MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnehaha Dog Park in Minneapolis is Violet the Pit Bull’s new favorite spot. Her owner, Jesse Haroldson, also loves it.

“It’s such an adventure, there’s even a wooded area and streams you can walk, it’s incredible,” Haroldson said.

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Unfortunately, deer ticks also like places like this.

University of Minnesota Assistant Professor Jonathon Oliver says milder winters, like the one we had this year, kill off less ticks — leading to a worse season for us.

“All the indications are that there’s going to be a lot of ticks this year,” Oliver said.

He also said they thrive in humid, wooded environments, and have been spreading to more parts of the state over the years.

(credit: CBS)

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“They’re definitely taking over more territory,” Oliver said.

But parts of Minnesota have been extremely dry lately, and that could help.

“Certainly areas that have drought, we would expect there to be fewer ticks,” Oliver said.

Janet Jarnefeld with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District isn’t seeing too many ticks in their surveillance checks across the metro.

“It’s not looking like it’s too fierce compared to a normal year. It actually seems lower than normal,” Jarnefeld said.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. Spray with DEET helps. Wearing long pants, even tucking in your socks, will also help. And check yourself, your kids and your pets daily, especially after being outside in a wooded area.

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Oliver says if you find a small tick — the size of a poppy seed or one with a red body — it’s likely a deer tick. Take it out with tweezers as fast as you can. If it hasn’t drawn blood, look out for a rash or flu-like symptoms for four weeks. If it’s full of blood, you should call your doctor.

Erin Hassanzadeh