. I brush her down and give her a good hand inspection after hiking in areas that are prone to ticks. So far we’ve been able to keep them under control. But I agree, her pet meds alone don’t do the job.

  • Joel

    Try pulling out a tick, the whole tick and nothing left behind with tweezers. Esp. on a dog.  I’ve tried for years and years. The Tick Key works wonders. However, I would not carry it on a routine basis. Only if I suspect I will be in tick-laden brush.

  • Joel

    Try pulling out a tick, the whole tick and nothing left behind with tweezers. Esp. on a dog.  I’ve tried for years and years. The Tick Key works wonders. However, I would not carry it on a routine basis. Only if I suspect I will be in tick-laden brush.

  • Joel

    Never have I had a tick — western deer tick here — “back-out” due to heat, coating with Vasoline, or any of the other suggestions put forth over the past 40 years. Tweezers, as often as not leave pieces of the tick embedded in the skin. That has not caused me a problem, but is sort of a “yuck.” The Tick Key is outrageously expensive, but I have removed about 25 ticks with it, two from myself, rest from my dogs. Pricey, but, darn it, it works well. 

  • Joel

    Never have I had a tick — western deer tick here — “back-out” due to heat, coating with Vasoline, or any of the other suggestions put forth over the past 40 years. Tweezers, as often as not leave pieces of the tick embedded in the skin. That has not caused me a problem, but is sort of a “yuck.” The Tick Key is outrageously expensive, but I have removed about 25 ticks with it, two from myself, rest from my dogs. Pricey, but, darn it, it works well. 

  • Wyldkardd

    a special tool is all well and good, but hydrogen peroxide works just fine.  use a cotton swab doused in the peroxide and cover the tick with it…the tick will remove itself, and you can kill it afterwards. this has the added benefits of cleaning the wound immediately, and preventing accidents, such as crushing the tick while it is still attached, both of which greatly reduce the possibility of infection.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Wyldkardd, hydrogen peroxide is all well and good (although I’ve heard mixed results to its success), but it’s way too bulky and heavy to carry in the field on the off chance that I will need it for a tick. The tick key is a trade off, but it does work and takes almost no space/weight in my kit.

      Has anyone else had any experience good/bad with using hydrogen peroxide to make a tick back out?

    • Fishhead1992

      What you have to understand is that any disturbance to the tick will cause it to regurgitate it’s stomach contents into it’s hosts bloodstream, Ich… and not good! The Tick Key removes the tick completely and quickly without disturbing the tick beforehand, and that includes peroxide, heat, tweezers, or any other method that doesn’t remove quickly and cleanly. At under $8 it is an investment in good health.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Wyldkardd, hydrogen peroxide is all well and good (although I’ve heard mixed results to its success), but it’s way too bulky and heavy to carry in the field on the off chance that I will need it for a tick. The tick key is a trade off, but it does work and takes almost no space/weight in my kit.

    Has anyone else had any experience good/bad with using hydrogen peroxide to make a tick back out?

  • Jesuisledoughboy

    At the Summer camp I work at, we use the good old fashioned tick spoon.  It also works on the deer ticks, but that could just be the specific kind of spoon we have.  tweezers are not good things to have, they can break the tick off in pieces much more easily than a spoon or a key, and then the area can become infected.  Tweezers will also become tempting when removing bee Stingers, which would only cause more venom to exit the gland at the base of the stinger.  similarly, tweezers can push the blood back through the mouth-parts, and wreak havoc on everything.

  • Jesuisledoughboy

    At the Summer camp I work at, we use the good old fashioned tick spoon.  It also works on the deer ticks, but that could just be the specific kind of spoon we have.  tweezers are not good things to have, they can break the tick off in pieces much more easily than a spoon or a key, and then the area can become infected.  Tweezers will also become tempting when removing bee Stingers, which would only cause more venom to exit the gland at the base of the stinger.  similarly, tweezers can push the blood back through the mouth-parts, and wreak havoc on everything.

  • Wyldkardd

    a special tool is all well and good, but hydrogen peroxide works just fine.  use a cotton swab doused in the peroxide and cover the tick with it…the tick will remove itself, and you can kill it afterwards. this has the added benefits of cleaning the wound immediately, and preventing accidents, such as crushing the tick while it is still attached, both of which greatly reduce the possibility of infection.

  • Donna

    I’m hoping I can help shed a little light on the subject of The Tick Key.  This device is AMAZING.  I’m going to try to help by addressing most issues I’ve read.

    1.  The Tick Key is designed to place the hole (opening) over the entire tick.  You don’t actually touch the tick until you are ready to give the final pull.

    2.   When ticks are pushed, pulled, poked and prodded, suffocated, etc. they become traumatized.  That traumatization makes the tick regurgitate their stomach contents back into the host. 

