The ticks that spread Lyme disease love white mice, which are bad at cleaning themselves and serve as excellent hosts. White mice love acorns, which are terrific mouse food. In New York State, 2010 was a good year for acorns and so it was a good year for white mice. The ticks that rode the 2010 white mice boom will reach maturity this summer.
Alas, 2011 was a bad year for acorns, which came in short supply. Bad too then for mice, of which there are fewer. So the members of expected summer tick population explosion will be looking to feed elsewhere. Like on people. A perfect storm, according to entomologists.