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Experts: Don't Sleep On Ticks Because It's Almost Fall; They're Still Hungry

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Vacationers may leave by Labor Day, but ticks stick around our parks and woods much longer. In fact, we are getting into peak season for when tick bites are the most dangerous.

People out for a walk in the woods inside South Haven Park on Friday told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff that their dogs are protected from ticks, but didn't know late summer can be a treacherous time for people, too.

"There's deer around here. You gotta worry about the ticks," Joe Fischetti said.

The weather may be changing but the danger of Lyme disease through tick bites is actually worse now than during the early and middle parts of summer and remains high risk through the fall. Scott Campbell from the Suffolk County Department of Health explained that deer ticks -- now in their adult stage -- are more infectious than young ticks.

"Adult deer ticks actually have twice the amount of infectious agent for Lyme disease as the juvenile ticks because they've had another time to feed to acquire it,' Campbell said.

But because they're bigger they're easier to find and remove. Tick experts are urging the public to stay vigilant.

"Now that summer is over it doesn't mean ticks are gone. It's the adult ticks now and the population is very, very high," said Brian Kelly of East End Tick and Mosquito Control.

Kelly said he tells his customers to reduce the potential for breeding by removing leaves where ticks lay eggs. And if you're bitten, monitor the site for the telltale sign of Lyme disease -- a bull's-eye rash.

If you are out in the woods, be on tick patrol through the fall and winter. Ticks can come out and bite any day that features temperatures higher than 40 degrees, experts said.

Suffolk County health officials said they have also seen a high number of Lone Star ticks this year, which don't spread Lyme disease but do spread a different bacterial infection, Gusoff reported.

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