Iceland: Bugs and biting things

iceland-2008-99-small I was a little concerned about mosquitoes and midges since I know to my cost how many of the damned things live in Sweden and seem to like some “Ethnic Food”; Organic, Free Range Englishman, to spice up their diet.

That concern was heightened when LB noticed a lake in the north-east called called “Myvatn” which translates as “Midge Lake”.

But as it turned out – there was nothing there to nibble on me – thankfully. According to what I’ve read, other people are not so lucky.

Had there been midges – I’d have been prepared.

I got what appears to be a very efficient head-net from BPL whose weight I didn’t resent at all. I am almost looking forward to trying it. Almost.

The material that the head-net is made from isn’t quite proof against a determined (and very small) midgie so they advise treating it with some permithrin-based insecticide.

iceland-2008-180-small As it happens, I’ve been using a permithrin-based insecticide this summer that I find works really well. It’s less toxic than DEET and unlike DEET it won’t melt your plastic based materials!

I first heard about it on one of Bob’s podcasts about the OS Outdoors show of 2007.

It’s made by a UK based firm called Agropharm from marigold blooms. Not that making it from marigolds makes it completely benign of course – consider tobacco. It’s called PreVent (making it hard to search online) and it’s sold in tiny spray bottles making it easy to carry.

It can be bought direct from Agropharm only by the box load but there are one or two online retailers that sell it individually. Or go to the OS Outdoors Show and pick it up for about half price.

4 Replies to “Iceland: Bugs and biting things”

  1. DEET sure does melt clothing. Section Hiker covered that a while back. So any thing less toxic is good. Good recommendation and thanks. A good subject to raise Dave. Summer walking can be problematic due to insects.

  2. Thanks Martin :)

    Someone I know was leading a party trekking to Everest Base Camp a few years ago.

    The morning they were going to leave from the first hotel, she discovered that one of the party plastered themselves in DEET and utterly melted a very expensive Gore Tex jacket.

    They had to delay the departure whilst a new jacket was bought.

    That story has always been the clinching reason for me not to use the stuff!

    I hope PreVent works well for you too – I’d be interested to hear how you get on. It seems to me that not all repellents work for everyone…

  3. It’s funny, I haven’t thought about bugs for a long time, mostly because mosquitos are not a problem on the mountain ridges. It’s been a few years since I actually camped below. I heard from a friend who lives in Iceland that they don’t have so many insects, but I would still not be surprised to find blood suckers.

    I am really intrigued by the photograph at the shore. Those distant cliffs and sea stacks would have me eagerly stretching my legs to get out there.

  4. Yes we’ve also managed to be in places high enough above the buggers to avoid them for several years. I just have bad memories of South Wales though – I swear they damn things had little tiny knives…

    Good to hear that Iceland doesn’t suffer as badly as I thought it might though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *