• Man finds 26 ticks on him after walking on Wachusett Reservoir trail

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    While it's no secret that ticks like cool, damp and shaded places, one local man who took a walk in the woods of Central Mass. saw for himself the dangers this tick season poses.

    Derek Lirange is a community forester who works for Tower Hill Botanical Garden, and he was supposed to lead a nature walk off-site, if it hadn't been for the ticks.

    Lirange went out to scout the trail, near Tahanto High School, on Wednesday evening and picked up 26 ticks along the way.

    "I'm used to walking in the woods, I’m used to find a couple of ticks on me, I have even had a few embedded in my lifetime but this was just an incredible amount so I was really freaked out," said Lirange.

    Experts predicted an increase in tick population across the region this year, and the signs are clear around Wachusett Reservoir. 

    Youssef Chebbani found one tick crawling up his leg right before he sat down for an interview with Boston 25 News. 

    "I believe there were maybe 3 or 4 that I’ve already encountered this year, one right now," said Chebbani. "They're everywhere."

    Ticks in New England are especially nasty because of the many sicknesses they can spread, including Lyme disease and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people with tick, flea, and mosquito-borne diseases has tripled in recent years.

    "It's not going to keep me inside locked in the house, not getting out doing what you love at the end of the day," said John Belcher, who fishes by the Wachusett Reservoir.

    "Always check [for ticks] and I highly recommend everybody if they have the spray spray themselves before they get out in the woods," said Chebbani.

    In addition to tick spray for your body and clothing, experts recommend wearing long pants and socks and avoid walking through the high grass and thick brush.

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