Mild winters and an upward trend in climate both are contributing to an increase in tick populations this year. Since ticks flourish in warm, humid environments, the combination of a wet winter and humid summer is causing higher tick numbers this summer. This is because the arthropod life cycle is accelerated in these conditions. Warm and humid conditions also favor tick hosts including deer and mice, further accelerating tick density. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show tick bites are at higher levels than past years. South Central, Northeast and Midwest regions are seeing this trend more so than other areas of the U.S. Ticks such as the American dog tick and blacklegged tick are active – species known to cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, respectively. To avoid these tick-borne diseases, apply tick repellent or wear permethrin-treated clothing if hiking through wooded, brushy areas. After coming in from outdoors, shower and throw clothes and gear into the dryer to kill any ticks. To keep ticks away from yards, keep grass mowed, shrubs trimmed and leaves raked. If bitten by a tick, remove it immediately by grasping the tick with a tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pulling directly upwards. Removed ticks can be flushed down the toilet, placed in alcohol, sealed in a bag, lit with a lighter or wrapped in tape. The tick may be kept for testing if symptoms occur after being bit. Visit the tickreport.com for information on how to send in ticks for testing. Results will be available within three business days after the tick arrives to the lab. Read more about tick population levels and how to stay safe this summer at https://www.prevention.com/health/a36558703/tick-time-bomb-summer-2021/.