We had a pretty mild winter season on the Southcoast (especially compared to last winter!), but the warmer weather now means more bugs and ticks to deal with.

With the lack of snowfall and warmer temperatures, experts say to expect a buggier spring this year.

And one bug you certainly want to keep an eye out for is the tick.

Tick populations are already up on the Southcoast, so here are some tips for protecting yourself and your pets from their bites.

1. Wear light clothing when heading out for a walk in the woods (or maybe even your own backyard!). You'll find ticks on you much easier with light clothing, than with dark clothing.

2. Spray yourself and your clothing with bug spray before going out into nature. Repellents with DEET don't protect against bites, but they can help to repel ticks. A better spray with PERMETHRIN will kill a tick on contact, but it is for clothing only.

3. Tuck your pant legs into your socks while walking in the woods. Ticks will likely crawl on to you from below. So to make them more noticeable and prevent them from getting to skin, you can tuck the ends of your pants into your socks. It may not be stylist, but its safe!

4. Remove a tick BEFORE it actually bites you. Ticks can attach anywhere, but tend to take awhile before biting and really latching on. Check yourself from head to toe as soon as you return from walking outside and check areas like your armpits, the back of your knee and other constricted places. If you find a tick, remove it immediately and chances are it won't have had a chance to bite you or transmit disease-causing pathogens.

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