tweva, you had a colder than normal winter down there I think but maybe it wasn’t cold enough. To kill back bugs it needs to get cold enough to freeze the ground solid beneath the leafy forest floor which otherwise insulates the bugs from the cold. Frosty mornings and maybe the lawn area freezing solid isn’t enough.
The deer ticks that carry lyme disease are endemic here but an extra cold winter will knock back their populations too. Because it is endemic here everyone knows people who have or have had lyme disease. The best course of action is to not get infected in the first place. My approach is to always take a shower and put on clean clothes after working outside just in case I picked up one. A friend swears by using a lot of garlic in his food. Those of you who live in areas where it is not endemic yet should be aware of the symptoms. It is easily cured if caught early on, and almost impossible to cure if not. One of my son’s best friends is in pretty bad shape at this time because it wasn’t caught early. Note that doctors who are expert in treating lyme disease are few and far between and that frequently the initial test results are false negatives. For those not familiar with deer ticks, they are very tiny, much smaller than what many think of when they think of ticks.