STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As temperatures climb and the snow melts away… A less than welcome pest joins us, humans, as we venture outdoors.

Tick season is upon us as the warmer weather brings back the blood-sucking parasites.

Though many of us are excited to head outdoors as spring arrives. Many people are finding extra passengers when they come back inside.

“Once the snow kind of melts and the temperatures start to warm above freezing, the ticks will come out and emerge, and when they’re seeking a host to transition to their next life cycles,” stated Nicole Chinnici, lab director of Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute.

While experts point out it’s difficult to say whether or not this year will be worse for ticks it’s still important to be aware of them.

“I would say that with the predictions of how our winter was and the landscape that we have in Pennsylvania that you definitely should be aware that ticks are high activity. They are in our population anywhere that you live they could be in your backyard,” explained Chinnici.

The research lab can often go through hundreds of submitted ticks for testing a day.

“We test for dozens of pathogens but the main ones that we find in Pennsylvania are Lyme Disease carried by the black-legged tick or deer tick most people know of,” said Chinnici.

They emphasize that prevention is better than treatment.

“Anytime you’re outside from the time winter ends until winter starts again you want to practice prevention. So wear light-colored clothes so you can see the ticks crawling on you. Use some type of insect repellant or tick repellant specifically. And then every time you come inside you your loved ones or your companion animals you want to check yourself for ticks,” explained Chinnici.

Much like humans they love our pets but not exclusively.

“They have no preference so they’re just looking to move and transition in their life cycle. So whenever we’re out in the wild if we’re hiking or in the backyard doing yard work, we can be exposed,” said Chinnici.

If you are exposed to a tick, free testing is available to you at no cost with the research lab. To find a location near you head over to the Pennsylvania Tick Lab website.