Beat the bite: how to keep those midges away

Buzz off!

Buzz off! - Credit: Archant

I’m due to travel up to the Isle of Skye. Is there anything you can recommend to keep the midges at bay?

JONNY CROCKETT replies: There is very little scientific research and a lot of anecdotal evidence into what works and what doesn’t. Some swear by Avon Skin So Soft, whilst others prefer to stick with a DEET-based product. There are several other possibilities that range from eating lots of marmite, lots of garlic, and rubbing your exposed areas with elder leaves. I’m sure that they all work to a larger or lesser extent, but scientists will repeatedly say that DEET is the only effective repellent (or to be more accurate ‘masking agent’). The levels of DEET in your insect repellent will determine the effectiveness. Products like Nordic Summer have less than 5% whilst other are 100% DEET. Always try to use the lowest percentage possible. Remember that DEET will eat into anything plastic. Use carefully. My best advice would be to cover up as much skin as possible and use a really low percentage DEET product.