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Subject: Bad weather affects midge numbers

Written By: Philip Eno on 07/30/07 at 2:37 am

A leading expert on midges has said their numbers have slumped this summer due to the heavy rain meaning they cannot get a frequent supply of blood.

Earlier this year, Dr Alison Blackwell, of Edinburgh University, said it could be a bumper year for the Highland Biting Midge - culicoides impunctatus.

However, she has now said that all of the 30 official midge traps throughout Scotland were well down on last year.

Dr Blackwell warned a warm and dry end to the summer could reverse the trend.

She said: "It is one of the quietest years for midges for a very long time.

"The last three or four weeks in particular have seen very low numbers. It is simply the weather.

"The heavy rain has had quite an effect on them. Midges need a blood meal within a week or they will not survive - and the weather has made it difficult for them to get that."

Dr Blackwell runs a spin-off company from Edinburgh University developing new methods of insect control.

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