Scotland has remained a ‘bluetongue free area’ despite outbreaks of the disease in the South-West of England. Dr Alison Blackwell, head of the £700,000 midge surveillance project, said the map helps to “identify the main areas of Scotland which could potentially be at risk of bluetongue and other midge-transmitted diseases from Africa and southern Europe.”
But, Dr Blackwell warns, the mild winter saw very few frosts to kill the midge larvae in the soil, leading to a record midge year. Climate change exacerbates this problem – the disease was previously only found in Mediterranean climates.
The map’s website also provides a weekly podcast with a midge forecast accurate up to 10 days ahead.