Midge Season Update – September 2016

The 2016 midge season started off with major emergences across Scotland’s midge territory, equalling those seen in the record midge season of 2014.  Catches of 80,000 midges/night were seen at the end of May in Argyll, followed by similar numbers in the North West of Scotland just a few days later.

The first generation of midges peaked at the end of June in Argyll, with catches in the Midge Forecast trap of 180,000 midges/night. From early July the numbers of midges in Argyll dropped off rapidly and only a small second generation was recorded, with peak catches of around 20,000 midges/night in early August.  By comparison, midges in the North West had a more obvious second generation, with catches in the region of 30,000/night during the first two weeks of August. 

Compared with 2015, which saw a 3-4 week delay in the midges getting going due to a very unseasonal Spring but then saw a resurgence later in the season, the opposite pattern was seen in 2016.  Overall, 21% more midges were caught in the North West of Scotland during 2016 compared with 2015, whereas catches in Argyll were marginally (6%) down in 2016 compared with the same year.  Midges catches now, at the end of September are very low and reports of any significant activity rare.  Eggs laid by the final generation of midges will have developed into larvae, inhabiting soil water films a few centimetres below the soil surface. These larvae will go into an overwintering phase when they reach their final, 4th stage and survive in this form until the Spring of 2017.