Picture this… You’re standing in absolute awe at one of the many stunning landscapes Scotland has to offer. Very few things can ruin that special moment – even a bit of the good old Scottish rain can be persevered for a while…
…ONE of the few things that can ruin it is the dreaded Scottish midge deciding that your arm looks like a good option for supper…
From around springtime, the midges come out to play in their literal billions. Don’t let this happen:
Don’t Fret! Here are 5 solutions to keep those pesky Scottish Midges at bay;
SCOTTISH MIDGE SOLUTIONS
Solution 1 – Simply Cover Up
First and foremost, just cover up. There’s a slim chance of getting a sun tan anyways… Midges see your legs as an all you can eat buffet. Ditch the shorts. and get those long-sleeves on.
Solution 2 – Smidge Midge Repellent
Smidge is my all-time favourite. Although a little pricey, from my experience it’s like a miracle cure against the plague of the midge. It offers 8-hour protection, is water and sweat-resistant (handy.), and works for mosquitoes too.
Their somewhat comical slogan is ‘Smidge up or dance the midgie fidget’.
Smidge is DEET free, but contains a chemical called ‘Saltidin’, which affects the midge’s receptors they use to find us by preventing the detection of the CO2 we exhale. If they can’t find you, they can’t bite you!
Solution 3 – Avon Skin So Soft
It wouldn’t be my first choice, but people rave about it. Technically Skin So Soft isn’t even a midge repellent. It isn’t even marketed as one. It almost works like a protective sticky layer on your skin, so when the midge lands on you they stick and die.
It smells good and is good for your skin, but I personally find it uncomfortable, oily, and sticky. For many people it’s their go-to anti-midge solution. Fun fact: Soldiers use it to fend off the midges at Faslane naval base.
Solution 4 – THE PREDATOR MIDGE EATER (Read in a heavy metal voice)
So, we’re on a mission to bring our ‘alternative eco-cabins’ to The Isle of Cumbrae by Autumn 2021, and one potential pain point for our guests that we’ve foreseen is the dreaded midge.
Don’t fret though! We’re gonna buy one of these bad boys. The Predator Mosquito Trap – which basically lures the midges in by emitting something close to cow breath and eats them up, leaves a midge-free zone of 5000m2.
Solution 5 – Midge Nets
Midge nets. Love them or hate them… well, 👈 this guy clearly hates them (I think that might have been his last midge net modelling job). They do look ridiculous, but I’ve heard they can be very effective against midges, especially if you’re not so keen on spraying all sorts of concoctions on your skin. They’re only as good as the biggest gap you leave in them though!
Did you know?…
Midges HATE the wind. In fact, they can’t fly in winds over 7mph.
They’re gonna look like this:
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Finally, why not try a combination of the above?
Let’s be honest, Midges can be a pain, both metaphorically and literally! But honestly, with a bit of forward-thinking and the right tools for the job, you can have an amazing bite-free time anywhere in Scotland.
So stock up on the good stuff and get out there to explore!
YOUR MIDGE QUESTIONS: ANSWERED.
When is ‘midge season’ in Scotland?
Typically, the midges are the worst in Scotland between May and September, however, don’t think you’re totally safe in the other months surrounding this season. This is also dependent on the weather. A warm and damp spring can see the numbers absolutely rocket across the summer season. The wind is also a factor. Midges can’t fly in winds over 7mph.
How many midges are there in Scotland?
Dr Blackwell of the ‘Scottish Midge Forecast’ reckons in the total midge season there is around 69 billion midges in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Yes, that’s billion, with a ‘B’.
What is the worst time of day for midges in Scotland?
Midges are at their most active in early morning, just before dawn, and in the evening as light starts to fade.
There is such a thing as the ‘Scottish Midge Forecast’, run by Smidge. I recommend checking that out for the area you plan to visit.
How does the Scottish midge bite?
Firstly, it’s only the female midges that bite. The female midge’s mouth parts effectively act like two saws, cutting through the skin – Hence the feeling of pain we get from a midge bite. She then excretes saliva into the wound which prevents the blood from coagulating, so she can feed on it. If left undisturbed, the midge can remain for 3-4 minutes taking around 2 microliters of blood, filling her belly to be able to reproduce further.
How it feels:
Why do we itch after a midge bite?
This is actually our body’s response to the bite. We release histamine at the site of the wound, which causes the characteristic itching and swelling around the bite. Of course, this body response will vary between people and their different immune systems.
Why are some affected by midge bites more than others?
This one’s a bit of a mystery. Some people are more ‘attractive’ to midges than others. Why? There are many theories surrounding diet, body type, smoker status etc., but there has been no definitive study to the phenomenon as yet. Supposedly however, there is a special chemical held in higher quantities in some than others that acts as a natural midge repellent. It’s called ‘ketone’ and is believed to be passed down from your parents.
What even is a Scottish midge?
Midges are a type of tiny insect from the Diptera order, known to you and I as flies. They exist in almost environment around the world, except for those most extremely hot or cold.
The Scottish midge belongs to the family of ‘Ceratopogonidae’, or The ‘Biting Midges’. I wonder where they acquired that name from…
It’s at this point I should remind myself I’m writing a Scottish tourism blog, not a fly biology blog.
What impact does the Scottish Midge have?
They can literally stop people working outdoors. Apparently, up to 20% of outdoor work such as agriculture and forestry is lost due to midge attacks preventing workers from doing their jobs.
There is an impact on tourism too, with midges believed to play a role in driving people away from many of Scotland’s locations, particularly in the Highlands in the midge season.
We asked what you guys thought about midges. Here are the results: