Anyone who spends much time outdoors has likely noticed this year that Maine's tick population is booming. If you don't have your own stories about ticks, you've likely heard them from other people.

Is the tick problem really worse this year? Yes. For a number of reasons. Mike Peaselee, an entomologist with Modern Pest Services in Brunswick, cites two major factors here: he says the climate continues to grow more favorable to ticks and as we continue to develop previously undeveloped land, we put ourselves closer to the pests.

The easiest way to avoid ticks is to stay out of their way. They like to inhabit the edges of groomed spaces and they love the damp. Keep your lawn trimmed and stay toward the middle of hiking paths and you'll be well on your way to avoiding the tick menace.