Should I put anything other than the tick in my specimen bag?

Only water (if anything)!

Do not put your tick in anything other than water! This includes alcohol, tape, vaseline, toilet paper, facial tissue, cotton balls, medical or prescription bottles, nail polish, bleach, formaldehyde, formalin, etc.. If you’ve already put your tick in one of these, it might still be testable so long as the substance did not damage the nucleic acid.