On your pets? Yes. On you? Definitely. Ticks are tiny eight-legged critters that appear once the snow has melted. In May and June, when people brave the woods and forests with picnic baskets, walking boots and spring cheer aplenty, the tiny arachnids are at the peak of their game — which is cruel when you think about it. While tick bites are imperceptible, they can carry Lyme disease, encephalitis and other nasties. Last year in Russia, more than half a million people sought medical attention for tick bites. In the environs around Moscow, there were almost 7,000 reported cases, including nearly 150 cases of Lyme disease and three deaths from tick-borne encephalitis, although the disease was believed to have been contracted in other parts of the country. Now that we have your attention: Prevention is better than cure. When out in nature, wear long-sleeved tops, trousers tucked into boots or socks and something on your head. Cover yourself with insect repellent containing DEET and check yourself regularly, particularly along creases: elbows, knees, backs of ears, groin and hairline. If you find a tick, don't panic. Take a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick at its head and pull it out firmly. Clean the wound with iodine if you have it. Keep the tick and take it with you when you seek the advice of a medical professional.