Japanese Barberry & Lyme-Bearing Ticks

japanese barberry bushAs many of you know, the dreaded lyme-bearing Deer Ticks are already back!  We thought we’d share this information after reading in the Copake Connection Newsletter about the relationship between Japanese Barberry and the tick population on your property.

Japanese barberry is an invasive species that was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s. The plant is popular for landscaping projects because of its colorful foliage and red berries. It has also been seen as a natural barrier on properties due to its thorn-covered branches. However, the plant is more than just aesthetic — it also is home to significant black-legged tick populations. – Darien News

According to studies conducted in Connecticut (click here to read more), Japanese Barberry is the source of many deer ticks.  White-footed mice use these shrubs as shelter against predators so the tick population in these bushes is very high.  Unfortunately, ticks found in Japanese Barberry stands are also more likely to be carrying Lyme disease than ticks found elsewhere.   Ticks also carry other very serious diseases, so it is suggested you remove Japanese Barberry from your property.  (Description of the invasive Japanese Barberry…not to be confused with American or European Barberry)

In fact, research indicates that clearing Barberry hedges reduces ticks by more than 50%.  Of course, be sure to take tick preventing precautions when removing these hedges.