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Just as the weather is warming up in Minnesota comes a warning that 2021 could be a bad year for ticks.

You'd almost think something like this would have happened LAST year, in the train wreck year that was 2020, right? But, no, it's this year-- 2021-- where we have reason to worry when it comes to ticks here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

At least, that's the word from University of Minnesota Public Health professor Jon Oliver, anyway. And before we even get started on the tick forecast for 2021, besides being an unwanted visitor, ticks are also nasty little buggers. According to the U of M, "many ticks can carry bacteria, viruses and parasites that can harm humans, including Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis," it noted.

So what does Oliver predict for this year in Minnesota? Well, grab the bug spray, because it doesn't look good.

2021 is shaping up to be a bad year for ticks but this may change due to ongoing dry weather. A lot of adult deer ticks were active early in the spring and this may correspond to high levels of activity among the very small immature ticks. On the other hand, dry weather and drought conditions will limit tick activity and reduce population numbers, especially for deer ticks.

Now, my first thought was that his outlook sounded like good news for us here in southeast Minnesota, seeing as April this year was one of the driest we've had in several years. But, the rains have come back, especially in the last few weeks, which means so has the likelihood of more ticks too.

Oliver went on to share that the two most common tick types in Minnesota are deer ticks and American dog ticks (what my grandpa used to 'wood ticks'). He said both species can transmit disease and bacteria to the person or animal they bite, but deer ticks are more often infected with the bacteria that can lead to Lyme disease.

Oliver recommends using an insect repellant with DEET to try to deter ticks when you're out and about in the great Minnesota outdoors this summer, as well as doing a thorough check on yourself and other people and pets for ticks after you've spent time outdoors.

The good news, though, is that here in southeast Minnesota, there are several state parks where bugs aren't as bad as parks in other parts of the state, like on the North Shore. Keep scrolling to check 'em out!

Listen to Curt St. John mornings from 6 to 10 on Quick Country 96.5
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MORE TO EXPLORE: Six Minnesota State Parks Where There Are Fewer Bugs