Tom Mather, an entomologist at the University of Rhode Island and director of a tick awareness program called TickEncounter, said he’s seen an uptick in reports of American dog tick sightings and bites around the country this year. TickEncounter, which crowdsources tick data from people all over the U.S., shows American dog tick submissions were up 30 percent in April compared to March, about 10 or 15 percent higher than usual. In the Northeast, where the risk of tick-borne illness is extremely high, the most dangerous ticks out and about right now are tiny blacklegged ticks in the nymph stage, the second stage of the blacklegged tick’s three-stage, two-year life cycle. The main reason blacklegged ticks are booming in the Northeast this year has to do with acorns. In 2019, oak trees unloaded a big crop of acorns onto forest floors across vast swaths of the Eastern Seaboard. See the full article on Grist here.