Sunday, October 05, 2008

Know your enemy

click photo to enlarge
I seem to have been afflicted by midges all my life. Wherever I've lived they have found me and bitten me! But, when I saw a late cloud of the little nuisances the other day, I realised I didn't know a great deal about them. So, in the spirit of "know your enemy" here, in no particular order, are some things I've found out!
  • Midge is a generic term for a wide variety of small, two-winged flies
  • "The Midge Forecast" provides daily and weekly forecasts of biting midges throughout Scotland
  • In one midge study over 5 million were collected from an area of only two square metres
  • It is only the female midge that bites
  • Midges prefer dark colours over light colours
  • Midges prefer a moving target
  • Midges are attracted by carbon dioxide and the smells that it contains of the animal that produced it
  • They can detect a suitable target from 200m distance
  • Taking two dessert spoonfuls of vinegar, or eating raw garlic, taints perspiration and is said to deter midges
  • If light levels fall below 260 Watts/sq.metre then midges start to bite
  • Midges are estimated to cost the Scottish economy £280 million per year in lost tourist revenue
Now that the weather is getting colder midges are disappearing. However, a burst of sunshine on a recent warm evening brought the little blighters out for a farewell aerial dance at the field edge as we walked by. I paused only long enough to grab this picture!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm (200mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On