The highland midge (scientific name: Culicoides impunctatus; Scots: Midgie; Scottish Gaelic: Meanbh-chuileag) is a species of small flying insect, only found in upland and lowland areas (fens, bogs and marshes) of the north west of Scotland and northern Wales from late spring to late summer. Similar insects are also found in suitable habitat throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, other regions of Europe, Russia and Northern China. Female Highland midges are well known for gathering in clouds and biting humans, and are the smallest flies in Scotland to do so, though the majority of the blood they obtain comes from cattle, sheep and deer. They are generally regarded as pests.
Following Scotland's exceptionally cold winter in the early part of 2010, scientists found that the prolonged freezing conditions, rather than reducing the following summer's midge population in the Scottish Highlands, in fact increased it as the cold weather had reduced the numbers of its natural predators, such as bats and birds.
Female midges tend to bite in close proximity to their breeding site (although they have been found up to 1 km away) and near to the ground. They are most active just before dawn and sunset but bite at any time of day. Midges are less active with wind speeds of over 6 mph, or humidity below 60-75%.
- "How to avoid midges, wasps and other insects while camping". www.campsites.co.uk. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "'Biting midges in Scotland'". Scottish Natural Heritage.
- "'Rise in midges' despite harsh winter". BBC. 2010-06-17.
- Hendry, George. Midges in Scotland 4th Edition, Mercat Press, Edinburgh, 2003 ISBN 1-84183-062-3
- APS Midge Forecast Interactive midge forecast for Scotland
- Institute of Animal Health Culicoides impunctatus
- Down Garden Services - Midge
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