Buzz off! Midge song heralds start of Icelandic summer

Man waving midges away in music video Image copyright Nazarus/YouTube
Image caption Nazarus insists: 'I want them out of here"

The appearance of the biting midge in parts of Iceland where the insect is uncommon has irritated holiday makers, highlighted an environmentalist concern, and inspired a song.

One man felt compelled to warn others about the dangers of the blood-sucking creatures - in a humorous music video.

In it, musician Nazarus, at times wearing a hat with a net covering his face, shows off his nasty bites and offers advice on how to avoid them and failing that - how to treat them.

'Fit of rage'

"There is a good reason for this song," Nazarus told the Frettabladid newspaper. "I wrote it in a fit of rage. Last week, my mother and I were sunbathing on the balcony, and when we went back inside, the old lady had bites everywhere. I got very angry and started composing."

Midges have started launching their attacks early this year, reports Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid. A pharmacist in the southern town of Selfoss told the paper that insect repellent products are in high demand there.

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"Everything sells out right away. Every other person here has numerous bites. We've never seen anything like this," says Hjördís Björk Ólafsdóttir.

The appearance of the tiny insects is not surprising in itself. They are native to Iceland, particularly in the north where a lake is named after them - Lake Mývatn, or Midge Lake. They've been called "as Icelandic as the puffins".

Lake Mývatn lived up to its name last year, when a reporter for the country's public broadcaster had to pause his piece to camera, in order to spit out the midges he inhaled.

What's seen as unusual - and a sign of climate change - is their appearance in parts of the country, particularly in the south and west, that seldom, if ever, experienced them before.

'Merciless attack'

The bugs are so small that they are also called no-see-ums in parts of the UK as individuals are hard to spot. They may be tiny, but their bites can cause a lot of grief - particularly as they attack by swarming their victim in a cloud.

Image caption Midge bites can be very unpleasant

The tiny insects have caused some buzz on social media. Some users have reported that their holiday has been ruined by the unpleasant experience.

One person observed that "the country is under a merciless attack from foreign midges", while others are more sceptical about such an invasion and note that some fellow countrymen have a "midge obsession".

One victim posted a picture of a bite from Iceland's capital Reykjavik: "SOS! Not for the sensitive people!! Flies attack people in Grafarvogi. Each guerrilla fly bites more than once! There are two flies sending me out of the hot tub. If I don´t see you again I would like to thank you for our time together!"

Reporting by Alistair Coleman and Krassi Twigg

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