Our Journal

17 May 2024
Cheries Dutton
All you need to know about the pesky wee beasties...


All you need to know about the pesky wee beasties...

Table of Contents

What time of year are midges in Scotland?

It so happens that the summer season co-incides with when these beasties come out.  During the cold winter months, midges live in the soil underground, keeping our outdoors  happy and free of ambush. However, come late April / early May, the wee beasts start to appear and can last through till late September / early October.

Highland Midge
What attracts midges to you?

Midge’s are primarily attracted to the flower nectar and other high-sugar juices, such as plant sap for their nourishment. Midges are drawn to humans, their pets and livestock due to the CO2, body heat and specific odours we emit. When these signals are detected, midges zero in on their chosen target.

How do I get rid of Highland Midge?

Offence is the best solution when it comes to arming yourself against the Highland Midge. To start ensure you have a good (& the right) midge repellent. There is no way to get rid of them completely but you can certainly put measures in place to keep them at bay.

Both of the below options are available in most camping stores and one of these will be available in our camping kit.


If you ask any local in the Highlands on what they would recommend and Smidge is often the top choice. This insect repellent works wonders for keeping the little pests away.  Thankfully the smell is not offensive to humans but it sure does do a good job at keeping midges away. Ensure you cover all exposed skin including your hairline and neck.

A useful tip is to extend the repellent coverage to include areas under clothing, such as sleeves, shorts, and socks, for an additional 5-10cm minutes. This is because midges are known to crawl into these spaces to bite unnoticed, often causing irritation before you realize what’s happening.

Read more about it on their website.

Avon Skin So Soft:

Although not a traditional midge repellent, Avon Skinsosoft has become a well known remedy to repel midges. It was the option everyone chose before Smidge joined the game and it’s a great alternative. Although in recent years some claim it’s not as effective to an ingredient change while others still swear by it. The tiny inconvenience of it being a tad oily is what helps to keep the midges away but it lasts a good amount of time.

Other Options:

Along with using a midge repellent on your skin there are some other options to keep them away.

  1. Midges love to feast along the hairline and can be a real bother around the face, so wearing a midge net is the best option to keep them at bay. But make sure the net isn’t lying against your skin as they can still bite through the net.
  2. It’s rumoured the wee beasties struggle to fly in the wind, so find a camping spot with a guaranteed breeze will add something to your armoury.
  3. They definitely don’t like smoke, so getting the BBQ (included in your camping kit) going ASAP will help to deter them.
  4. Citronella candles are effective as they don’t like the smell of the candles, so burn a couple at a time to double your chances of keeping them away.
What does the midge bite look like?

Midge bites often look similar to mosquito bites. They can range from one or two bites to a group of bites in clusters. They usually cause small, red lumps that can be painful and very itchy, and can sometimes swell up alarmingly. On occasion they can develop into blisters. The bites may not appear instantly and can take up to 3 days to appear and not just on areas of exposed skin. Often skin just within the clothing line can be worse.

What is the best thing for midge bites?

Our personal preference that we have found works time and time again is Calamine Lotion. Just recently our son went camping with Scouts and came home with many midge bites (see ankle image above) and we treated his bites with calamine lotion. Within 2 days he had relief and the itching had stopped. 

Which part of Scotland is worse for midges?

As it’s name would suggest, The Highland Midge is mainly found in the west coast of the Highlands, Islands and parts of the Cairngorms. They can also be found in Perthshire and Argyll.

Smidge Index:

Keep one step ahead of the midges!

The Scottish Midge Forecast is developed by gathering information from biting midge traps and mini-weather stations situated throughout Scotland. This data is then augmented with weather forecast information, providing a comprehensive overview of midge activity across Scotland for the entire season.