Midges: getting worse?

Discussion in 'Hydration, Hygiene & Health' started by Stuart, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Stuart

    Stuart Trail Blazer

    Maybe this should be in the "Bugs" thread? Anyway...

    This year I got badly bitten on a campsite in Borrowdale and only strong winds saved us when we camped up at Styhead as there were loads about in the late afternoon. I can never remember seeing midges in the Lakes. Even last year I camped in Ennerdale near the river and at Buttermere in August, not a single one.

    Chatting to people around Borrowdale, people seemed to think they are getting worse, ie more widespread, and that it's down to climate change. I wasn't sure about the explanation after all they are notoriously bad in places with severe winters such as Scotland and northern Scandanavia so I was sceptical that warming would result in more of them.

    However, I've done some initial internet research and there does seem to be some link to global warning as after all midges thrive in warm, moist conditions and spread into places adjacent to areas with existing populations when the conditions are right for them. We are getting more of this kind of weather so will northern England shortly become as bad as Scotland? And do other people also notice more of them about recently?
  2. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I believe the warm dry spring has had a lot to do with it, insects are having a really successful year so far.

    I can remember midges in the Lakes back to my early hiking days in the late 90's so I don't think it's recent invasion.

    Midges and ticks don't seem to be affected much by what we call harsh winters over here, they're buried away and insulated from the worst of it.

    Head for the summits and pray for a 5mph wind :)
    Diddi, Teepee and edh like this.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    My experience living 15 yrs on the northern edge of the Scottish Borders (village/rural) - is that they are worse now than when we first came here.
  4. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Numbers have been increasing in Wales and the Lakes for the last couple of years. I was 'Midged out' in early May this year in Wales, worst I remember for the time of year. 5 mins of the car door being open had thousands of em' inside. It was a bit itchy in Ennerdale last few trips too.

    Southern midges are not so bad though, they haven't got the annoyance factor of midges North of the border and always seem less determined.

    Galloway midges carry knives and are trained by the SAS. :)

    What Shewie says, it's been a good year for bugs in general with the above average temps and very benign weather for the last 12 months. Horseflies and Mosquito's seem to be doing really well too, had quite a few bites this year.
    Lady Grey, JKM and cathyjc like this.
  5. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I'm 40 mins north of Cathy, just outside Edinburgh and they don't seem any worse here than when I was younger. It definitely varies place to place around here. There aren't too many in the woods around the town I live in now but 4 miles away they can be pretty horrendous.

    @Teepee hopefully they're moving south rather than spreading :rolleyeses: There were a few on Skye in early May but none biting (male?).
    Teepee likes this.
  6. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    They were biting, straight through a trowelled on layer of Wilmas at 1am.

    Worse I've ever seen was in the 90's, riding a bike round Loch Carron. The clouds of midges under the trees were so thick it was hard to breathe.
  7. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    My worst encounter was also in the 90's just outside Ullapool, a can of deodorant used as a flamethrower gave a few seconds of respite but I was soon packing up and legging it back to town, easier said than done with a 4 man Kyham igloo tent and german para sleeping bag
    Teepee likes this.
  8. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Worst x 2 I can remember -

    - By the Blackwater river up stream from Garve 1990's - my jumper changed colour from blue to grey as they coated the whole surface. I 'posted' myself thru' a slit in the tent inner zip leaving my outer clothing layers in the porch. Still took over an hour to deal with the intruders that came inside with me.

    - Glen Tilt, couple of years ago with my daughter in a Nallo - watching the mutiple layers of midge bodies sliding like 'grey snow drifts' down the fabric as their combined weight meant they could not longer get purchase on the fabric. You could have scooped them up and weighted them in the Kgs.
    Lady Grey, Teepee and Shewie like this.
  9. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    That book shewie loaned me , this one i think (?), is a great light read, quite surprising how little is invested in tackling the problem, more pretending it doesn't exist.

    An old Midge thread
  10. Stuart

    Stuart Trail Blazer

    I'm bemused that I've never seen a midge in the Lakes while others say it is quite common to experience them. I've camped high, I've camped low. Next to water, away from water but not a hint of a midge, until this year at Grange in Borrowdale. Just bought fisherman (sic) version of a head net, £3 a shot at Decathlon which makes it worthwhile not doing MYOG ones.
  11. dovidola

    dovidola Section Hiker

    For some reason this year's been the worst I can recall, causing me to abandon a Scottish June hike (never had to do that before) near Bridge of Orchy after 3 days of torture and get on a ferry to Ireland.
  12. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    They were fierce in the woods around Howden dam last week... And I do mean fierce....
  13. babby

    babby Trekker

    regarding insect vermin;i noticed no flys at all in my house this year.(2018) where for the past 17 years the fly papers were full.
  14. Taz38

    Taz38 Section Hiker

    No more insects than usual I think down here in Worcestershire. I was super lucky on most of my trips, there was always a breeze to keep the midges away. Horesflies seemed plentyful tho.
  15. Jon jons

    Jon jons Trail Blazer

    I get those funny spindly spiders in my house, I leaves them to it and they catch any fly that dares come in. Have watched them at work, they make fly sized 4 season bags with no zippers in about a minute flat...
    Ken T., WilliamC, JimH and 2 others like this.
  16. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

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