ATHENS, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — Ticks are on the uptick.

According to experts, ticks will be showing themselves earlier in the year, and in greater numbers, than they have in the past.

The culprit? The unusually warm winter that recently passed.

According to Nancy Hinkle, a veterinary entomologist at the University of Georgia’s Department of Entomology, cold winters tend to kill off a significant portion of the tick population.

Without the harsh weather to eliminate the bugs as it normally would, they have grown significantly in number.

“This is the earliest that we’re seeing ticks and we’re seeing ticks in greater numbers than we’ve seen in the last decade,” Hinkle told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Though an official study was not conducted, Hinkle’s colleagues normally give her ticks found on their persons or pets over the years.

It came as a shock to Hinkle when she got her first one this year in February.

“I have almost two dozen ticks so far,” she added.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 22,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and more than 7,500 probable cases across the U.S. in 2010.

Calls made by CBS Atlanta to Hinkle were not immediately returned.


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