Curse of the midgie to come to an end

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By Alexander Lawrie

THE CURSE of the Scottish tourist industry could soon be at an end – as Scots boffins unveil a cure for the pesky midgie.

A spray which can cover a whole room in a protective anti-midge blanket is expected to be on general sale early next year.

While a cream for use by hillwalkers, farmers and tourists is also being planned for a year later.

The new innovation, which uses natural body chemicals to repel the insects, could save Scotland a whopping £300 million in lost tourism revenue each year.

Researchers from Aberdeen University and an English institute have revealed their trials of the revolutionary repellent have been successful.

It was successfully tested out on entrants – including TV honey Nell McAndrew – in last year’s Monster Challenge duathlon at Loch Ness.

The university’s Professor Jenny Mordue has been working alongside Scots entomologist James Logan, of Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Herts, as part of a four strong team which has spent the last seven years trying to solve the problem.

Hundreds of guinea pigs

Dr Logan said: “Some people are less likely to be attacked by midges and we wanted to find out why.

“We discovered that, of hundreds of human-derived volatile chemicals, two of them act together as a significant repellent.

“We still don’t know how or why people produce them but when they are on the skin midges will tend to turn the other way.”

Dr Logan’s team of researchers extracted the substances from hundreds of guinea pigs who underwent the tests naked zipped up in a foil bag.

Dr Logan added: “The technology works. The products are just being fine-tuned and there should be something in the shops as early as next summer.

“The ones currently on the market are not all that effective and are based on pesticides, which are horrible things and not nice to breathe in.

“By using natural chemicals, we are finding a better and more environmentally-friendly way forward.”

The two new products, which are currently being kept under wraps, also discourage deadly malaria-carrying mosquitos.

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