Which Delaware Valley state is a hot bed for ticks?

With summer right around the corner and people spending more time outside, wildlife experts are warning of a seasonal increase in ticks and the health risks they can pose. 

Pennsylvania, according to wildlife experts, has become a hot bed for the tiny menaces. The Keystone State leads the nation in exposure to ticks and tick-borne pathogens. 

"The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk," said Dr. Nicole Chinnici from the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetic Institute. 

Experts caution that it's too early to say exactly how bad of a tick season we're in for, but a mild winter and lack of snow brought ticks out early. 

"We have our juvenile, which are considered the nymph, are out right now," Dr. Chinnici said. "They are the size of a poppy seed, and our exposure across Pennsylvania has been pretty high."

Locals who spent Wednesday enjoying Valley Forge National Park spoke to FOX 29 about their early run-ins with ticks. 

"We were walking the dogs on Friday on the river trail down the Schuylkill and came home and were picking lots of ticks off the dogs, it's kind of scary," Michele Depetta said. 

Experts say there are a few easy measures to take to protect yourself from ticks, including staying on a walking path and avoiding high grass. It could be unpractical in the warmer weather, but long sleeves and pants provide protection from tick bites.

"It is important to know, no matter where you are, if you are going hiking or just going to be out in the garden, you could be at risk for a tick bite," Dr. Chinnici said.