The Highland Midge
This is a section all about the Highland Midge and with the Help of our Friends at Smidge, we have the ultimate guide for anyone visiting and dreading this wee Pesky Beastie.
For those who have recently arrived in Scotland - as opposed to residents who know these blood-sucking terrors all too well - the midgie (or midge) is a small biting insect that swarms across the Scottish countryside, especially the West Coast, delivering sharp nips to anyone bold enough to venture into their territory on a warm day.
Midges begin to emerge during May. These are typically the non-biting boys. When the biting females arrive in early June the season truly kicks off and the season normally last till the end of September. The Midge is a distant relative of the mosquito, but whereas its larger cousin will take your blood in one easy transaction, midges like to come back for more, and will cluster around you on a hot day, bothering you with dozens of tiny, irritating bites. There are five species of midges in Scotland who bite humans. In the Highlands, almost all midge attacks on humans are carried out by a species of midge called Culicoides Impunctatus - the Highland Midge. Highland midges are are very small, with a wingspan of about 1.4 mm. They have characteristic dark flecks on the wings. Not that you will see the flecks as you will be busy seeing them off, or at least trying to, either that or you'll be heading for cover, fast.
You’ll be an all-you-can-eat buffet for their miniature scissor-like jaws if you foolishly venture out in ‘midge weather’ without insect repellent.
But fear not, the Scots are as inventive as they are hardy. After years of scientific research, Dr Alison Blackwell, one of the world’s leading midge experts has found the answer and put it in a bottle. Smidge is the UK’s No. 1 midge repellent. It also works on mosquitoes, so what you don’t use up the mountains you can throw in your suitcase. Luckily, it is only the female midge that bites. They emerge with enough fat reserves to mature their first batch of eggs, but need a blood meal to give subsequent batches enough nutrients to grow. The Males suck on plant nectar and are no trouble at all. Don't worry you will only be aware of the Females.
You’ll hear people in Scotland talking about ‘Midgey weather’. Midges thrive on still, humid conditions. They certainly don't like the breezy weather. The Highland Midge is most active in low-light conditions i.e dawn and dusk, or when cloud cover significantly reduces the intensity of the sunlight. Midges tend to feed for about 3-4 minutes and you’re unlikely to feel a thing. Until afterwards. If you are bitten, the best thing to relieve midge bites is anti-histamine cream. And if you can bear it, try not to scratch.
Here is a Great Wee Chart for information and the No1 product to keep the pesky blighters away….Click to see the Product Range
At the Smidge Website you have all the information at hand for everything you need to know about the Wee Midge. They give great info and probably all the info you need. You can buy their tried and tested products to help protect you from the Worst a Midge can bite at you. And on the Smidge site they even have a daily forecast, but this one won't tell you how the weather is doing but it will tell you to expect a Midge or 2 million.
And to end our Post here is a great Video from the BBC which includes the great Alison Blackwell