Certain regions of the Scottish highlands and islands are plagued in summertime with the dreaded highland midge, Culicoides impunctatus.
There are chemical preparations which some recommend either to repel the midges or to treat their bites once inflicted. The most widely recommended repellents include one of three ingredients
hydroxyethyl isobutyl piperidine carboxylate (also known as icaridin and by many other names),
diethyltoluamide, more widely known as DEET (which is corrosive of many materials, including some that are used in spectacles, wristwatches, and fingernail products), or
citronella, an essential oil extracted from lemongrass.
Midges are said to be attracted most by dark clothing, so wearing light-coloured clothes has been suggested as a way to reduce attractiveness to these creatures, if not actually to repel them.
Another way to lessen the number of bites a person sustains, widely used in the highlands and islands, is to stay indoors, especially in the early and late periods of daylight and when there is little or no wind. However, this is not always possible and in any case midges tend to find their way in to houses, and it can only take one or few in a room to come and bite when a person is asleep.
To lessen the pain from a midge bite, many substances are recommended, including various creams, some of which contain antihistamine. At least some of these preparations, however, are reportedly ineffective against the bite of the highland midge, and given the number of bites a person can sustain in a short period of time if attacked by a swarm, the quantity that is needed can be unrealistic to apply to the body in practice. Personally I would recommend vinegar, which lessens the pain rather than removing it, which is more than is done by at least some of the creams that are supposed specifically to work on insect bites.
Is there a hack?