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Warm weather has ticks out earlier than normal this year

Black-legged ticks like this female work their way up the mammal chain as they evolve, until they can suck blood -- and possibly transmit pathogents -- to humans and their pets. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / April 2, 2012)

Black-legged ticks like this female work their way up the mammal chain as they evolve, until they can suck blood -- and possibly transmit pathogents -- to humans and their pets. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / April 2, 2012)

The drawback to our mild winter and early, unusually warm spring is that ticks — those tiny, potentially dangerous creatures — have come out early. They are hungry for blood and there could be a lot of them.

Generally ticks spend winter in a leaflet but come out of dormancy in temperatures ranging from 45 to 80 degrees, said Tom Velat, insect ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

“We have personally seen that the ticks usually out in the beginning of April were out as early as January this year,” Velat said.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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