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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

7th Meeting of the 183rd Session (2003-2004)

"Surviving the Scottish Biting Midge"

Dr Alison Blackwell
Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine
University of Edinburgh

In the Wolfson Suite, Ground Floor
Edinburgh University Library
George Square, Edinburgh
On Monday 24th May 2004, at 7 pm

Although biting midges have a worldwide distribution, there is nowhere quite like Scotland in terms of the havoc that these tiny insects can cause. Midges have been around for millions of years and still there is no effective means of control. In Scotland during the 1940's, a Government-funded 'Midge Control Unit' was set up at the University of Edinburgh, headed by Professor Doug Kettle. The team involved produced a wealth of data on the ecology and biology of midges in Scotalnd, although failed to provide any solutions to their control. Recently, we have been taking a fresh look at how midges interact with their environment, in an attempt to identify chinks in the midge's armour where novel interventions could be aimed in an attempt to reduce the nuisance caused to both man and animals. This has included the identification of naturally-occurring repellents, in addition to the cocktail of smells usually used by a midge to find a bloodmeal; incorporated into a novel trapping system (the 'Midgeater'), capable of collecting >1 million midges in a single day. This talk will outline the research we have been involved with and attempt to outline a 'survival guide' for coping with these insects in Scotland.

Location of meeting

Society Business

The President, Dr Stuart Monro, will be in the Chair.

Nominations for Fellowship will be tabled at the meeting.

Members of the Public are welcome to attend.

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary

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