Swarms of midges biting into Scottish tourism returns

Scotland’s tourism industry has been bitten to the tune of more than £285 million a year as swarms of midges over the past decade has turned holidaymakers off from making return visits.

Swarms of midges eating into Scottish tourism returns

Swarms of midges eating into Scottish tourism returns Image by USFWS Mountain-Prarie / CC BY 2.0

The  problem  has grown to such an extent that over 100 people are now volunteering to become official midge counters as the authorities undertake research in the hope of being able to improve the situation.

MailOnline reports that the counters will record information which will be pooled into a Scottish Midge Forecast to aid local and tourists during the summer months.

The volunteers have been issued with their own “Midge Watch Kit’ to return data between the high season of June and August, detailing where the problem is worst at any given time.

Fears of another ‘perfect swarm’ attack this year heightened after Dr Alison Blackwell, the person in control of the project, revealed that the midge attacks had suddenly “exploded this week.”

She said the point of the data collection was to map midges on as localised scale as possible.

The North West Trap for midges is currently breaking its own catch record while the Argyll trap was all full up despite the late start to the season because of the inclement weather.

The researchers will be able to calculate the extent of the midges problem by deploying special digitalised software.

In a previous study, a large amount of tourists said they would not return to Scotland because of the nuisance they suffered from the biting insects.

Up half a million midges can live in a square metre of land and while they only live for a maximum of two weeks, during that time, females can lay as many as 170 eggs in three separate breeding batches. This means that in any summer, there will be up to three generations of the tiny beasts biting human flesh.

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