One summer evening in 1992, I was sitting out on my parent's deck listening to my Dad's bug zapper constantly frying some of the insects which surround their property. Located on the Mississippi River just north of Minneapolis, MN, there are plenty of them. However, this UV light/electric grid contraption did nothing to get rid of mosquitoes.
Accepting my father's challenge to develop a zapper that worked on mosquitoes (like a Mosquito Magnet), I used my background as a chemical engineer and scientist to tackle the problem and began researching. Mosquitoes are drawn to a target by (1) carbon dioxide, find it using heat sensors looking specifically for (2) body (or skin) temperature, and then locate a place to bite using triggers such as (3) lactic acid, other complex body chemistry and more heat sensing.
The first two problems could be solved with some skillful engineering using a CO2 generator or combustion process along with a heat element. The third would be tougher but may not be necessary since the mosquitoes would be so close. After noodling on it for about a year, I concluded that such a device could be built but at a cost that would be prohibitively expensive for the average consumer (>$1000). It would also be large and cumbersome. PLUS, what do you do at the golf course, the neighbors house, fishing, camping, or any other outdoor activity? There are also billions of mosquitoes - how are you going to catch them all? Where are you going to put the thing - mosquitoes will find any unprotected exposed skin even 2 inches from a repellent. They also bite right through clothes. What about gnats, no-see-ums, and biting flies? Oy!
The only real solution to protect yourself from mosquitoes is an effective repellent. DEET is, by far, the most effective repellent but it's greasy, has a distinctive and rather unpleasant odor, and is difficult to use. What people were looking for was something that actually worked which did not smell offensive. Using my 6 years of experience at a large personal care/cosmetics manufacturer, I started Bugg Products in 1994 with a 100% DEET product and began formulating some new, innovative ones that smelled nice.
Using the natural repellent properties of vanilla, I have developed some new products with specially formulated fragrances designed to mask the odor of DEET. Consequently, I can use a higher level of DEET in the product to make it really effective. But, you still smell good, not like insecticide!!!
In fact, the proprietary vanilla fragrance and other ingredients proved to be so disagreeable to bugs, it works on its own. I cleaned it up, added pure peppermint oil and some other things, and now we have a DEET-free product.
President, Chemical Engineer & Scientist
We are constantly looking to improve our products and add innovative ones to our line-up. Some of the things we are working on for upcoming products:
Buggspray Insect Repellent for Biting Flies - received EPA registration in February, 2004.
DEET-free Buggins Natural Insect Repellent - We have improved this product and introduced it in March 2008.
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles and box elder bugs - we received EPA-registration on this concentrated residual killer in July 2006.
Please check back to see how things are going and make suggestions if you wish!