Dan Wolff designed TickEase to safely and effectively remove ticks from people and pets.
NEEDHAM, Mass. – It’s safe to say that most of us don’t want ticks near our families and pets. But for a Massachusetts man, being surrounded by ticks is a way of life.
Dan Wolff spent years inventing tweezers designed to remove ticks at any stage of their life cycle. But he says the crux of his growing business is raising awareness about ticks and the diseases they carry.
To say that Wolff is “obsessed with ticks” is an understatement. He has pictures of ticks on his truck, watch, phone case, clothes, and even deer tick tattoos.
But there’s a method to its madness – ticks make people talk, and some conversations may surprise you.
“They come and say, ‘Hey, look at that spider, it’s not a spider, it’s a tick,’ and ticks carry Lyme disease,” Wolff explained.
Wolff, who calls himself “Tick Man Dan”, invented TickEase: a two-sided tweezer designed to remove encrusted ticks from people and pets. The idea behind the million-dollar business began more than two decades ago after he found an embedded tick on his 10-year-old son.
“Luckily my son never developed any symptoms, thank goodness,” Wolff said.
Wolff’s father was a prominent infectious disease physician, so he knew that prompt and proper removal of ticks was key to preventing infection for him and his family. Because there was no effective tool besides one-sided tweezers for removing ticks on the market, he decided to make his own in his basement.
“I had a roll of foil and cut and molded it and ended up with my first prototype,” Wolff said.
One side of the tool has fine-tipped tweezers to remove ticks, even at their smallest life stage, including nymphs. On the other side is a V-shaped scoop for removing ticks, including engorged ones from pets.
TickEase is sold in over 300 online and retail stores nationwide.
Beth Carrison, who lives in Shapleigh, is a long-time customer of TickEase. Carrison has Lyme disease and Alpha Gal syndrome, a type of food allergy to red meat and other products made from mammals and is caused by a Lone Star tick bite. The condition can cause burning rashes and other symptoms.
“When I eat ham or pork, it’s really bad for me, I’m going to go into born anaphylaxis,” Carrison explained.
She relies on TickEase to remove ticks as soon as she spots them on her family and her dog, Maggie. TickEase also sells permethrin-treated dog bandanas to protect against foraging ticks in brush and grass.
The company also sells a tick kit, equipped with TickEase, alcohol swabs, packets of antibiotic ointment, a magnifying glass, instructions for obtaining an academic health risk assessment and tick testing in laboratory at a reduced price.
Wolff says building his business goes hand-in-hand with raising awareness of tick-borne diseases, which the CDC says infect nearly half a million people in the United States each year.
For real-time tracking data on Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, click here.
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