    3.  The products that have been mentioned to put on pets are toxic.  They are, in actuality, pesticides.  And, it appears that ticks are mutating the same as viruses are mutating when antibiotics are used.  Would you put pesticides on you?

    4.  The MSRP on Tick Key is $6.99… a small price to pay for a USA device made of anodized 5052 aluminum.  The cost to go to a physician or veterinarian for tick removal is significantly more than that.

    5.  This device is the only tick removal device endorsed by the American Canine Association.  It is an easy tool to use and it attaches right to your keychain.

    6.  People videos… these folks would welcome a video of a person removing a tick… It’s difficult, though, because nobody wants to wait for them to come over with the camera…   However, people removal is just as easy as pet removal.

    7.  Oh… by the way, ticks do not screw themselves in… therefore, they need to come out the same way they go in.

    Hope this helps!!!!!  At least a little.  Visit http://www.TickKey.com to find a retailer near you.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Donna. I had the misfortune/opportunity of having a tick embedded in my forearm this past summer. It was my son who spotted the tick on me and said, err dad that mole on your arm has legs!

      Without any hesitation I grabbed for my backpacking first aid kit, removed my TickKey and used it to cleanly remove the Tick which had already embedded it’s head into my skin. Luckily it had been less than 24hrs since it had gotten on me, so I wasn’t too worried.

      The TickKey worked perfectly and gave me a great opportunity to show my two children exactly what a nasty little critter a tick is and how to easily and safely remove it – a piece of hands on education they you don’t often get a chance to do.

      Kinda gross I know, but my kids now know what a tick is, what to do when they spot one on any of us or our chocolate lab, and most importantly – what a TickKey is and how to use  it to remove a tick!

      I missed the opportunity to video the process because I was wrapped up in the moment – maybe next time?

  • Donna

    I’m hoping I can help shed a little light on the subject of The Tick Key.  This device is AMAZING.  I’m going to try to help by addressing most issues I’ve read.

    1.  The Tick Key is designed to place the hole (opening) over the entire tick.  You don’t actually touch the tick until you are ready to give the final pull.

    2.   When ticks are pushed, pulled, poked and prodded, suffocated, etc. they become traumatized.  That traumatization makes the tick regurgitate their stomach contents back into the host. 

    3.  The products that have been mentioned to put on pets are toxic.  They are, in actuality, pesticides.  And, it appears that ticks are mutating the same as viruses are mutating when antibiotics are used.  Would you put pesticides on you?

    4.  The MSRP on Tick Key is $6.99… a small price to pay for a USA device made of anodized 5052 aluminum.  The cost to go to a physician or veterinarian for tick removal is significantly more than that.

    5.  This device is the only tick removal device endorsed by the American Canine Association.  It is an easy tool to use and it attaches right to your keychain.

    6.  People videos… these folks would welcome a video of a person removing a tick… It’s difficult, though, because nobody wants to wait for them to come over with the camera…   However, people removal is just as easy as pet removal.

    7.  Oh… by the way, ticks do not screw themselves in… therefore, they need to come out the same way they go in.

    Hope this helps!!!!!  At least a little.  Visit http://www.TickKey.com to find a retailer near you.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Donna. I had the misfortune/opportunity of having a tick embedded in my forearm this past summer. It was my son who spotted the tick on me and said, err dad that mole on your arm has legs!

    Without any hesitation I grabbed for my backpacking first aid kit, removed my TickKey and used it to cleanly remove the Tick which had already embedded it’s head into my skin. Luckily it had been less than 24hrs since it had gotten on me, so I wasn’t too worried.

    The TickKey worked perfectly and gave me a great opportunity to show my two children exactly what a nasty little critter a tick is and how to easily and safely remove it – a piece of hands on education they you don’t often get a chance to do.

    Kinda gross I know, but my kids now know what a tick is, what to do when they spot one on any of us or our chocolate lab, and most importantly – what a TickKey is and how to use  it to remove a tick!

    I missed the opportunity to video the process because I was wrapped up in the moment – maybe next time?

  • Fishhead1992

    What you have to understand is that any disturbance to the tick will cause it to regurgitate it’s stomach contents into it’s hosts bloodstream, Ich… and not good! The Tick Key removes the tick completely and quickly without disturbing the tick beforehand, and that includes peroxide, heat, tweezers, or any other method that doesn’t remove quickly and cleanly. At under $8 it is an investment in good health.

  • Sam Gold

    I’m sorry, been removing ticks for years from my dogs and that video showing the ticks being removed from dogs are WITHOUT the heads; they ARE NOT whole and intact. There is nothing better about this tool than a simple pair of tweezers.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I can’t speak for the video, it’s just an example I found, but I can tell you that I’ve used tweezers to remove ticks for years and the Tick Key is superior in every way. I wouldn’t carry one myself if it didn’t work.