Summer of torment ahead after midges go sex mad

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SCOTS are set to suffer a miserable summer in 2015 – after midges went sex mad.

The warm and wet conditions this summer meant the pests went through three breeding cycles rather than the normal two.

Experts say this could mean that the huge numbers of midges reported this summer are likely to be exceeded next year.

Nomally, the adults appear in spring, breed, and lay eggs.

This leads to to a quickly hatching second batch, whose offspring appear the following year.

But midge expert Alison Blackwell believes the conditions were so favourable to midges they managed to squeeze in an extra generation.

Ms Blackwell, of Advanced Pest Solutions, said: “We are still catching a few and people are still reporting that they are being bitten, so we must have had three generations this year.

“We’ve had much higher numbers nearly everywhere this summer due to warm wet weather coming at just the right time.

“We should have a big over-wintering population.”

Ms Blackwell added that the Gairloch trapping station in Wester Ross was the only location in Scotland that was still catching midges.

Midge numbers at the station were up from 1,388,608 last summer to 3,912,064 – a 182% increase.

At Crarae, Argyll, the number of midges caught rose from 3,555,969 in 2013 to 6,780,800 this year; an increase of 91%.

But Ms Blackwell said a midge apocalypse in 2015 was not a certainty.

She said the weather at the start of next year’s midge season would be very important.

“Warm, wet weather in the spring will maximise the first emergence,” said Ms Blackwell.

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