Device ‘disappears’ mosquito welts

August 6, 2018

Sun Sentinel

Summer means grapling with the small, agitating menace of the pesky mosquito.

Kelley Higneycouldn’t stand the bites any longer and decided to do something about it. The result: the “Bug Bite Thing,” a small device that doesn’t prevent the insects from biting you, but stops the bite from developing into an ugly welt.

Higney operates the business out of her Loxahatchee home. The products are made in Denmark, then shipped to a warehouse in Jacksonville before making their way down to South Florida for shipping.

“It’s really personal for me because I was the one suffering. There was nothing I could do for my child, and I was tired of it,” said Higney, founder of The Bug Bite Thing.

It acts like a reverse syringe, sucking out the saliva of the mosquito or the poison of a wasp before the skin has a chance to react and become inflamed. The poison is stored in the top of the device, which can be removed, cleaned out and reused.

It was clinically tested by Dr. Lotte Søgaard-Andersen of University of Southern Denmark for wasps, bees and red ants, she said. The side handles can be flipped to be a stinger scraper, so it can remove stingers and splinters stuck in the skin, she said.

“It’s completely reusable and never expires. It’s small, so you can throw it in your purse or glove box, and it’s not going to melt like creams do,” she said.

Higney’s device was originally created by a doctor in Europe 20 years ago, who transferred the product rights to Higney’s distributor in Denmark, which has the molds and produces the devices before shipping them to the U.S.

It only has enough suction for a bug bite, compared to Sawyer’s Extractor Pump, a similar device that works on snake bites.

The Bug Bite Thing cannot prevent any diseases such as the Zika Virus spread by the pests, Higney said. “There is not any testing done as of now. We treat this as a first aid tool, to give relief from the symptoms of a bite or sting, not to cure anything.”

The product launched a year ago and costs less than $10. It’s now being sold online by Walmart and Home Depot, which Higney arranged. She said she is setting up product placements in CVS stores for next season.

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