Summer in Scotland is one of the most attractive places to be! Stunning scenery, welcoming locals, superb weather, great fishing - this could easily be mistaken for a highland paradise! Unfortunately, some areas of Scotland are also inhabited by the infamous and dreaded Scottish midge! So don't forget to buy our best midge repellent

The dark clouds of these bloodthirsty blighters are enough to send the hardiest of people running for shelter whilst simultaneously crying for home. However, don't be dissuaded! We have conjured up this handy insect repellent guide so you can avoid the itches and irritations of those ghastly insect bites. But mostly so you can look back and have happy thoughts about your time being outside in Scotland.

Scottish Midges

Midges are little flying insects with only a wingspan of 2mm. Just as diverse as the Scottish accent, there are officially over 35 different species of biting midges in Scotland. You may be amazed by the black clouds of midges as they swarm to feast on you, and even more surprising is that it's only the females that bite!

Midges love calm and humid conditions (with their small wings they aren't equipped to fly in the wind). They use light as an indicator for feeding time, and most active during low light conditions - dawn, dusk, and even during cloud cover! Midges have CO2 receptors that allow them to detect their prey, they also look at other clues to who they might like to feast on - body odour, heat, humidity, colour as well as movement. All of which is why midges are more attracted to some people than others.

The Highland midge lays eggs in peaty soils (they prefer more acidic soil) with plants like heather and rushes. When they are not having dinner, they shelter amongst the tree moss, under bracken and amongst the heather shrubs - it's always a good idea to avoid disturbing vegetation, and literally causing a buzz.

Whilst midges can make it hard going for outdoor activities, they play a vital part of the natural ecosystem. Without them there would be less food for fish to feed on, meaning less fish and indeed smaller fish as well. Just we wish they were all male midges...

Other Insects

Midges are world renowned, however they are not the only biting insect Scotland has! In fact, they don't even have the worst bite!

Clegs / horse-flies are a super interesting fly if you look at them closely, however their bites are horrific! Quite often you won't feel them until it's too late and you feel the discomfort of your body reacting to their bite. These nasty little critters can draw blood on a bite and can cause a very bad allergic reaction in some cases.

Ticks are nasty little parasites which latch to unsuspecting mammals, feeding off of their prey for days till their sacks are full. Worse still they are tricky to remove and they can carry lymes disease - so be sure to monitor any tick bites!

For more information on ticks, check out our article here


Sometimes you hear people that swear by one product that is 100% effective at deterring midges, the truth is that no one method is full proof. We believe that it's about being smart and using a combination of preventative measures to minimise the risk of getting bitten.

Covering up as much area of your skin as possible with clothing will help prevent midges and other insects from biting. Some types of clothing are impregnated with an insect repellent called Permethrin. This repellent is interwoven into the fabric of the clothing and helps deter insects such as ticks clinging to your clothing.

Midge nets are the perfect aid for protecting one of the most vulnerable and sensitive areas on the body - the face! Whilst fashioning the looks of a beekeeper, they are a lifesaver especially when midges start to swarm. We recommend wearing a cap while using a midge net. This will help keep the midge net away from your skin and face.

Repellent candles these Citronella based candles release an unattractive scent repelling insects creating a small a little insect free zone. Ideal for family camping trips.

Midge Repellent Sprays

It may be another preventive method, however, there are different types of insect repellent sprays. Sprays are a great way for keeping insects away, the majority of them produce a disgusting scent which overpowers your own delicious smelling odour - to clarify this is the smell the insect's register! This means that insects are less attracted and less likely to bite. The great thing with sprays is they work on a variety of different insects: midges, horseflies, ticks, mosquitoes (we don't have these, but just in case). Interested? Here are the different types of sprays available on the market.

DEET has a bad name and there have been controversial myths spread about it. To clarify it's not the banned DDT! DEET is diethyltoluamide, an active chemical that helps to put off insects from biting. It is commonly used in a lot of insect repellents due to its effectiveness at keeping insects away. The downsides are it's best to keep away from kids (it's toxic if digested), also the chemicals are a solvent and will actively react with plastics, synthetic fibres and rubber... so be careful where you apply it!

Saltidin or Icaridin is similar to DEET in the way it works - it smells horrible to insects and makes you a less appetising lunch option. However, it is less oily/greasy, tends to be more fragrant, and is less likely to irritate sensitive skin. Just be aware that more frequent applications may be required as well! We recommend Smidge - not only does it work well, but we enjoy their style.

Prevent midge bites by following our steps:

So here is a breakdown of the steps you should follow to reduce the chances of getting insect or midge bites (and ticks):

1. Check the geographical location, weather and time that you plan on being outside. Avoiding dusk dawn, shade and calm weather.

2. Have clothing which can cover exposed skin areas, tuck your socks over the bottom of your trousers and wear hiking gaiters if possible.

3. Use a insect repellent spray that you are comfortable with.

4. Finally have antihistamine tablets just in case - take them when you realise you've been bitten, not just when you are experiencing symptoms.