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Why ticks have been so bad this year

Experts say whatever was good for the drought, actually created prime conditions for tick activity.

MINNEAPOLIS — If you've felt like ticks have been really bad this year, it's not in your head and you're not the only person to think that. 

Experts say whatever was good for the drought, actually created prime conditions for tick activity.

"We had really good weather for ticks this year — cool weather, (and) the wet conditions increased humidity — so the ticks are very active," University of Minnesota Environmental Health Sciences professor Jon Oliver said.

Even experts like Oliver say they were taken aback by the numbers.

"I had been predicting that we wouldn't have that bad a year because of the drought conditions last summer," he said. "Ticks, especially deer ticks, are limited by dry conditions, but I went out to collect ticks last week and there were a lot of adult deer ticks."

Oliver said between him and a colleague, they collected 50 adult ticks in an hour. Last year around this time, he said they collected 30, over the course of two hours.

"I would say we're seeing at least twice as many ticks out at one time," he said.

Oliver added that prevention is key, especially when ticks are this active.

"Any (Environmental Protection Agency) EPA approved repellent works really well against ticks, as well as mosquitoes. That includes DEET, but new ones on the market that are just as good and last almost as long as DEET," Oliver said. "It might be a fashion faux pas, but tucking your pants into your socks will at least keep the ticks outside of your pants."

Oliver said ticks don't thrive in dry weather so when the temperatures rise, and things dry out a little more, we might see some relief from ticks.

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