Don't Bite Me! Insect Repellent Patch
Test Series by Sophie Pearson
Initial Report - September 8, 2009
Final Report - November 30, 2009
Name: Sophie Pearson
Height: 5' 8" (1.71 m)
Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)
Email address: sophiep3 at gmail dot com
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
I first started backpacking as a teenager in England. I did a
28-day trip in the Arctic, but most of my backpacking experience
has been weekend to 10-day trips, in a range of terrains and climates.
I am a volcanologist so I also do day hikes carrying loaded packs over
intense terrain. Nowadays I am generally in sub-tropical climates. I
am heading increasingly towards ultralight packing, and unless I am
sharing I use a hammock. I try to pack around 20 lb (9 kg) for long
weekend trips but have carried over 50 lb (23 kg).
September 8, 2009
Manufacturer: DIVA Marketing Group, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Number of patches: 20
MSRP: US $21.99
Dimensions: 2 x 2 in (5 x 5 cm)
The Don't Bite Me! Patch is a natural insect repellent. It is a topical patch that puts vitamin B1 (thiamin) and aloe into the blood stream. The theory is that excess B1 is secreted through the pores which creates an odor that mosquitoes don't like, but humans don't notice. The aloe is an anti-inflammatory to reduce the irritation from burns and bites.
The Don't Bite Me! Patches come in packs of 5, 10 or 20. I received a packet with sheets of information and a pack of 20 patches in a bright green box, which shows the actual size of a patch on the front and back. It also has information about how to apply a patch - to a clean, dry, hairless area two hours prior to going outside. It says to use a second patch if heavier than 200 lbs, in a heavily insect-infested area, or if smoking or drinking alcohol. Patches are for single use only. Inside the box was a leaflet with more information and warnings, and the patches. Each patch is individually wrapped, basically exactly like a large, square adhesive bandage. The paper on either side is peeled away to reveal a clear patch that is adhesive on one side with 2 pieces of film to cover each half of the adhesive. This film is removed and the adhesive is used to attach the patch to the body. The patch is removed when it is no longer needed, and supposedly works for up to 36 hours. It is also supposed to be waterproof.
I am really excited by these patches. If there is an insect within 100 miles, it will find me (and in Florida there are always many more than that much closer!) My friends say that I am the most natural insect repellent there is. Sadly, that is not so good for me! I have to use 99% Deet to not get bitten, which eats my clothes, smells and tastes horrible (I always forget that I have it on my hands) and is not exactly good for the environment. Therefore, the idea of a natural patch which increases my B1 levels to repel mosquitoes is attractive to say the least!
The idea and application of the patch is simple. I like the idea of using a natural ingredient to increase my B1 levels to repel mosquitoes, but time will definitely tell if it works. The aloe to reduce the unpleasantness of bites I do get would be nice too. With the natural ingredients it doesn't seem like there should be any harm from using the patches, but we shall see!
The patch has to be applied 2 hours before going outside which will not always be that easy, but with a 36-hour duration I don't think it will matter if I apply it a bit early. I am definitely curious to see how long it lasts for, how well it works, and if I need to apply a second patch due to the high level of insects I'm encountering. As I enjoy a drink in the wilderness, and am generally in pretty buggy places, I will not be surprised if it takes 2 patches. The waterproof ability of it will also be called into question as I am often swimming or kayaking and love to be in the water. As the patches have to be applied to a hairless part of the body I am guessing the adhesive will be fairly strong so hopefully they will stay on.
The patches are fairly large but not unreasonably so - they will definitely be visible but I am hoping not too noticeable. Putting them on seems straight-forward, and I am looking forward to seeing how easy they are to apply, and where I like to apply them (they suggest shoulder, hip, back of shoulder or buttock). All in all my initial impression is that these look like adhesive bandages but have the potential to be a really great, useful thing - if they work!!!
