Donít Bite Me! Patch
Initial Report Ė September 13, 2009
Field Report - December 12, 2009
Name: Jason Boyle
Height: 5' 6"/ 1.68 m
Weight: 180 lb/ 82 kg
Email address: c4jc "at" hotmail "dot" com
City, State, Country: Kodiak, Alaska, U. S.
I have been camping and backpacking for about 20 years. My introduction to the outdoors started with the Boy Scouts of America and has continued as an adult. I have hiked all over the Southeastern, Northeastern, and Northwestern United States. I am generally a lightweight hiker, but will carry extras to keep me comfortable. I currently reside on Kodiak Island in Alaska home of some of the worst weather and most beautiful scenery around. I look forward to putting gear through the paces here on the Emerald Isle.
Manufacturer: DIVA Marketing Group, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Listed weight: None listed
Measured weight: 0.2 oz/6 grams for five patches
Product Ingredients: Vitamin B1 and Aloe
MSRP: $21.99 US for a 20 pack on the literature included from the company. On the Donít Bite Me! Patch website a 20 pack is listed for $15.99.
Country of Manufacture: The promotional material and packaging did not list a Country of Manufacture.
The Donít Bite Me! Patch, referred to from here on as the patch, is an approximately 2Ē x 2Ē (5 cm x 5 cm) clear patch that contains vitamin B1 and aloe. The theory behind the patch is that it imparts the B1 (Thiamine) vitamin directly into the bloodstream through skin pores. Once the body has more B1 than it can handle, the excess B1 is emitted through the skinís pores masking the carbon dioxide that is naturally emitted by all humans and that draws insects. The B1 barrier is supposed to have a slight odor to humans but be unattractive to insects. The manufacturer states that the aloe ingredient in the patch is included because of the anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate the pain and swelling with itches and burns and would therefore help with any bites that the user may receive. For maximum effectiveness the company recommends using a patch at least two hours before any outdoor activity and the patch is supposed to last for 36 hours depending on how the userís body metabolizes the B1. The patch is also supposed to be waterproof and can be worn while swimming or showering.
The manufacturer sells the patches in packages containing 5, 10, or 20 of the patches. Each patch is individually sealed in a paper package similar to the way Band Aides are packaged. Once removed from the paper packaging, the active side of the patch is protected by two clear pieces of plastic that each covers half of the patch. The user removes one of the clear plastic covers and places the active side of the patch on the body then removes the second plastic cover and smoothes the patch on. The company recommends putting the patch on a hair free part of the body and specifically recommends the following places: buttocks, hip, shoulder blade, or the outside of the upper arm. They also recommend alternating locations where the patch is placed.
A few other items worth mentioning from the company Ė they recommend applying two patches under the following circumstances: if taking antacids, using barbiturates, if taking diuretics, if a smoker, if recently taken antibiotics, if taking oral contraceptives, if alcohol is consumed, if taking chemotherapy, and for those that weigh over 200 pounds. The reason for taking two patches is the above conditions may cause a B1 vitamin deficiency levels and two patches are required to provide protection. The company has a very easy to use website that provides copious amounts of information including Material Safety Data Sheets for the patches, Frequently Asked Questions, and a web store to purchase the patches.
Insects of all kinds are rampant here in Kodiak; however, it is the mosquitoes and these little black gnats that are the most annoying. The mosquitoes are so large that they are often referred to as the unofficial state bird. I donít like to use deet insect repellant, but that is the only thing I have found that has worked here in Alaska. I am hopeful that these patches are the ticket and can replace the deet products in my gear closet. One thing I noticed immediately when I received the patches is that contrary to the companyís claim that the patches have only a slight odor, maybe I have a super sensitive nose, but there is a definite odor. It is not unpleasant, but there is definitely an odor to the product. I have taken multivitamins in the past and the patches smell like a multivitamin. This sort of makes sense because the patch contains the B1 vitamin.
The paper packaging for the patches is easy to open, and they are easy to apply, though I am not hairless in any of the places where the company recommends placing them. Undaunted, I decided to give them patches a try this past weekend at an end of season golf tournament, but I didnít have a chance to put it on 2 hours in advance, only thirty minutes in advance. I placed the patch on my upper left arm and headed to the golf course. There werenít many mosquitoes, but there were insane amounts of these little black gnats that are evil incarnate. I didnít expect much because I didnít put the patch on as early as the company recommended but I was hoping it would do something. Honestly over the four hours of walking 18 holes of golf, I couldnít really tell if the patch did anything. I was able to smell the B1 ďodorĒ while walking the course and wearing the patch, but the gnats pretty much annoyed me the entire day. The gnats didnít bother my arms as much as they kept getting in my face and eyes while trying to focus on my shot. Not sure if the patch was more effective on my arms first or not. Anyway I would say my first usage was inconclusive. I did continue to wear the patch for almost 32 hours and I continued to have the vitamin B1 smell the entire time. I also showered twice over this period and the patch continued to stay in place on my upper arm.
Field Report Ė December 12, 2009
I was only able to use the patch a couple of times before fall winds and cold weather moved in so I cannot substantiate the bug repellant claims, but will use the patch again in the spring and make an addendum to my report.
I was able to use the patch on a couple of day hikes in September. Both hikes took place on Old Womenís Mountain, elevation of 2500 feet (760 meters) temperatures ranged from 38 F to 50 F (3 C to 10 C) , with winds blowing 10 mph (16 km/h). Trails here in Alaska are for the most part non-existent and what exists is very rough with little to no switchbacks and serious vertical gain.
Unfortunately the fall came quickly here in Kodiak and Winter wasnít far behind. I was able to use the patches a couple times, but not enough to make conclusive comments on the ability of the patch to repel insects. However, I do have several observations I can share. The first is the patches are easy to use. They stick well, even when sweaty or showering. Also the company claims there is no smell, but I have to disagree. There is a smell that is obvious while wearing the patch. The smell is not unpleasant, but does linger. I like that the patches arenít messy, and that they last for the 36 or so hours, at least I could still smell them after 36 hours. In the spring, I will use the patches on my outdoor adventures and will make an addendum to this report.
This concludes my Field Report. Thanks to Backpackgeartest.org and DIVA Marketing Group, LLC for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more gear reviews by Jason Boyle