INSECT repellent manufacturers APS Biocontrol are looking for people who are prepared tolerate eight hours in the outdoors surrounded by midges.
The unusual request will be part of research from the company behind Smidge as it seeks to test a new product in live trials.
About 10 people will be paid to remain outside in an infamous midge-infested part of Argyll – either Inveraray or Minard – with both arms uncovered. One arm will have the repellent on it, while the other will be exposed to the notorious wee beasties.
Smidge boffins will be on hand to count the number of insects which land, and also attempt to remove as many as possible before they feast on the volunteers’ limbs.
“When a midge lands on your skin, it kind of wanders around before it starts to bite,” explained APS Biocontrol’s Dr Allison Blackwell.
“So at that point, one of the staff running the project will take that insect off, so you get very few bites to be honest.”
Outlining the need to conduct live trials on humans, Dr Blackwell – who also heads up the Scottish Midge Forecast – added: “If you buy a product from the chemist and it says it protects for eight hours, there has to be data to back up that claim.”
The Highland midge (Culicoides impunctatus) larvae remain in the peaty soil throughout winter before becoming flying adults in spring. A breeding frenzy then initiates a second batch six weeks after the first hatching.
For the latest data and information on midge populations, visit The Scottish Midge Forecast.