Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - Minnesota's unusual stretch of warm weather in late winter and early spring has led to earlier than normal tick activity...bring a sudden start to the tick-borne disease season.
Health officials are urging Northlanders to begin their efforts to protect themselves from the ticky situation...and the diseases they carry. It's official...they're back.
"I've already pulled two or three off my dog," says avid outdoorsman, Andrew Heyes.
And as if that news isn't bad enough...it looks like the pesky black-legged ticks will be here for quite a while.
"The early snow melt, coupled warmer than normal temperatures, it's allowed the adult black legged ticks, what used to be called deer ticks, to come out a month earlier then they normally do," says Minnesota Department of Health tick-borne Disease Specialist, David Neitzel.
Creating a nuisance for avid anglers and hunters who recreate in tick habitat.
"It concerns me a little bit...I'm gonna be more cautious I guess, I mean, it's not going to stop me from doing what I do but I'll probably put on more bug spray when I go out," says outdoor enthusiast, Andrew Sandberg.
Which is exactly what experts are suggesting.
"The tick usually gets onto your body near the ground so if you apply repellents from waist height on down, that really protects against tick bites," Neitzel says.
Avid Outdoorsman, Larry Thompson had a tick encounter he will never forget.
"It buried into my arm, in to my muscle, deep into it and I didn't notice it there and I was wondering why my arm was aching through the night and I looked in the morning and I could see a little tick in there," Thompson says.
Being in the outdoors in the summer comes with the risk of contact with the pesky blood suckers.
Most state regulations don't allow hunters and anglers to transport firewood...creating more opportunity to pick up ticks as they find their own...and with the tick season already off to a big start...it could cause some concern for outdoor enthusiasts.
"It'll be a slight inconvenience, but it's nothing I can't handle," says Sandberg.
Minnesota Department of Health tick-borne disease specialist, David Neitzel, says it's important to seek medical care if you begin to develop a rash, fever, joint pain, headache, fatigue or muscle aches after being in a tick habitat.