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Tuesday 25 August 2009

The dreaded "midge".....

Unlike the West of Scotland and the highlands, Orkney doesn't have too much bother with midges...... until August that is. Midges are tiny biting, flying insects, the size of a pin head. Thankfully, as I live near to the shore there is usually a breeze so the horrid beasts are kept at bay. But the walled garden is proving a haven for them. And they love hiding in the vegetation where it's damp and then swarm about me when I'm trying to weed or pick the veggies. In theory they don't like too much direct sunlight and are worse at dusk or dawn...... but nobody has told the midges this. Sigh.

"Avon Skin So Soft" moisturising body oil is supposed to be a good repellent. But in reality the midges continue to swarm around finding any spare bit of flesh to bite into and draw blood whatever one is doused in. It's only the females that bite - apparently they need the blood before they can lay their eggs. They were so bad at the weekend even poor Button got fed up with them around her eyes, nose and ears that she abandoned supervision of my weeding and retreated into the barn for a nap.

And I just discovered there is a Scottish Midge Forecast website! Orkney is in the top right of the picture. OK we only merit a "1" hmmmmm well it felt more like FIVE when I was in the garden......... and *that* is why on Sunday I was out in the pouring rain and breezy weather trying to earth up the tatties in the hope the midges would be otherwise occupied.....


  1. I was over in Orphir at the end of last week and surprised at how many midges there were - they were swarming. We get very few here in Westray - too far north I suppose!

  2. You were in Orphir! Did you wave?!! They seem to be worse this year - though only started in August. I had thought it was cos I was rummaging around the shrubbery and veggies more this year, but perhaps not! And yes maybe Westray is Positively Polar for them...

  3. So sorry to hear about the plague of midges, Sian. Even the thought of them makes me itch! Your garden is looking so wonderful, it must be infuriating when you are tending your plot. Our veg has done well though I have abandoned some of the brassicas to the slugs and caterpillars. Still plenty to eat, though not many friends appreciate greens full of holes!Thanks for your kind thoughts about Maria. I'm definitely looking at the OU, thanks for the encouragement. I have temporarily abandoned the idea of studying with the UHI; apart from the isolation of distance learning I have to remember that I will be working practically full time in a new post so I need to be realistic in my goals. Happy gardening, Sian. Perhaps a bee-keepers outfit might help!

  4. Hi, apologies that you only have a '1' for Orkney at the moment on our Midge Forecast - the August plague seems to have taken everyone by surprise. We have no live midge catch data from Orkney to verify our forecast outputs, so if anyone would like to contribute, you'd be very welcome.

  5. My late husband - a former army officer - said that soldiers posted to remote tropical locations always relied upon roll-on deodorants to stop the itching, once bitten. And, yes, it works.

    By the way, there's a blog prize for you over here:

  6. Hi Jo - yes, however tempting studying (even as a hobby)is, it IS time consuming (and energy consuming) and if you have a new job to contend with too something more relaxing may be in order this winter!

    Scottish Midge Forecast - well hopefully I can find someone in Orkney to provide a live "midge count" - though I suspect a "dead midge" count will be more popular!

    60-going-on-16 - I think many preparations have been tried over the years. I'm not sure any are 100% effective against the Evil Midge, but we live in hope. Thank you so much for the award - I shall drop by your blog!