IT'S that time of year again.
War has once again been declared on that most fearsome of predators, the Highland midge. Many have tried and failed to defeat this micro-monster, using methods as varied as chemical repellents, smoke machines and even a gadget that claims to work by replicating the breath, heat, body odour and movement of a cow (don't try this at home).
The latest to enter the fray is retired professor Alistair Stewart, who has invented the Bugwisa, a baseball-style cap with a built-in anti-midge fan. We wish him success - midges, after all, cost the economy around £286 million a year (although in their defence, they are a valuable food source for birds and bats).
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If it turns out you can't simply blow midges away, there are a couple of radical options. Midges are alerted to human prey by the carbon dioxide on our breath; next time you're in the middle of a swarm, try not to exhale. Alternatively, a genuine spacesuit can be had for £12,000, a copy for around £30.
And if all else fails, remember this: the life span of the flying midge is between two days and two weeks. This means that by the time the effect of the bite wears off, the perpetrator will be deceased. That might be a consoling thought.