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Invasive Species Management | Dangers of Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera Maackii)

Dangers of Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera Maackii)

Bush honeysuckle, also known as Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera Maackii), is a woody plant originating from Asia. If you live in Maryland it would be almost impossible for you not to notice this invader colonizing our forest lands. This invasive species can be linked to an increase in tick population.

Bush honeysuckle forms dense thickets that shade out native species and reduce overall forest biodiversity. It thrives in slightly shaded areas but can tolerate heavily shaded areas as well. This plant produces foliage earlier than other natives, again giving it an advantage in soaking up all the sun. It is fairly simple to understand how this species could quickly replace native species and colonize a landscape, but how does it affect humans? Unfortunately, environmental issues, mainly invasive species control are a luxury item when it comes to local and state budgets. Large amounts of time, resources, and money cannot be afforded to spend on licensing, chemicals, and manpower. However, this will all soon have to change. Policy and budgets start to change when people are affected directly. When things that we never thought would happen come knocking on our front door, like Lyme disease. Researchers have come up with some interesting and shocking results linking people with Lyme disease with areas of high tick populations.

When bush honeysuckle forms dense thickets, deer like to take shelter. This essentially creates a “bar scene” for ticks in which they can find mates, seek shelter, grab a beer and just have a good time. The more bush honeysuckle, the more ticks, creating the higher chance that you could get bitten. This is could be preventable if we fund management plans continue to educate and treat invasive species, we can reduce the tick population one tick “bar scene” at a time.

Blog post written by Ecological Restoration Foreperson, Joshua Brent

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