Ticks - Identification & Testing

Testing of ticks for B. burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme Disease, is generally not recommended due to the following:

  • Results of tick testing should not be used for treatment decisions.
  • Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
  • Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
  • Ticks can potentially transmit diseases other than Lyme Disease.

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick or have any other concerns, see your doctor.  Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

For further information please visit the following CDPH websites:

Determine Tick Type

To determine the type of the tick (without testing) call before going to: 

Nevada County Office of Agriculture

950 Maidu Avenue
Suite 170
Nevada City, CA 95959
Phone: 530-470-2690

Farm Advisor UC Davis Extension

Grass Valley Veterans Building
255 S Auburn Street
Suite 1
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Phone: 530-273-4563


Labs offering both tick identification and tick testing for Lyme-causing bacteria (contact lab for submittal instructions):
 Name of Laboratory  Tick Test(s) Contact
Butte Public Health Laboratory Tick ID / IFA 530-891-2747
NSYM (Napa, Solano, Yolo & Marin Tick ID / IFA 707-784-4410
Sonoma County Public Health Laboratory Tick ID / IFA 707-565-4711
Santa Clara Public Health Laboratory Tick ID / IFA 408-885-4272
Shasta County Health & Human Services Tick ID / IFA 530-225-5072
Humbolt County Public Health Laboratory Tick ID / IFA 707-268-2179

Labs offering tick identification only:
 Name of Laboratory  Tick Test(s) Contact
 Placer County Mosquito & Vector Control Tick ID 916-380-5444
 Sacramento Public Health Laboratory Tick ID 916-874-9231
 Santa Cruz Public Health Laboratory Tick ID 831-454-5445

Download the above list of laboratories in a convenient PDF flyer, 
2018 Tick Testing Laboratories (PDF)

Specimen Requirements

  • Tick specimen must be in good condition
  • Fresh, preferably live, not dried up
  • Whole with all parts intact, not crushed
  • Do not put tick in alcohol or other desiccant
    (Dead ticks in alcohol can only be PCR tested)
  • May put a moist blade of grass, leaf or cotton in a non-breakable container with the tick