You can thank a mild winter and wet spring for the probable tick explosion this summer.

Ticks, along with other insects such as mosquitoes, thrive in hot, humid weather, said University of Alabama Museums Director of Museum Research and Collaborations John Abbot.

“Each tick species can harbor one or more diseases, and there are quite a few species that we can come across in Alabama,” Abbott said.

Common ticks to worry about in Alabama include deer ticks, American dog ticks, Lone Star ticks and Gulf Coast ticks.

“Hopefully, people in the South especially are using flea and tick control on their dogs and on their cats,” Abbott said. “But you can pick them up yourself walking around out in nature, particularly in wooded areas.”

Here’s some simple tips for keeping ticks at bay:

  • If you have pets, make sure they’re taking a flea and tick preventative
  • Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes
  • Use a bug spray containing DEET around your shoes, socks and pants
  • Check over yourself and your family when you get back inside
  • Launder your clothes in hot water

“They can get anywhere,” Abbott said. “Check your head, underneath your hair, underarms, anywhere on the body, really.”

If you do find a tick on yourself, here’s what to do:

  • Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers
  • When you grab the tick, make sure you grab it by the head and pull it out with steady force

Different ticks can pass on different diseases depending on how long they’ve been feeding, Abbott said, so it’s imperative to remove a tick as soon as you find one.

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