The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

All set for a summer of midge misery

- Dan Scottow , graphic artist

A RARE combinatio­n of wet weather followed by intense heat means Scots are in for the worst midge season for six years.

Dr Alison Blackwell, who runs the Scottish Midge Forecast, says the recent weather conditions have led to significan­t increases in the numbers of the biting bloodsucke­rs being recorded.

As well as large numbers of midges, a rare third wave of the pests could be on the cards, stretching out the torment until the end of September.

The damp spring weather combined with the recent hot temperatur­es has provided the ideal reproducti­ve conditions for midges.

Dr Blackwell has run an online forecast for the past 10 years which gauges the numbers of midges at various sites across Scotland.

She says this summer could see some of the highest numbers of midges recorded since the summer of 2011.

She said: “At the moment we’re looking at a big summer.

“It all depends on the weather. It needs to be warm and wet but at the moment, it’s shaping up to be the biggest summer for midges for five or six years.

“The warm weather is ideal for them and will likely lead to increased numbers.”

She continued: “About five years ago it was a really good summer for the midges but the data we have collected so far suggests that it could be even bigger this summer across the country.

“It’s too soon to put a figure on it but I’d expect to see a significan­t increase in the numbers from last year.

There are 48 different types of midge in Scotland but it is the 3mm long Highland midge that commonly causes problems for Scots in the summer months.

Only the females actually bite, however hill-walkers and golfers will have to have the insect repellent at the ready if the warm weather conditions continue throughout the summer. Sailing on the west coast last week I did notice a higher number of midges than last year, or the year before, sailing in the same locations.

They were particular­ly bad at Otter Ferry. We took the dinghy to shore to photograph the sunset, and it was all ruined by swarms of midges.

I spent most of the time swatting them away. The next day I was covered in bites, so I spent a fortune on repellent spray, which didn’t deter them at all.

I’m told nothing works, so looks like I’ll just have to get used to them if they are to be here for the summer in huge numbers.

 ??  ?? A close-up of one of the biting blighters.
A close-up of one of the biting blighters.
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