Online Exclusives

Taking the Bite Out of Bed Bugs

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | September 8, 2010

The resurgence of bed bugs has made headlines in big cities across America. A Woodmere, NY company has rolled out a new transdermal patch to deter these nasty critters that go bite in the night.

For most Americans, bed bugs had been a thing of the past—or maybe they knew someone who knew someone who had once been bitten after spending a night in a less-than-desirable motel room.

But bed bugs are making a comeback of late. Health agencies in several major cities are fielding more complaints about these pesky bloodsuckers. Plus, to make matters worse, bed bugs have been reported in places far removed from seedy hotel rooms; they’ve been found inside major clothing retailers and even movie theaters in New York City. Their increasing numbers have made big headlines, putting consumers on heightened alert.

While bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, they are, quite frankly, disgusting, and as EPA puts it “a pest of significant public health importance.”
Victims can have mild to severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites, which can sometimes lead to secondary infections of the skin such as impetigo or ecthyma (a skin infection similar to impetigo). And bed bugs can also affect one’s mental health—think anxiety or even insomnia as they attack mostly at night and most people can’t feel the bites.
A Woodmere, NY company has rolled out a new weapon that might help people sleep easier: The Bed Bug Patch. It is a patented transdermal adhesive patch that uses B1 thiamin to deter bed bugs for up to 36 hours.The B1 thiamin reportedly acts like a mask to cover the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the body, which is what bed bugs rely on to find their food source (a.k.a sleeping people!).

“There is a lot of research out there that tells us bed bugs are naturally attracted to carbon dioxide. In fact, the most successful monitors use CO2 as their main attractant; scent is also a major lure,” said Joseph Renzo, executive vice president of marketing and operations for Bed Bug Patch LLC.

According to Renzo, professional bug control companies use CO2 as one tool to combat bed bugs. “It was only natural for us to devise a product that would ‘play’ on the bed bug’s attraction to CO2 and mask it from them,” he said.

Bed Bug Patch LLC doesn’t have the market to itself; there are other firms sporting bed bug products. Natures Innovation, Inc. is a Buford, GA-based company that touts a number of bed bug products under the Bed Bug Patrol banner. SKUs include a bed bug repellent spray—formulated with 5% catnip oil, lavender essential oils, soybean oil and isopropyl alcohol—as well as an itch relief product, rapid kill sprays and related accessories designed keep bed bugs at bay.
Another competitor is Stuart, FL-based RMB Group, which offers cinnamon-scented spray products called Rest Easy that are said to kill and repel bed bugs.

But Bed Bug Patch officials insist that their unique delivery method will set it apart.

“We settled on using a patch as it is the most effective and the simplest. A patch is the optimal way to deliver B1 thiamin transdermally,” Renzo said. “Sprays and lotions aren’t adequate enough to serve that function. Sprays and lotions are also messy and can easily be washed away thus not allowing ingredients to be absorbed efficiently.”
For now, RMB is ahead of Bed Bug Patch LLC in terms of shelf space. The Rest Easy line is stocked at Bed Bath & Beyond nationwide as well as Duane Reade stores in New York and New Jersey.
Available online since Sept. 1, Renzo toldHappi,Bed Bug Patch LLC plans “to hit retail stores in the near future.”

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