By: Blonde One

On our latest Dartmoor expedition we were unfortunately visited by a plague of midges. It was horrible: they got everywhere! Within seconds we were all bitten numerous times and again I sent a little sympathetic thought to Scotland, who I believe has an even more significant issue with midges. We all thought that midges like to be near water, either lakes or rivers but we weren’t really too near either.

Between us we had various different insect repellents, some with the highly regarded DEET and some not, but none seemed to work effectively. I’ve done a bit of homework to try and avoid more trouble with these pesky things and whilst I haven’t found a solution (there doesn’t seem to be one) I have found out some interesting things.

  • As with the vicious horse fly, it is the female midge that does the damage (no sexist comments please) and likes the blood of its victims.
  • Midges like damp places, so we’ve got no chance on Dartmoor of ever avoiding them!
  • Lots of people suggest that an Avon product, ‘Skin So Soft’ spray is a very good accidental repellent. I have ordered some to try and I’ll let you know.
  • Eating Marmite (yuck) or drinking beer (yum) does not work.
  • Midges love carbon dioxide so as long as you don’t breathe out, you will be fine!

The biggest question I want answering at the moment is how big a midge problem is there on the Isle of Man? I want to be fully prepared when we go in July. It is very close to Scotland but also may well have some good sea breezes to blow them away. Any ideas gratefully received! In the meantime I will continue to try not to scratch the VERY annoying little red dots that are all over my arms!!! Aaaaarghhhh!