The Bugs of Ireland

While climbing to the summit of Croagh Padraic, the sacred mountain in County Mayo from which Saint Patrick banished the snakes from Eire, my family and I were set upon by clouds of stinging insects…divine punishment for our sins.

(THEIR sins, anyway…while Uke Lady, Pianola, and Banjo were bitten repeatedly, poppa got off scot-free. A result either of my pure heart or of the nearly-straight Guinness running in my veins after nearly two weeks in Ireland)

Unlike the mosquitoes or black flies of North America, these were teeny-tiny little things. Looked like gnats, but you could FEEL them biting you. And they got into your hair. And the bites left itchy itchy bumps, which still itch after five days.

“Midgets,” the locals called them, when we asked. They also said they shouldn’t itch much longer than regular mosquito bites.

So I assume that they were what we call “midges” here.

Question 1: Am I right? Feedback from Gaelic entomologists requested.

Question 2: Why do they still itch? We’re unused to their venom, so the botheration persists longer than it would with a native?

Question 3: Do these things LAY EGGS UNDER THE SKIN, which will erupt into streams of insects which will bop over the Hudson, infest the New Jersey tomato fields, and utterly destroy U.S. Agriculture? (I don’t think this is very likely, but the wife is concerned.)

Question 1 : Yes they are midges. Why people here insist on calling them mmidgets I’ll never know.

As for your other questions I dont know.

Your description sounds very much like midges to me (Culicoides Impunctatus). They’re reputed to be capable of driving deer away, so ferocious are they.
(sorry about the background on this page - do “Edit/Select All” to make it more readable)

Question 2: I doubt it makes much difference. After 36 years of opportunity to build up an immunity, the bites still itch like crazy for days!

And yes, they are inexplicably fussy about who they bite (and where - my wrists, elbows and knees seem to get it worst). I’ll need to try Guinness as a midge-repellant. Even if it doesn’t work, well… :slight_smile:

Midges or Culicodes impucantus.

Scotland has the little feckers too Free Website Building Software | Create a Website - Homestead

Good man :smiley:

On this point only, I am deeply envious…:slight_smile:

Question Three: The might not destroy all of American agriculture, but if we’re lucky, they will do in New Jersey. We can only hope.

Thanks, people.

So, er, when will they stop itching…?

<whispering Dick Doc tone>

Two weeks of pills, no alcohol, keep it in yer trousers.

</whispering Dick Doc tone>
Another happy customer !

don’t get bitten by them here…lots of bites in italy
go figure.
give it a week and take antihistamines.

Similarly, I’ve never been bitten by Irish midges, but I’ve been eaten alive in Scotland. I seem to recall we even bought nets like beekeepers wear when we were camping near Ben Nevis years ago. They must know their own…

Glad yer back with us, Ike. If I was the Reverend Spooner, I’d tell you how much we missed your shining wit.

Rest assured that I stand at the ready, poised with my arsenal of pesticides, dedicated to serve and protect honest American citizens from the scourge of Irish midgets (which sounds really un-PC, but you know what I mean) which threatens our way of life.

Anyway, that’s what I told Giuliani about the skeeters, but he hasn’t returned my calls.

Until next time, citizens. This is BugMan signing off.

There was an entertaining misprint in the Guardian a few years ago in a story about tourism in Scotland which had people being put off visiting Scotland by “hordes of Highland midgets”. I still can’t shake the mental image.

I just had this mental image of that scene in “Braveheart” where the Scottish troops moon the british. Only with little people.