ST. PAUL, Minn – The Minnesota Department of Health reports that 1,431 cases of Lyme disease were reported in 2013. That’s a record high and officials say instances of other tick-borne illnesses increased as well. State health specialist David Neitzel says the state’s blacklegged ticks were likely insulated from the winter cold by heavy snowfall, which means large numbers of the insects are now being found. According to experts, the highest risk of disease-carrying ticks is from mid-May through mid-July with the biggest problems in wooded or brushy habitats in southeastern, central and north central Minnesota. Residents are encouraged to use insect repellents, keep lawns and trails mowed short, remove leaves and brush, create barriers of wood chips or rocks between lawns and woods and apply pesticides in the spring or early summer.