November 30, 2009
|Month||Location||Duration||Temp range||Max elevation||Bugs|
|September||Northern Florida||3 nights||55-95 F / 13-35 C||65 ft / 20 m||Yes|
|September||Yosemite, California||2 nights||35-85 F / 2-30 C||8800 ft / 2700 m||Few|
|October||Tuscany, Italy||1 night||55-80 F / 13-27 C||4000 ft / 1200 m||Very few|
|November||East central Florida||1 night||55-80 F / 13-27 C||0 ft / 0 m||Some|
|November||Central Florida||1 night||55-80 F / 13-27 C||130 ft / 40 m||Few|
|November||Everglades, Florida||2 nights||45-80 F / 7-27 C||0 ft / 0 m||Yes|
I am always a mosquito's favorite flavor, and although these patches have not been perfect, I have definitely been bitten less. Rather than being the most attacked on a trip, I have become one of, if not the, least bitten. Therefore I am delighted with the Don't Bite Me! Patches!
The patches definitely rely on circulation, and for me this has meant variable results. I have always had bad circulation, with permanently cold feet, and I noticed that my feet would still get bitten while the rest of me was bite-free. On the last trip, to the Everglades (possibly one of the buggiest places in the USA!), I ended up with about 8 bites on my feet and just one on the back of my leg. As I was fully clothed all of the evening I would normally have had bites all over my face and hands as well, but I did not have any. My tent-mate complained of a large number of both mosquito and no-see-um bites. Therefore I think that these patches definitely work, but I have ended up borrowing mild insect repellent for my feet.
Without repellent, I tend to be a feast for biting insects.
On the instructions the manufacturer mentions applying 2 patches if in a heavily infested area or consuming alcohol. As Florida is primarily swamp, I think that it would definitely count as a heavily infested area! I often have a drink in the evening too, and I did find that one patch was not sufficient. I never tried more than 2, but with 2 there was a noticeable decrease in the amount I got bitten.
The patches seem to work for 36 hours, if not longer. I really love the fact that on an overnight trip I could apply a patch before I left, and wouldn't have to worry about insect repellent the rest of the weekend. I often forgot to put the patches on before going outside, but within the 2 hours I would hear mosquitoes buzzing around without getting bitten. I did find it a bit of a pain to remember to apply the patches 2 hours beforehand, but I did not mind too much as there is a very logical reason for applying them early.
I learnt the hard way that it matters where the patches are applied. I found that the hip was generally best. As the patches are on for a fairly long period of time, it hurt when I tried to pull one off that was stuck to a hairier part of my arm. I also found that they would not stick well to my arm if I applied one then moved about a lot (I put one on before kayaking one day and it fell off after about 30 minutes). If they had been on for a few minutes and stuck though I never had a problem with them coming off, even when spending long periods of time in the water.
Once the patches were on, I have never noticed them. I have not had any kind of reaction to them. The clarity of the patches means that they are not noticeable from a distance, and they are small enough that I don't end up feeling them. I have not noticed any kind of smell. The only thing I did notice is that when I put one on that was a bit wrinkly and took it off after 2 days, my skin stayed wrinkly there for a good hour afterwards!
I am not sure about the minimizing properties of aloe that the patch is supposed to offer. I have been bitten a few times, particularly on my feet, and I still get welts that are itchy. It is possible that the reaction is less than it would have been without the patches, but I am not convinced.
I have been impressed with the Don't Bite Me! Patches. I am always the first one bitten, with the biggest reactions, but I have noticed a marked decrease when wearing these patches. Although I still get the occasional bite, I am often the least troubled by both mosquitoes and no-see-ums on a group camping trip. This makes a really fantastic change, and the fact that the product is natural is just the icing on the cake!
Noticeably reduce the number of insect bites.
Easy to apply.
Stay on really well.
Don't notice them once they are on.
Last a long time without reapplication.
I needed to use 2 at a time.
Still got some bites, particularly on my feet.
Need to remember to apply 2 hours before.
This concludes my report. Many thanks to DIVA Marketing Group, LLC and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Don't Bite Me! Patch.
Read more gear reviews by Sophie Pearson