About the Inventor2017-03-02T21:36:59+00:00

“Watertown inventor has key to removing ticks


WATERBURY — They’re the scourge of the woods, crawling up bare ankles and squeezing their way into moist crevices where they feast on blood and spread disease until engorged.

Ridding yourself or your pets of ticks once they’ve embedded themselves can be a gut-wrenching and painful process marred by misinformation and the diminutive size of the eight-legged parasites.

A Watertown inventor has picked up the challenge and developed a new way to pluck off the bugs that appears to work equally well with both pets and their two-legged counterparts.

It’s called the Tick Key, and it’s selling like hot cakes.

It’s the easiest tick removal device in the world, boasts inventor James Binkoski. An eyelet in the center of a key-shaped wedge of anodized aluminum fits over the top of the tick, he explained, and as the Tick Key slides across the skin the tick is channeled into an ever-narrowing groove until it can be pulled free, removing the entire body.

“It gets the head 99.9 percent of the time,” Binkoski said.

It also may prevent the spread of some diseases associated with the arachnid because of how quickly it works, said Donna Libby, director of sales and marketing.

“It doesn’t traumatize the tick during removal,” she said, adding that yanking on a tick can cause it to regurgitate the blood from previous hosts, which can spread toxins into the body like those associated with Lyme disease.

Binkoski, a hunter and a pet owner, said he came up with the idea after countless struggles with his dog removing ticks with tweezers after tromping through the forest. He jotted it down in the mid-1990s, but didn’t began manufacturing it until 2008, when he and Libby began a coast-to-coast marketing blitz of pet trade shows. Libby said she’s been working 17-hour days promoting the product for the last two and a half years.

“U.S. Patent # 20110098723A1”

“Inventor: James P. Binkoski ” A device for use in the removal of a tick from a host, the device comprising:

a sheet of material;
a hole in the sheet of material, wherein the hole is configured to be placed around a tick;
a narrow projection, wherein the narrow projection is configured to grasp and hold the tick during removal; and

a transition region, wherein the transition region is configured to:

connect the hole to the narrow projection; and
self-center the tick within the device as the device is moved from a position where the tick is in the hole to a position where the tick is in the narrow projection.