ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Warmer temperatures means more of you and your pets are spending more time outside.
That is exactly where a disease-spreading bug is waiting to latch on to you.
Each year the United States has around 25,000 human cases of Lyme disease, mostly spread by ticks.
Thousands of pets are also bitten each year.
These numbers could increase due to the warm weather we've had so far this year.
"There wasn't enough cold weather, usually it suppresses those insects but we didn't have that this year and we have already had high temperatures for April," said Service Center Manager Ben Tallent with Arrow Exterminators.
You can prevent ticks from making your yard their home by keeping your grass cut and not letting piles of leaves and wood build up over time.
"A tick can't jump and it doesn't fly. Basically, what it does is it crawls on a stalk of grass or a limb and it just hangs there. They wait for the first dog or person to walk by and they just latch on," said Tallent.
To prevent your pets from getting a tick bite, there are products you can purchase from your local veterinarian, including sprays that contain at least 20 percent DEET.
You should also check your pets regularly for bites, especially if they have been scratching a lot.
"You can just run your fingers through their fur and feel them. Or the dog is itching, usually if he is scratching that ear and you haven't noticed them scratching before, just check them," said Tallent.
To prevent yourself from being bitten by a tick, wear long sleeves and light colored clothing to make it easier to see if a tick has latched on to you.
If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, use tweezers to remove it and clean the area with alcohol and soapy water.
If you cannot remove it, visit a doctor or a vet who can also check if you a have a tickborne illness including Lyme disease.
The best tick prevention is to be proactive before there is a problem.
"They might want to get started on a maintenance program or just have the yard and wood line treated as preventative maintenance," said Tallent.
For more information on how to prevent or treat tick bites, click HERE.
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