There are two biting creepy-crawlies you should be particularly aware of. Both are blood-sucking creatres. Forewarned is forearmed!
Midges are well-known in Scotland, particularly the Highland and north-east. They are tiny insects… that bite.
And they swarm, so if you’re caught you’ll know about it.
They prefer damp and heat, so on a cold, windy day you’re unlikely to be affected. But if you walk into the countryside, where conditions are best, you’re more than likely feel the bite of these little beasts.
They’re more common in summer and autumn than spring, and they don’t appear in winter.
One or two bites are OK, but if you get swarmed, you will feel as if they are literally crawling all over your exposed skin. On your face, this means they’ll get into your eyes, up your nose and your ears. Yes, everywhere. Fortunately, these swarming incidents aren’t that common around Forres, but if you venture out into the hills or if you head to the west coast… be warned!
More detailed information can be found here: https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/sites/default/files/2018-10/Highland%20biting%20midge%20-%20Midges%20for%20walkers%20-%20factsheet.pdf
Ticks are less obvious, although bigger, and very much more to be concerned about. They are actually a form of arachnid. If you have a cat or a dog, you may already know about them. They’re small, blood-suckers that hook themselves in your skin and extract your blood until they’re full and drop off.
And to them, you’re just another animal.
The bad news is that they carry disease, in particular Lyme disease, so they shouldn’t be left to follow their natural course and drop off. They need to be removed as quickly as possibly.
And that’s the hard part. Whereas midges bite, have a quick drink and fly off, ticks not only stay for the full three courses, they’re on vacation, so they’ll be there for a week if you let them.
Such is the nature of their jaws, they hook into your skin with barbs, so they’re practically impossible to pull out without a special tool.
And because they’re being so well-fed, your blood makes them stronger than ever.
The best way to remove them is with a tool. There are several on the market, and nearly all have a v-like groove. You slide it under the tick and prise up.
Pulling at it with your finger won’t work, and remember to make sure that the whole tick is gone and you haven’t left the head in, that’s the bit with the disease.
You can get midge removal tools from pharmacies, pet shops and vets.
More information about ticks: https://www.healthline.com/health/tick-bites
And that’s it. I’m itching too much to write any more.