Jun 3rd, 2014
Well, I haven’t mentioned it up to now – but as well as its surpassing natural beauty, the Highlands of Scotland are famous for another piece of wildlife which no one is fond of – the infamous midge. I guess we knew that when we came to Lochgoilhead we were going to encounter it – particularly when one townie amongst our friends suggested that the best thing that could happen to the whole area is that it should be tarmacked over (this after an unfortunate introduction to the midge when staying at the Scout centre). So in the interests of being prepared, we researched the best way to deal with them and in true technophile style we have bought two ‘Midge Magnet’ machines and have also started using Smidge repellent when we go outside.
The idea of the machines is that they emit a stream of carbon dioxide (the same thing as attracts the midge to humans)which is attractive to the female of the species. The females are then sucked into the machine in huge numbers, meaning that not only are they not present to bite and generally harass people, but also that they don’t breed. The idea is that after a while the whole area is cleared of them and only newcomers blown in by the wind will appear in the machine’s territory.
We put the machines on for the first time several weeks ago – and for ages they caught virtually nothing – largely because outside my paranoia there was nothing much to catch. Then about 10 days ago I was attacked for the first time, and all of a sudden – the machines started to work overtime. Not jesting or exaggerating, but there is a net inside the machine which holds about a litre – and it is filling up with dead midges every 48 hours – one in the front garden and one in the back. Literally it is catching and killing many thousands of them every day – and already we are noticing the difference big time.
I am still having to wear a net if I am in the polytunnel or gardening in the evenings, but in the normal run of things in the garden during the day we are not seeing very many – except in the immediate vicinity of the machines which have clouds of them queuing up to be sucked in. The Smidge is also very effective – not only stops the bites but (to some extent) keeps them right away – also it doesn’t have the effect of the Deet based stuff and melt any plastic you touch with it on your hands!
The video attached shows the machine in operation, as well as the Rhododendrons in full bloom and Schrodi out enjoying himself. He is too furry to be bothered much by midges – although he has had a few ticks this summer off the deer which keep coming into the garden.