They're one of the smallest bugs, but they can cause some of the biggest health problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year. The culprit is a bite from an infected tick.

"This is about the time of year we start to see a large number in the increase of cases of Lyme diseases," said Dr. Jaan Natkin, with the Lehigh Valley Health Network's infection control committee.

While ticks are often hard to detect because of their small size, Natkin said they're not so hard to deter.

"One thing is keeping ticks off your property, which is probably easier than most people think," said Natkin, who offered several tips to keep the ticks away.

First, he said, maintain your lawn. Ticks are often found in high-grass areas.

"A standard cutting height of three inches is probably enough," Natkin said.

He encourages homeowners to remove brush and tree debris from their yards.  Experts said ticks thrive in moist, shady areas.

"Having a border between your lawn area and neighboring woods of about two to three feet with some mulch or stones, that creates an area that's very dry. Once ticks cross that area, it's hard for ticks to stay hydrated and they often die in the sun," Natkin said.

When planting, consider plants that don't attract deer.

"Other ways ticks get onto your property are mice or deer. People often refer to deer as the main culprit. There are lots of plants you can put around your home that won't attract deer," Natkin said.

Ticks can also walk into your home on your pet.

"They certainly can carry any kind of tick and drop them on your bed or sofa," Natkin said.

Consider tick collars and sprays for pets. Natkin also suggested an outdoor repellent.

"Tick tubes, which are an interesting way of controlling the mice populations. The basic concept, is you take permethrin, a tick-repellent chemical, and you put it on a cotton ball and put it in cardboard tubes that you spread around your property. These are available commercially, about $25 for a half a dozen tubes, which is probably enough to take care of about a half acre to an acre. The mice will pick up the cotton ball, and take it back to make nesting material out of it. In essence, you are treating mice with tick-repellent," Natkin said.

Natkin said the product is environmentally-friendly and safe for children and pets.

If you work outdoors, there are also steps you should take to protect yourself from ticks.

Natkin suggested wearing light-colored clothing so ticks are easy to detect.  If possible, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks. Once indoors, make sure to check yourself for ticks.

If the tick does not appear to be engorged, carefully remove it with tweezers, Natkin said. If the tick does appear to be engorged, Natkin suggested seeing a doctor.