Record numbers of midges have emerged in recent weeks with many Scots fearing the “worst year ever” for them so far.

They have arrived later due to the severe snow storms, but experts believe the recent hot spell has brought out the highest ever recorded.

Lucy Fraser, from Rowardennan, Stirlingshire, revealed that a contractor was forced to stop laying new decking at her property because the midges were so bad.

Scott Sweeney, from Argyll, who works outdoors as a deer manager says midges have “exploded” this week and are the “worst ever”.

Dr Alison Blackwell, from the Scottish Midge Forecast, backed the claims yesterday and predicted a record-breaking year despite the slowest start to the midge season since 2015.

Midges typically begin to emerge during the end of May, and in June the female biting midges arrive to kick off the season.

In 2017 a record number of 68 million midges descended on Scotland – a 40 per cent rise on the year before – but experts have not revealed this years’ estimated figures.

Ms Fraser runs her home as a guest house for walkers taking on the West Highland way and has to give them a stern warning not to open the windows – or suffer the consequences.

She said: “I insist the guests don’t open the windows. If they do it’s horrific and believe me some do and regret it.

“Each year from the end of May to October I become a prisoner and wouldn’t dare go out the door before 10am and after 5pm. This is when the midge is at its worst, the sun keeps them away, but the rain attracts them. I’ve been here 22 years and it gets worse every year.”

Scott Sweeney, from Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, who works outdoors as a deer manager, said the midges make if difficult to get any work done. He said: “I would say the midges are worse than ever this year. They maybe started later as the winter lingered on a bit, but now they have arrived they have just exploded the last few weeks.”

Dr Blackwell said: “This year has seen a late start to the midge season. However this week we have seen very high levels of midges. This is usually reflected in the the amount of insect repellent we sell. It’s been slow the previous weeks, but this week we have seen very high sales. We have had lots of people calling.

“It is likely to keep up like this for a few weeks as long as the warm and wet weather lasts.”