tickSAFE researches on different gripper heads


Technical development of the gripper heads

tickSAFE is constantly developing  technical improvements to the gripper heads. Different shapes and materials are tested on humans and animals.

  • How does the gripper behave with very small or large ticks?
  • How does attachment duration and tick size influence the way of tick removal?
  • Has the tick already dug in or has it just latched on?

How do pinched hair or fur affect the turning out of the tick? These factors play an important role and determine the success of tick removal.

In the pipeline: the gripper head to remove small ticks

The removal of small ticks is a challenge. Even experienced users might try several times until the tick is removed. tickSAFE has concerned itself intensively with the removal of small ticks. Conclusion: If the tick is not positioned exactly in the center of the gripper, it can slip out laterally from the gripping slot during the rotation. In certain positions the large gripper head might prevent the view of the tick and the exact gripping position. Therefore a new gripper head has been developed.

For this new model the gripper halves have been constructed as two flexible, tweezer-type gripping arms. This allows the user to get a clear view of the tick to be removed. Now you can see if the gripper is placed correctly and if the tick is positioned in the center of the closed gripping arms. Fundamentally the new gripper head works like a pair of tweezers with two crucial advantages: the flexible arms prevent the tick from being squeezed and the tick is automatically twisted out by the rotation mechanics.

Pulling or twisting?

What is better: pulling or twisting? A view into the literature helps:

  • Zenner (2006) shows, that in 70% (!) the mouth tools remain in the host when pulling, but only in 20%  when twisting,

  • Robisch (2010) has tested different methods of tick removal and prefers the twisting procedure,

  • Duscher, Peschke and Tichy (2012) point out the advantages of twisting,

  • Meinhold (2016) gives an overview of the different removal methods.





Especially the careful removing of small ticks requires pratice. To reduce the transmission risk it is better to repeat the attempt several times than to squeeze the tick with a rigid material and to thereby possibly trigger an infection.

The new gripper head will go into series production after extensive clinical testing. We'll keep you up to date.