New to Georgia-- the Lone Star tick, common in the state of Texas which carries a flu-like infection -- and more sightings of The Gulf Coast tick which carries a disease similar to the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Fever.
Experts say a warm winter and early spring will mean an abundance of ticks this summer in Georgia. Nancy Hinkle, a veterinary entomologist at the University of Georgia's Department of Entomology, says this is the earliest in the season that ticks have been seen.
This has been one of the earliest springs Georgia has seen in years, with unseasonably warm weather and early blooms. But also blooming is concern that a cold snap could wipe out Georgia farmers with early crops.
A Georgia scientist makes the case for a disease-spreading parasite. "I don't subdivide nature into useful and non-useful animals. For me, everything has to be there," says Lorenza Beati of Georgia Southern University. Researchers hope to prevent disease by studying that bane of summer, the tick.