By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer won’t officially start for two weeks, but tick season is definitely here. And it could be worse this year. That’s because ticks thrived after our mild winter. And they’re spreading across the state, infecting more Minnesotans with Lyme disease. But a recent change in the weather could take the teeth out of their march across the state.

Alex Lamkin checks his kids for ticks after time outside.

“If we’re out in the country like we are, they’re everywhere, anything by the woods, tall grass, that’s where they’re going to be,” Lamkin said.

Last year a tick bit 2-year-old Cameron. The bite resulted in Lyme disease.

“The tick bite was right on her back, right there. She got bit a week later she got a bulls eye rash, well we never saw the tick,” Lamkin said.

He knows the risk to his kids is real, especially from mid-May through mid-July. Ticks are expected to be a bigger problem this year nationwide because of the mild winter. Here there was enough snow cover to protect the ticks, when it melted and stayed away, there was a rapid emergence of the population.

Recent weather could change that. The Minnesota Department of Health explains ticks prefer humid or moist conditions. Rainfall helps ticks thrive. But our hot, dry weather helps kill them, especially black-legged ones that carry Lyme disease.

Lamkin admits wearing long sleeves and tucking pants into socks isn’t realistic for his kids during summer. But he said they’ll spray with a repellant with DEET.

“We just have to be even more diligent on checking the kids because there’s no way we can keep them inside all summer long, nor do we want to,” Lamkin said.

If you get a tick, use tweezers to grasp it near its mouth. Slowly pull the tick straight out, then clean the area. Minnesota averages more than 1,500 cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases each year.

For more information on tickborne diseases, click here.

Jennifer Mayerle