Any walker venturing into the Scottish hills in summer soon learns that a means of repelling midges is essential for sanity. Tightly woven long clothing, head nets and staying in the tent with the doors firmly zipped shut all work but can be sweaty, claustrophobic and inconvenient.
Insect repellent doesn’t stop midges swarming round you but it does stop them biting if it’s effective, and it allows you to expose bare skin to the open air. Insect repellent will also keep off clegs (horse flies), ticks and any other biting insects.
The standard ingredient for insect repellents is DEET, a rather powerful substance that can melt plastic. I prefer not to use DEET – I don’t like my cameras, phone, binoculars and other items going sticky. For many years I’ve used non-DEET repellents, with varying degrees of success.
This summer I’ve been trying a new one, Care Plus Sensitive, which comes in a 50ml roll-on version and also a spray. I much prefer roll-ons, which I find easier to use and unlikely to get in your eyes when frantically applying repellent because the midges have suddenly appeared.
The active ingredient of Care Plus Sensitive is a chemical called Saltadin which makes up 20% of the contents and has the wonderful full name of Hydroxyethyl Isobutyl Piperidine Carboxylate. Other ingredients are denatured alcohol, water and Dipropylene Glycol. The mixture has a faint, slightly sweet smell that soon disappears and feels non-greasy on the skin.
I’ve found Care Plus Sensitive pretty effective. I’ve applied it to arms, neck and face when midges are biting and it’s kept them off. Clegs don’t like it either. The roll-on is quick to apply – it’s needed to be at times! Once the alcohol has evaporated, which happens in seconds, I’ve not been aware of the repellent unlike some which feel sticky and continue smelling. Care Plus says the repellent is effective for eight hours. It certainly works for several hours.
From the accompanying leaflet it seems a safe product. It’s toxic if swallowed and the alcohol makes it flammable (another reason to prefer a roll-on over a spray). It says ‘OK for Kids’ on the packaging.
As long as the midges are around, Care Plus Sensitive will live in a quickly accessible rucksack or garment pocket. And next summer I’ll be happy to use it again.