SAY GOODBYE TO THE MIDGES
It’s summer in Scotland and as well as the beautiful weather, incredible scenery and welcoming people, there is a fair chance of seeing a midge or two, particularly on the West Highland Way. If we’re honest, there will be more than just a few midges around in some west coast places and especially in the early morning and as the sun sets in the evening.
Scotland is not unique with its biting beasties population but, certainly, many people will have heard of the fierce Scottish midge.
Midges are not dangerous although they can cause itchy bites. Some people appear to be more tasty to the flying insect and can end up being irritated by them more than another person, even one standing by their side.
Also, some people are more affected by the bites. While one walker or cyclist will suffer only tiny red dots where the midges have bitten, someone else could come up in large, itchier bits. It seems to be bad luck, rather than there being anything you can do to change this outcome. The itch can be helped by taking anti-histamines.
The best way to avoid being bitten by midges is to cover up your bare skin at times when they are most likely to be around. If it’s a still, humid morning or evening, wear long sleeved tops and trousers. A midge net made for your head can be a useful addition to your outdoors kit list. As soon as the wind picks up or there is bright sunshine, most midges will disappear.
More about the midge
Midges are insects with a wingspan of just 1-2mm. They need blood to survive and enjoy feasting on animals and humans.
Midges have been around for thousands of years but with climate change they are increasing their range and extending their season.
There are nearly 40 species of biting midge in Scotland but only five of these are thought to regularly feed on people. Of these, the Highland midge, Culicoides impunctatus, is the most bloodthirsty, and the species responsible for most of the bites of people.
Midges target their victims by sensing carbon dioxide in exhaled breath and other odours associated with their targets.
How to beat the midge
There are many midge repellents and a few midge traps on the market. Here are some of the best.
Smidge That Midge
One of the most highly acclaimed midge repellents, it comes as a pump spray and claims to be water and sweat resisting formula with “immediate protection for up to eight hours without re-application”. Smidge can be purchased from the Smidge Store or most outdoors stores.
Avon’s Skin So Soft
This moisturise was not created as a midge fighter but for some reason someone realised it works against the beasties. Many people swear by this pleasant smelling body cream as an anti-midge defender. You can buy it on-line and from many outdoor stores such as Tiso.
How do QM mosquito traps attract and kill midges? Midges are as same as mosquitoes that are first attracted to a trap by smell. They can smell CO2 around 100 feet from a trap and start to fly towards the source. Next Octenol and Lactic Acid start to be perceived around 50 feet. As the insect continues toward the source, the color, lights and apparent movement in some mosquito traps add more attractants. Mosquitoes can only see about 30 feet.
Finally, as they get within around 3 feet, the mosquitoes are further attracted by the heat and moisture from the CO2 release (if present). They are sucked into the trap by a fan into a container. These are mosquito killer machines from which they cannot escape.
Why is QM mosquito trap better than the other? The shape, size, color and height of the mosquito machine can make a huge difference. So does the amount of CO2, octenol and/or lactic acid released. Some frequencies of lights work better than others. The way the fans are designed to draw them in makes a big difference. Finally, placement of the devices is very important. A good trap in the wrong location will not be effective. MBOX uses a new and highly effective method to catch mosquitoes. First we have to understand that only female mosquitoes need blood (protein) in order to lay eggs. Female mosquitoes track their victim through CO2 up to a range of 50meters, combined with the sense of smell of H2O, female mosquitoes are very effective in tracking their victim.