Experts are concerned that a low supply of acorns and other tree nuts this year may translate into increased Lyme disease risk.

Woods creatures such as mice and squirrels eat acorns and other tree nuts. If that food supply dwindles, the rodent population, the usual hosts for Lyme disease-carrying ticks, will dwindle. Black-legged ticks may find alternative targets. Len Douglen is with the New Jersey Pest Management Association. he says with fewer mice and fewer squirrels and so on, the ticks will be looking for humans. He says when the first host, the preferred host, is not there, they are going to be looking on a secondary host.

He advises extra vigilance when you are outside this year, especially in the woods. Two thirds of Lyme disease cases are reported between May and August but bites can occur any time during the year. Use a tick repellant, stick to trails and check yourself and your pets frequently. New Jersey is one of eight states nationwide accounting for more than 90 percent of Lyme disease cases.