MIDGIES THAT HAVE been the scourge of visitors to Moray and the Highlands may have a new enemy – in the form of a specially formulated potion that has been a smash hit in the United States.
Now a Moray man is the only person in the UK with a licence to sell the new insect repellent – and he has stepped in to help hundreds of athletes taking part in the World Orienteering Championships in Moray and the Highlands.
Willie Petrie believes that the ‘Bug Soother’ product has a magic formula for repelling many insects – including the dreaded Highland Midge.
The 50-year-old from Pluscarden currently sells the product online, at trade fairs and in selected hardware and sporting outlets – and throughout next week he will be supplying the solution to international athletes and support staff at the championships.
“I am so pleased to be supplying the athletes and marshals with this product,” Mr Petrie said, adding: “They are definitely going to come face to face with the bugs and beasties up in Glen Affric and around Darnway in Moray, but I have no doubt that Bug Soother will go a long way to protecting them.
“I started selling Bug Soother in April and it’s great to already have a platform like this to really give it a boost.”
Willie, whose background is design at the Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London and until 2012 ran his Highland Timber Buildings business, found out about the product by chance.
He explained: “I was online reading a completely unrelated business article and spotted a story about Bug Soother and how it had been a success and had completely sold out. The article said the creators couldn’t make it quick enough and that demand had outstripped supply.
“I just thought that given we live in Scotland which is known for its bugs and midges I would see if they wanted a distributor. Initially, when I rang the couple who have created it, they said no – but two years or so of being persistent paid off and they finally agreed.”
Bug Soother was made by Simply Soothing, a family-owned business in Iowa on the banks of the Mississippi. What impressed Willie most is that all its ingredients are entirely chemical free and natural.
He said: “There are no chemicals in it. It’s made with lemon grass, vanilla, castor oil, soya lecithin, lemon, vitamin E and purified water.
“It is sold in a spray but goes on like a lotion and was made by Freda Sojka, who wanted to create something for her five-month-old grandson. It was an overnight success and last year they sold 600,000 bottles.
“The product is non greasy, contains no harmful chemicals at all and smells great – it can be used for a whole variety of outdoor activities from horse riding to fishing and golf.
“I am certain it will repeat its success over here.”