An ornamental plant species, known for it’s appealing color, dark red berries, and thorns found in many yards could be making Lyme Disease worse.

Landscapers used it frequently in the past, because it created natural barriers on property, while being attractive. NBC 4 New York says the Japanese Barberry, the sale of which is now banned in New York and Connecticut, is known to harbor tics more than other decorative plants. It seems to provide the ultimate conditions for ticks along with mice to thrive, making for the perfect infestation scenario during what's been a very bad season for Lyme Disease.

Credit: NBC 4 New York Video -- Japanese Barberry
Credit: NBC 4 New York Video -- Japanese Barberry

Japanese barberry is a prickly, scrubby and dense plant which retains moisture under it’s leaves and branches. According to Darien News Online, ticks found under them have a greater percentage of Lyme bacteria. The dense cover they provide hides mice which spread the bacteria. If you think you have Japanese Barberry experts say spraying it with herbicide or (with caution of course) torching, are some ways to rid your yard of this invasive species. Studies show that once it's removed, tick populations dwindle.

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