EAST MEADOW - Concerns are growing about a possible explosion in the tick population on Long Island.

The harsh winter's snow and ice may have protected the tick population, according to researchers. They say ticks are not only being found in forests and fields but also at parks and playgrounds. While the cold weather protected them, a dry spell could also kill them off.

Only blacklegged ticks can transmit the Lyme disease bacterium, which can be debilitating to some people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should remove ticks with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as possible, as the longer they are attached the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease increases.

Ticks can also transmit other diseases.