As the temperature rises, women are shedding more than clothes. They’re shedding relationships, and they’re telling the world they’re single after publicly breaking up on Facebook.

Facebook breakups spike at the beginning of the summer, according to researchers Lee Byron and David McCandless, who searched Facebook statuses for breakup terms and discovered this pattern.

While it’s not the biggest breakup spike of the year–that’s actually right before the holidays–the beginning of summer definitely yields an increase in Facebook breakups.

Why? Jenn Bollenbacher, 23, of Atlanta, says freedom is so enticing that it often leads to breakups at the beginning of summer, making it a good time to find someone new. “Things just happen so much more organically in the summer,” she says. “Summer is casual. Everything slows down and there’s no pressure that you have to find someone.”

Surrounded by newly single ladies and lots of opportunities such as barbeques, baseball games and pool parties (think: bikinis), you need to know how to take advantage. Let Facebook act as your wingman in a four-step process to reap the rewards of the summer breakup season.

Step 1: Make Facebook invites public
If you want to get a group together to play volleyball or hit the beach, Facebook is one way to get the word out. Making your event public allows your friends to invite their friends, which widens your options.

Step 2: Do your homework
As you peruse an event attendee list, check out the girls you don’t know. You can obviously figure out the girls you’re most interested in from the pictures, but then find out how to strike up a conversation when you actually see her.

“I always use Facebook to get the DL on a guy,” says Ginger Scurti, 23, of Denver. “I can see what he likes, and what groups he’s in so I can conveniently be interested in the same things.”

Step 3:  Connect on Facebook
No longer do you have to kick yourself for chickening out and not getting her number. You can always reach out through Facebook.

“Facebook is your tool to say, ‘let’s hang out again,’” says Bollenbacher.

Step 4:  Take it offline
Once you’ve connected on Facebook, don’t waste time with extensive electronic flirting. She’ll likely think connecting on Facebook is a good sign because “you’re not going to spend your time flirting unless it’s someone you’re attracted to,” says Elisa Doucette, 30, of Portland, Maine. Get her number and then take it offline.

Taking it offline is crucial, according to Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, authors of Building a Love that Lasts. They say that taking advantage of the outdoor opportunities during the long summer days to find a great mate can be far more effective than focusing just on Facebook.

Even if you’re not looking for a mate, per se, you’re bound to find girls like Scurti who are enjoying the sunshine.

Says Scurti: “Summer means friends and fun and flirting. That’s my plan for this summer. That’s my plan every summer.”