Lyme Disease-Toting Ticks Abundant on Common Invasive Plant, New Study Finds

by Kristen Cole, Trinity Cole
April 18, 2023

The greater amount of Japanese barberry growing on a property, the greater amount of Lyme disease-carrying ticks you are likely to have.

That is the conclusion of a recent study by Amber L. Pitt, Trinity College associate professor of environmental science and biology, Trinity alumna Bailey E. D’Antonio ’18, and Krista Ehlert, South Dakota State University assistant professor, and published in the March issue of BIOS, the journal of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society.

Researchers looked at populations of blacklegged ticks and white-footed mice, known to transmit and harbor Lyme disease, respectively, across three different habitats in Connecticut: a site fully invaded by Japanese barberry; a site partially invaded; and a non-invaded site.

They found the abundance of Japanese barberry correlated directly with the abundance of the two species. Habitat management that prevents full invasion of Japanese barberry may also limit the abundance of Lyme disease-carrying species and help reduce the disease spread.

Keep reading:

Read the Ecology paper: