The Bug Patch and Bug Off Bracelet: Do They Work? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/22/07

The Bug Patch and Bug Off Bracelet: Do They Work?

We've got a doozie for you this week, featuring two products at once. One product is a patch you wear anywhere on your body and another one is a wrist band, both are designed to keep the mosquitos at bay.

We had experts and a dozen people help us out on this one and this test came with a lot of blood and sweat.

Dr. Steve Presley is an Associate Professor and Research Coordinator at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health.  He also has 500 hungry female mosquitoes. Dr. Presley raised them from larvae.  We have six willing participants who are going to stick their arms in mosquito cages for this test.

Product one is the Bug Patch.  Verna and Dr. Presley will both be wearing two patches each on their right arms.  That's the recommended dose for adults.

The Bug Patch is DEET free and is all natural with Thiamin B1 vitamin.  "Because there's some belief the people who have high levels of B vitamins repel mosquitoes," said Dr. Presley.

Product two is the Bug Off.  "A biting insect repelling wrist band. Which is basically a citronella- soaked bracelet," Dr. Presley said. Rachel and Ritchie will be wearing the Bug Off bracelet on their right wrists.

Dr. Presley explains what else will be needed for this test.  "We're going to have a positive control which is DEET. We know it works. Our negative control will be our left arms. Each left arm will be a negative control." 

What he means by that, the right arm on each volunteer will have some sort of treatment and their left arm will be all-natural. After a quick wash, everyone was ready to take on blood sucking mosquitos inside the Insectary.

Just to note about the insects we're using. Dr. Presley says they're all disease free. Verna goes first.  Remember, she's wearing the Bug Patch on her right arm and nothing on her left.  Each arm goes into two separate tanks.  "We're going to start recording at 45 seconds so get a good count at 40 seconds," he said.

Three men stood in as the official counters. No surprise, they counted 9 mosquitoes on Verna's untreated left arm and amazingly, they were able to count seven mosquitoes biting her right arm.

It's Dr. Presley's turn.  Five mosquitoes were biting his treated arm and 18 mosquitoes were counted biting his untreated arm.

Up next is Rachel.  "Oh, she's in."  She's wearing the Bug Off, the citronella wrist band.  Five mosquitoes were biting her arm with the band and 14 were on her untreated arm. Ritchie was wearing the wrist band too.  Only one mosquito didn't mind the citrus scent, but 19 mosquitoes preferred his natural arm.

Now it's Walter's turn.  Remember, he's wearing DEET on his right arm. The mosquitoes are staying clear of the DEET, but five were feasting on his untreated left arm.  Les has on DEET too.  Again, the arm sprayed with DEET is a 100 percent guarantee that mosquitos won't bite, but our observers counted four on his untreated arm.

After six volunteers, Dr. Presley says he has all the data he needs.  "That's why I wanted so many people because individual attractiveness is the key."   

He says we did this test under very controlled lab conditions and concluded The Bug Patch, the Bug Off bracelet, and the DEET are effective repellents.  But he says anything with DEET is clearly the most effective repellent we tested.

The Bug Patch was $7 (on-line), the Bug Off bracelet was $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond, and a can of mosquito spray with DEET in it, will cost you under $5 anywhere mosquito repellents are sold.

Chart provided by Dr. Steven M. Presley, TTU

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