BRICK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey had the second highest number of Lyme disease cases in the country in 2017, and deer ticks are the main culprit.

Now, lawmakers have introduced legislation that makes reducing the Garden State’s tick popularity a priority.

The blood-sucking critters are all too familiar for many people cross the state.

“I’ve been bitten by a tick myself,” Brick resident Matt Girard said. “Thankfully I knew how to take it out without getting Lyme disease or anything like that.”

Girard didn’t get sick, but more than 5,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported last year — the most in nearly 20 years. In response, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-11th) is co-sponsoring a bill to control New Jersey’s tick population before things get even worse.

Experts say spraying is actually not the best way to control the tick population. The focus should be on reducing the populations of animals who host them, like deer or rodents

“Experts say spraying is actually not the best way to control the tick population. The focus should be on reducing the populations of animals who host them like rodents and deer.”

“They spray the insecticides locally and topically, on the deer that that will kill the ticks,” Associate Professor of entomology at Rutgers University Alvaro Toledo said.

Toledo says the first step in any tick control plan has to be statewide surveillance so people know how many ticks, and what kinds, are in each area.