The Tick App is a free app for your smartphone conceived to allow the participation of people living in high-risk areas for Lyme disease in our tick exposure behavioral study.

Who are we? 

This study is conducted by researchers from Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, members of the CDC Regional Centers for Excellence in Vector-Borne diseases. Funding for this study is provided by the Centers for Disease Control.


What is the study about?

In two words, Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans after a tick bite. This study is designed to help us understand more about how  people’s practices and activities impact their exposure to ticks. This research is being done because Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease (infections transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, etc) in the United States. The information provided will help us design integrated control strategies to prevent diseases transmitted by ticks.

Why is my participation important and how is the app useful to me?

If you live in a high-risk area, sharing your experience and perspective with us will help us learn about the risk factors for tick borne disease and design better methods that prevent tick bites and tick-borne disease. We really appreciate your input!

We are also including information that will help you identify the different tick species, ways to prevent tick exposure and other information that will help you understand more about ticks and the diseases they transmit.

How can you help us?

Once you download the app and register for an account, you will be asked to take one enrollment survey that will help us capture your baseline risk of exposure to ticks.

You will then receive a weekly to monthly message to start your tick diary during the high risk months (May to September). The tick diary, or activity report, should take less than a minute to complete. It asks if you or a household member encountered a tick and what you did that day. When you start the tick diary, you will receive a daily reminder until you complete 15 reports.

Also, you can help us by reporting any tick through a quick form built in the app.

If I don’t want to use the app, how can I participate?

You can sign-up in our website and the surveys will be sent to your email. The informational material can also be found in this website


Anybody over 18 years old is welcome to join the Tick App project! This year the in-person part of the study is also available in Wisconsin. We will be focused on Eau Claire, Madison, Baraboo and Minoqua areas.

Tick Chat: We like to learn about your thoughts about ticks, tick-borne disease and what our research can do about it. We will be hosting conversations about ticks and the Tick App project in:

  • Eau Claire – May 22nd, interested? Register here.
  • Madison – May TBD
  • Mirror Lake – May 25th or 30th, interested? Register here.
  • Near Minoqua – End of June

The conversations are about one hour and limited to 10-15 people. Therefore we request you to sign up and we will confirm with you.

Backyard tick collections: Residential sampling, i.e. collecting ticks in back yards, will be done in:

  • Eau Claire – June 3rd until June 10th
    • In and near Putnam Park
    • In and near Centennial Park
    • In and near Lowe’s Creek County Park

If you live near these parks and would like to enroll in the Tick App and have your backyard sampled for ticks, please contact us via email (tickapp @ or flag us down during our visit to your neighborhood.


Several universities, public health agencies, commercial companies and other entities offer tick identification and pathogen testing of your tick.

Different tick species transmit different pathogens, so it helps to know which species bit you. You can send the image of your tick or tick to us, but we are not testing them. Even if a tick is tested for pathogens and none were detected, that does not mean that there is zero chance of you developing a disease. There is the chance that other ticks might have been attached to you and gone unnoticed (they are very small!).

Submit a picture:

  • In the Tick App you can submit your Tick report and picture through a pop up website. We hope to have this option integrated in the app in 2019 (or sooner)!
  • From Wisconsin? Click here to submit the story and pictures to the Wisconsin Medical Entomology Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Madison part of the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-borne Disease.
  • From anywhere?
  • From anywhere? Try your extension contact of insect diagnostician.

The actual tick for identification and testing:

Know of any other places where ticks can be submitted for identification or testing, let us know (


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