The invasive plants known as Japanese Barberry are common in Connecticut, and some may even have them in their yard as a decorative bush or hedge.
However, while the woods and forest are the usual culprits for ticks, the plants could be harboring them as well.
"I had no idea...that would scare the living daylights out of me,” said Tammy Santiago of Stratford.
Jeff Ward, a chief scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and said the invasive plant isn't an issue if you have just one of two, but more than that could cause problems and actually attract the bugs.
"It's when you get this half acre, one acre thickets...that are so thick you can't even walk through. That's when ticks become a real problem,” Ward said.
To remove the bugs, Ward said “If you can go out there every six weeks. In a couple years you'll kill it. There's also herbicides registered and if you use them according to the label, we found they are completely effective."
Controlling the Barberry is essential to reduce exposure to tick viruses.
"It's a really scary thing. A lot of people pick up ticks and this is the prime time of the year when people get infected with Lyme disease,” Ward said
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