Ever wanted to get your own back on midges? Well, here’s the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Anyone who lives in a midge-infested area of the north is being offered the chance to trap them and report them to the world’s leading expert on the Highland midge.
And the information they provide will be used to warn hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts of midge hotspots throughout the summer – withthe aim of depriving some of the voracious insects of their next feast.
Alison Blackwell is director of Dundee-based APS Biocontrol Ltd, which runs the online midge forecast.
She explained that it was based on weather forecasts and catches from traps across Scotland, adding that she was keen to enlist more people to gather information on more localised midge numbers.
Ms Blackwell said: “We want to get more information on local variations in midge numbers so we can begin to understand why that is.
“We set up Midge Watch to do this last year and we had around 120 people reporting to us.
“So far this year, we only have around 70 so we are keen to find more people willing to take part, particularly on the western side of the country.”
Volunteers will be asked to hang a W trap in their garden and to take a photograph of the insect catch approximately once a week.
The trapper will then upload their image to a website, where the midge population will be assessed using image-analysis software.
Ms Blackwell said: “We will use the data to improve the midge forecast.
“Midge Watch enable us to fill in the gaps a bit more.
“When people click on an area on the midge forecast they will also be able to get information about the Midge Watch catches in that area.”
She added that catches so far this year were showing signs of being particularly high for the start of the season.
She said: “We are seeing increasing numbers, which is what we would expect in the warm weather we are experiencing at the moment.
“And we had a good spring for midges. It was warm with a bit of damp as well.”
Anyone who wants to sign up as a midge watcher should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org