Midges and how to minimize their impact

I’m beginning to wonder if the specter of rattlesnakes and mountain lions pales in comparison to Scottish midges.

Well I assume it was midges as I was only a few miles south of the Scottish border activating Ros Castle today (G/SB-009) where my best efforts to not get bitten failed miserably despite being bundled.

What tips can you offer up to avoid being midge bait?

Paul M/W6PNG

This issue was discussed about a year ago in some depth.

It was eventually concluded that a cosmetic product called “Avon Skin So Soft” acts as a very effective midge repellent! I have used it myself and found that it works very well. It is a light, mildly perfumed oil. You can get it in 150 ml spray bottles from Amazon. I understand that in the Scottish highlands many general stores and pharmacies sell it. It is not very expensive!

No doubt alternative products are available. :wink:

Walt (G3NYY)


Thanks and I’ll acquire some of Avon’s finest.


It’s a very bad year. SB area midges are somewhat weak and pathetic compared to their West Coast cousins which can strip a man to bone in minutes!

It seems that midge treatments/repellents depend a lot on the person wearing them. Some treatments are better on you than others, you need to find which works for you.

Robin GM7PKT put me onto Smidge. Not cheap but it works brilliantly for me. The best I’ve ever used. But if you leave a tiny patch of exposed untreated skin, they will go for that.

Avon Skin-so-soft. Is not a repellent but they don’t like the taste. You have them buzzing around you and the stick to it on your skin but they don’t bite.

Both of those have a pleasant aroma and do not include nasty insecticides. Smidge works better but is 4x the cost and doesn’t leave your skin a bit tacky the way Skin-so-Soft does.

There are plenty of DEET based repellents but these use nasty organo-phosphorous compounds and some can melt the plastics used in modern walking clothes and waterproofs.

A midge net for your head is wonderful. You can ignore the ones flying around your face then.

Midges in the Highlands find me so attractive that even the best treatments fail. My solution? Avoid Scotland from June to September!:unamused:

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Beware using Avon Skin So Soft on sunny days, it’ll fry you like a tanning oil. However, if you’re not a peely wally, pasty faced (of a fairer complexion) Scotsman, you may get away with wearing it in the sun.

Good tip and the sun is not my friend either.

Paul M/W6PNG

Bushman / Deet is used a lot in Australia but can be bought in Europe from Amazon and others.


Aerogaurd Tropical Strength is also well respected in Aus.

Autan is another good one in Europe - again available from Amazon and elsewhere.

Up Kitt hill G/DC-003 this morning and no midges, they migrated north prior. :rofl:

Ps Thanks for the S2S this morning on 40m

karl m3feh

Up to 700 midge larvae per square metre in Scotland.

ROTFL! It’s only Teuchters who are peely wally and fair skinned. I am a dark-skinned, black-haired Lowland Scotsman of the Celtic variety (nothing to do with football, I hasten to add), so I have no such problems.


Walt (G3NYY)

Rub some of Islay’s finest into your skin, that will frighten them off :wink:

Lots and Lots of midges on Place Fell (G/LD-023) today, they followed me uo all the way from where I parked the car in Boredale. It is a bit of a no win situation in summer - either its windy and difficult to get the antenna up, or its midgey and the irritation factor makes it difficult to get the antenna up. This morning the midges added to the usual summit brain, so my apologies for all the callisigns slowly repeated. PS Having camped at Keilder and quite a lot in the Western highlands the Scottish border midges can be almost as bad!

+1 for Smidge. The active ingredient is a chemical called Picaridin. It doesn’t melt plastic like DEET. Still bad if you sweat and it runs into your eyes though!

Wait until you venture to Mt Coricudgy and the bush mites (Chiggers) await you. Some of those afflicted have had two weeks of scratching misery.

I believe DEET based sprays are not avaliable in UK, happy to be corrected, which is the only spray effective on bush mites.
Yes DEET sprays will melt plastic like spectacles and headphones.

I have been covered from head to toe with red spots from bush mite bites.


Thanks and given all the feedback I decided to acquire both the products you mentioned and see which one is effective for me.

Paul M/W6PNG


I think I can get DEET when back in US but I’ll probably hold off as anything that “melts” plastic isn’t that desirable on the skin and I’ll see how effective the other products (Smidgey and Avon) are before going beyond.

I guess a bee keepers net as suggested is another option.

Paul M/W6PNG


Repellents with 50% DEET are available in the UK. The one I use is from Boots the Chemist. I find it very effective and lasts for a few hours.


It keeps the midges away long enough for an activation. Midges were already on summit of Carn a Mhaim (GM/ES-013, 1037metres) on Saturday. Midges hood is an excellent accessory and you can talk through them. Some folk claim they can also drink through a midge hood, something I have never tried!

Breeze of more than 7mph also keeps midges away. Rare to have such calm conditions in Scotland, but then there was no breeze on Saturday, before the thunder storm started.



Hi Paul,
Products containing DEET are the ones that work in the worst conditions of hoards of midges, mossis etc. It does stain clothes - not sure about it melting plastic but they DO work in the worst conditions. When conditions aren’t that extreme with the bugs, the other products mentioned here do a good job and I guess when the midges get really bad, you’d leave in any case, so one of the “less toxic” products might be your best choice. For those who have to keep working outside with the bugs, for example in Australia, Bushman and Aeroguard are essential.

73 Ed.

The worst affect is on breathable membrane materials such as GoreTex. Also it tends to make the transparent plastic base on Silva compasses turn translucent and crazed.

DEET works extremely well, you just have to be careful when using it.