Landscape design can reduce risk of Lyme disease: Please stop with the Lyme tick nurseries

In the region of upstate New York where I live, Lyme disease- an infection of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that’s spread primarily by deer ticks, has become an epidemic. All the odd controversies aside, there are physical realities about this situation that are not being acknowledged. Primarily the reality that we are a part of the problemEllen Sousa recently wrote that, “We are all beginning to pay the price for the ecologically short-sighted landscaping conventions of the past century…” Concerning Japanese Barberry and lyme ticks, truer words have rarely been spoken.

…. “The Japanese Barberry manages to stay very humid- 80% more humid than native shrubbery, which allows ticks to reproduce in exponential numbers, creating “tick nurseries” all over the woods. Completing the picture, the white footed mouse also enjoys the humid climate under the Barberry thickets, and when the mice pass through, the tick larvae pile onto them, using the mice as a vehicle to move around, usually closer to our living spaces.”

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