An Edinburgh academic plans to trap millions of midges in a new research project.
Dr Alison Blackwell, who runs the Advanced Pest Solutions company, will trap the annoying insects to help research into a cattle disease which blights parts of Europe. The outfit is better known to outdoors lovers for its Midge Forecast website, which warns walkers and climbers where Scotland’s midge hotspots are.
The research will look into ways of stopping the spread of bluetongue virus, which affects sheep and cattle and can lead to the destruction of whole herds and flocks. The Met Office will also be involved in the project, to determine when the highest risk occurs. Midges are often blown in on strong winds.
Dr Blackwell says the team will analyse the insects to determine the risk of bluetongue virus, which is only carried by some of the midge population.
The risk to Scottish livestock is seen as low, but the virus exists in much of Europe. The £700,000 project will help authorities plan for any outbreak.
Meanwhile, you can check out the risk to humans of being severely irritated by visiting the Midge Forecast website.