Ticks & Lyme Disease

Ticks are Present in Thunder Bay and District

There are two main species of ticks present in Thunder Bay and District: the wood tick (commonly called the American dog tick) and the black legged tick (previously known as the deer tick). The wood tick is a nuisance but presents no risk of disease transmission in our area. However, the black legged tick does have the potential to transmit Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by bacteria that affects the heart and lungs, the joints and the central nervous system. Visit Lyme Disease for more information.


Be Tick Smart

The Health Unit encourages residents to:

  • Protect yourself when you are active outdoors; wear long sleeves, tuck pants in socks, wear light coloured clothing so ticks are more easily noticed and use insect repellent.
  • Do a tick check before heading indoors (home, camp, tent). Look in warm, hidden areas on the body. This also includes the family pet; look in and around ears, between toes and warm areas.

Ticks penetrate the skin with their mouth parts, draw blood, enlarge and then drop off. The feeding tick's mouth will be under the skin, but the abdomen will be sticking out.

Remove ticks. Do not try to burn the tick off or use anything to smother it (e.g. Vaseline ©). Use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the head and mouth as close to the skin as possible. Pull up slowly until the tick is completely removed. Do not twist or turn. Try not to damage the tick so that it can be identified. Make sure the whole tick is removed. Put it in a clean container and mark the date and geographic location of where the tick was picked up. Treat the bite by washing the area with soap and water OR by applying rubbing alcohol.

Identify any tick you find. Use these photos to help you:

American dog ticks
American dog ticks


Blacklegged Ticks or Deer Ticks
Blacklegged Ticks or Deer Ticks


If you think it’s a blacklegged tick or you are not sure, please submit it to the Health Unit for identification. You can bring it to the office in Thunder Bay at 999 Balmoral Street from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. If you live in the district, you can drop the tick off at your nearest Health Unit office. If the tick is a blacklegged tick, it will be sent for testing.

The Health Unit is Monitoring the Tick Population

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit conducts both passive and active tick collection throughout the district to monitor the blacklegged tick population.

Passive Tick Collection: Members of the public can bring ticks into the TBDHU (including District offices) for identification.

Active Tick Collection: The TBDHU does “tick dragging” in locations where two or more blacklegged ticks have been found by the public.


If you are Bitten by a Tick

If you suspect you've been bitten by a tick and are concerned about the bite, please see a health care provider. Let them know any history of exposure to ticks (time spent outdoors), any rashes associated with the bite, travel history (to an area that is a risk area or an endemic area) and possible exposure dates (when you might have been bitten).



For Further Information

Call the Environmental Health Program: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

Last Updated: 13/10/2016