Midges - Scotland's worst kept secret

Midges...Scotland's worst kept secret...but people still often looked surprised when first bitten.
Yet they are rather like childbirth, you forget about them when they are not about.
Midge hood - Abriachan Nurseries
Well today is really odd...28 degrees in Scotland and no midges on 25th July.
It is too hot for them!

These are the three best things.......if it is too hot or too cold or too windy then  - NO MIDGES.

And what a relief. I get pretty sulky some evenings because I know we can't eat outside, as before we are even 20 minutes in, they will arrive en masse as uninvited dinner companions.
One of the best things about being on holiday in Australia or New Zealand is that you can eat outside, or even simply have the windows wide open in the evenings.
If the House & Garden magazines are to be believed, you can eat outside in the evenings in the cities and also sometimes in the stylishly quaint villages, I suppose there is less vegetation...but you definitely cannot do it in a garden close to water...so that us out, or rather in!

Midgies - Abriachan Nurseries
Her Revenge
So how do we live with them?

Well you do get used to them. So for instance if you are out for a walk, you do just that, keep moving briskly. That leaves them behind...except for the odd persistent one.
You use midge repellent and over the years we have tried them all. The citronella ones, the ones based on bog myrtle, that smelt nice and the ones with evil sounding DEET as the insecticide ingredient.
I can't say I have been impressed with any of them.
Having said that I am currently using one called SMIDGE.......it is the best yet and does seem to help. I just don't like using anything chemical on my skin too often.
This smidge has been researched and formatted by the guys behind the Scottish midge forecast ..so maybe they do know a thing about the wretched blighters

The other and preferable method of protection is the midge hood. This is a fine mesh hood , that keeps them out and you can see through.
Of course it darkens the world and gets a bit hot and sweaty after a while, but basically works well. They work well and we have had a couple for some years now, and still going strong.
When our daughter Cathy came back from working in Canada she bought a gift of a full ...or any way half-body net protector.
This will be designed for mosquitoes; and the mossies in the Arctic Circle do sound like man-eaters . It works well and Donald as you see rather suits it. However I have seen more than one startled visitor come across him suited up in the garden.
Midge half body net - Abriachan Nurseries

Beyond that, tuck your trousers in your socks, wear long sleeved and high necked tops, all methods not really designed for the heat and so it is as well they go away over about 25 degrees.

There is also the midge catcher idea and I recall we bought one about 6 years ago. It only works, and only partially and over a small area and you have to keep replacing the propane gas as it is the CO2 they are attracted to.  We gave up on that.  Jo who works for us always offers to do any summer barbeques...as the smoke is a great midge repellent. Of course she will end up smell like a smoked kipper, but you cant have it all ways.

But don't let the rotten old midges put you off coming to Scotland,. Some years are worse than others and this summer is pretty good. But if you wonder why Highlanders retreat indoors and close the windows on summer evenings...now you know.

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Thank you for leaving a comment - it is always great to hear about other peoples gardens and lives. If you ever drop by the nursery, make sure you say hello. (Margaret & Donald)

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