I'm sharing my family's experience with ticks for those who are new to Luxembourg.

My 12-year-old told me, "Mom, we went on a walk through the woods with my class. Everyone got ticks."

Me: "Did you get any ticks?”

Tween: "I didn't get any ticks. I did the 'thing' with my clothes."

He then described the precautions he took to prevent ticks. I was proud of him for remembering how to prevent tick bites; but then again, he has been practicing since he was a toddler. It is now habitual.

Ticks are not common in my hometown in the U.S.; but if a person does get bit by a tick, there is a high chance of it having Lyme disease. Roughly 50% of all adult deer ticks and about 25% of the nymphs in New York State (not New York City) carry the Lyme disease bacteria. But again, ticks are not common. Camp councilors and hiking instructors still train kids how to prevent tick bites. I practice tick-bite prevention with my kids too. It also helps with mosquitos.

After moving to Luxembourg I was absolutely shocked at how common ticks are here, but the percentage of ticks that carry the Lyme disease bacteria is fortunately low at 0% to 30%. Luxembourg also has the interesting situation where the percentage of ticks infected with the bacterium fluctuates year to year.

So, I'm sharing how we, my family, prevent tick bites. Please note, THIS is not a perfect method.

We do a "clothing check" before we go rock and fossil hunting. We wear long sleeved cotton t-shirts (to stay cool), long pants too.

We tuck our shirts into our waistband on our pants. We wear long socks too. We pull the long socks up over our pant legs. This means that the only way a tick can access our skin is 1) through the t-shirt sleeve at the wrist, or 2) through the t-shirt neck.

When we return home from a hike, I have the kids strip down to their underpants in the hallway. This is so the ticks don't jump off the cloths and into the house, and to pets, etc.. We then do tick checks. The kids even help each other, pretending to be like doctors.

I also teach the kids not to bend down and put their heads near tall grass, even to pick flowers. I explain that woodland flowers need to be free and in the wild so they make seeds for next year. If they want to pick flowers I direct them to the bright yellow dandelions.

We only rock and fossil hunt on the surface of the ground with a lack of tall grass, preferably with no grass.

Happy trails !