I will be visiting Scotland next month, and I have been told over and over again to be particularly watchful for midges. They're annoying and they bite a lot!

Can anyone recommend any good repellents or other methods/remedies to avoid being attacked by those annoying bugs?

  • 3
    I misread that as 'midgets in Scotland'. :/ Jul 1, 2012 at 15:50
  • haha, yes i would like to avoid being attacked by midgets :)
    – Penumbra84
    Jul 1, 2012 at 16:07
  • Whereabouts are you travelling to? If you're out by rivers in the Highlands you're much more likely to have a problem with midges than if you are sticking to the city centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Dec 21, 2014 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


I have always been recommended to look for a repellent that contains Deet as this is the most effective agent in repelling midges. However, in practice I find these repellents only work for a short time and you are back to getting eaten again quite quickly.

Some old wives' tales claim that bog myrtle leaves, crushed and rubbed on the skin to give off their strong smell, can be a repellent. This method certainly provides relief but is not very effective.

If you really want to keep away from midges, avoid being outside in the evening and at dusk. Also avoid shade and areas of boggy ground. I've found the midges to be much more aggressive in the north west Highlands than in other parts of the country.

Unlike mosquitoes, midges do not normally come into your home. You can comfortably sleep with your window open without any problem.

Another biting bug in Scotland, not so well-known but worth looking out for is the horsefly (local known as the "Clegg"). This is a large insect. It is found in areas where there are horses but also where there are many deer - that is, most of Scotland's country-side. I used to kill 6 or 7 every year. They are relatively slow and easy to swat but they don't make much buzzing and might go unnoticed until they bite. I've only been bitten once and it felt like a large hypodermic needle was being pushed into my shin. The wound they leave can take months to heal completely.

  • Ahh yes, the feared 'Clegg' - one sliced a small disc of flesh out of my daughter's neck in deer country a couple of years back. Took ages to heal.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 2, 2012 at 9:07

We have this question over on the Outdoors Stack Exchange: https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/132/what-can-i-do-about-those-obnoxious-biting-flies/143

Avon Skin So Soft is still the product I take with me any time I am up the west coast.

I also tend to wear a midge net on my hat. Better more prevention than less:)


I know this is an old question but is still a valid issue that needs addressing every summer when visiting Scotland.

Smidge is an insect repellent that protects against the particular Scottish strand of midge. Smidge also have a very handy midge weather forecast for Scotland so you plan your trip accordingly.

NB. I have no affiliation to Smidge. I have used it on various trips successfully repelling midges.

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