Hikers and dog lovers may have thought the subzero temperatures this winter would put a dent in this year's tick population. Think again.

AP is  reporting Entomologists who study the spindly legged bloodsuckers said most ticks survived freezing New England temperatures due to insulation provided by leaf cover and snow.

Numbers would have decreased had there been drier conditions. Most of the Northeast saw above average snowfall this winter.

But it's less clear whether it'll turn into a some experts say a lot depends on if spring will be a wet one.

With increased tick numbers in the past decade, there has been growth in related diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Lyme disease cases has increased 30 percent from a decade ago. Seven of the 14 states with the highest number of cases are in the Northeast. Cases of anaplasmosis, which can cause fever, headache, chills and muscle aches, have also risen steadily.

"Ticks are number one on my hate list when it comes to insects," said Joe Martel, a carpenter from Hopkinton, who was out walking his Chihuahua, Ozzy. "Last year was atrocious so I'm hoping for this year to be better."