Traverse City — Warmer weather across northern Michigan is bringing unwelcome pests.

“I was just rubbing my foot and I just felt a bump and I realized it wasn’t part of my skin … I realize it was a tick and it kind of made me scared,” Erika Anderson, an intern with the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy in Traverse City, told TV station WPBN-WTOM.

Data is being collected on the tick population, but May is the peak time for encounters with the bugs.

“We’ve only been working the field season for four days so far, and definitely have seen more ticks … in one week than we did all summer last year,” said Lauren Silver, another intern at the conservancy.

Several types are common in northern Michigan, but deer ticks carry Lyme Disease which can cause muscle weakness, numbness and heart problems if it reaches advanced stages. Symptoms include headache, fever and joint pain.

Limiting the amount of exposed skin while in the woods is recommended.

Care also should be taken when removing ticks that have started to feed, said Duke Elsner, a small fruit educator with the Michigan State University Extension.

Grabbing the tick by the head with forceps is a start.

“When a tick feeds on the animal it really embeds its head into the skin,” he said.

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