a VirtualTourist member from Poland asked on Aug 16, 2016
We are travelling to Scotland next month and I have just read there are lots of midges in the area where we will be staying for two or three days. Do you know any way of protecting oneself against them?
Smidge aerosol widely available from petrol stations and outdoor shops - there is also an Avon moisterising cream can't remember the exact product. Holland & Barrett do a moisterising and shower gel which is any midges - we've never had the problem as when we've been to Scotland it's always been wet - another tip is to eat a teaspoon of Marmite as the mozzies don't like the yeast
Next month is September. The worst months for midgies are usually July and August and much depends anyway on:
where you are
what the weather is like
time of day
and whether they like you (not everyone gets bitten and some people...like me..react much more badly to bites than others)
Use the midge forecast a few days before your trip to get an ideal of whether you are likely to encounter any real issues in the location:
Midges are more common in the early morning and at dusk. They like damp places and they like being under trees too. There's some useful advice here:
As for repelling them, the same applies as for any other flying, biting thing:
cover exposed flesh
wear a hat (bites on the scalp are particularly annoying)
and, if you want, use insect repellent. It may or may not work. No repellents are guaranteed because everyone smells different to a midge!
Marmite is an old archaeologist's tip and...sadly...it only works for some people. Those people probably don't get bitten much, or at all, anyway. You can try it iff you like...and if you like Marmite...but you'll need to have your teaspoon every day. It's not the yeast...it's the additional vitamin B which is supposed to put of biting things. But everything depends on your own particular smell. If you're attractive to biting things, you'll be attractive even with the Marmite!
It is worth taking some anti-histamine cream (whichever works best for you). Midge bites can be very itchy, if that's the way your body reacts to bites.
You can buy special 'midge veils' which cover your face and neck but really...are you going to be that bothered? Almost certainly not.
Remember also that whilst midgies are a pain (well, more of an itch!) but they don't do any real harm. They don't carry disease.
If you aren't camping out and/or don't spend hours walking through boggy places or woods on non-windy days...and certainly if you don't actually go into the countryside much... the chances are you won't be much bothered by them at all. :-)
I lived in Scotland for 4 years and really don't recall ever being that troubled by them. I did spend a night (really all night) on the banks of the Tay acting as bait for mosquitoes for someone who needed lots as he was studying their breeding for his PhD. We saw a lot that night, but in case you're wondering the only bite I got was walking back to the Landrover after breakfast next morning.
Until you get to dusk, activity is pretty low, even in damp woodland. Any Deet based insect repellent should keep them off exposed skin. As mentioned above, it's getting late in the season now too.
coconut oil works here in the Philippines for Sandflies and mosquitoes but don'tknow if it is available where you are . Also DEET
To add to the excellent advice already given, avoid strong smelling sprays, creams, soaps, perfumes or deodorants. These can actually attract insects.
Huge swarms are very rare in the UK but a slight problem at this time of the year is the "Common Gnat". A tiny thing related to the mosquito.These pesky creatures come out at dusk and are found all over Europe including Poland.
It's tempting to leave windows open on warm humid evenings especially in rural accommodations which may not have air-conditioning. Keep the windows closed.
The trouble with midges is that they are even tinier than gnats. :-(
Thank you so much for your precious advice, everybody. We do intend to stay in the countryside a lot but will try to be back indoors before dusk. I'll have vitamin B in my bag, just in case. And we'll see what happens. :)
Don't forget the Marmite! :-))
I think the Avon product that Crazymum is referring to is 'Skin so Soft' . We always take it with us and it certainly seems to help.
Several midget repellent sprays are available in the market. You can also apply lotions on exposed skin.
I've had success using lemon eucalyptus oil to repel mosquitoes and gnats. I've not been to Scotland yet but plan to take it in June.
It's an Australian product from the lemon eucalyptus tree. I buy it from Amazon.