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28th November 2011

Midges still biting due to mild November

An unusually bright and mild November has meant the UK midge population has been in good health which is bad news for us as we continue to be bitten into, what should be the winter.

This November is being dubbed by many as the mildest we've ever had due to unusually high temperatures and amounts of sun. BBC weather reported that the static weather is due to high pressure to the east of the UK and low pressure to the west which is pulling up heat from the southern continents.

You may have observed this month that there has been very little cloud coverage and that's a direct result of the two areas of low and high pressure. Without cloud coverage, the UK is subject to greater sun that it normally would be in the winter which is adding to the heat coming from the south to give this mild November.

Parts of the UK have seen unseasonable highs of 18C in the middle of November which is a stark contrast to last year. If you think back, last November began mild at the very start but things soon shifted. A very deep area of low pressure brought out torrential rain and gale force winds followed by a big slump in the temperature.

This drop in temperature brought about the one of the most severe and disruptive cycles of snowfall the UK has been exposed to in modern times. Lows down to -19C and fresh blankets of snow every morning became common place throughout last November.

It has been a completely different story in 2011 and the curious weather has resulted in insect populations continuing to thrive when more commonly in the winter they would die out.

BBC News recently reported on how November's mild weather has resulted in record numbers of midges for this time of year. Dr Alison Blackwell, who runs the Scottish Midge Forecast Service said "It's not unusual that there are a couple of midges flying around but usually we would expect the end of September, beginning of October, that would be them disappeared".

Dr Blackwell was surprised by the number of reports and said "if we continue to have similar weather patterns we may well see them pressing into the end of the year".

This has prompted an increased need for insect screens during the winter months. It is common to think that door screens and window screens are primarily for the summer but with milder winters and increased winter sunshine then a retractable screen that offers both insect protection and solar shading is ideal.