Mosquitos, wasps, and a host of other buzzing, biting and stinging insects are an annoyance to everyone. No one likes to get bitten by them or suffer the itchy skin and swelling that follows. But for some people the reactions are longer lasting and more severe.
When Kelly Higney moved from California to Southern Florida, where it is generally muggy and buggy for most of the year, she began noticing that she was one of those people who seem to be targeted by mosquitos. “They love me,” she says, and describes how the bites would cause days of itching, swelling and pain. She tried all the usual over the counter creams and oils, ice, dryer sheets and even what she describes as the “hot spoon trick,” seeking relief.
But it was when her daughter inherited her tendency to attract mosquitos and the ensuing reactions that she began a serious search for an effective way to relive the symptoms she and her daughter suffered from bug bites. Describing herself as a “Mom on a Mission,” Higney delved into research from other countries. She found a suction device that had been created in Europe 30 years previously, and although she was skeptical about it, ordered one. To her amazement, it worked far better than any of the creams and lotions or other desperate measures she had tried in the past.
When an insect bites, it leaves behind its saliva or venom, and this is what causes the itching and swelling. The premise is simple. Remove the saliva/venom and reduce or eliminate the reaction. After trying the product she had purchased, and proving to herself that it was by far the most effective solution she had encountered, Higney branded it and brought it to the U.S., determined to make this simple solution available to everyone.
With her mother, Ellen McAlister, as her partner, in late 2015, Higney started The Bug Bite Thing business out of her garage in West Palm Beach, created a Facebook and Internet presence, and began selling through CVS Pharmacy. Interest built and scores of positive testimonials on Facebook helped promote their product.
While the product is designed specifically to remove fluid left from bug bites, testimonials have revealed some other possible uses. One satisfied customer described a cut she got from stepping on some broken glass. Although she had been able to extract most of the glass, there was still a miniscule fragment in her skin causing a mild infection and discomfort. She had purchased The Bug Bite Thing previously for its intended use, had an “aha moment,” and used the syringe to remove the small fragment.
Undoubtedly, appearing on Shark Tank is the dream of thousands of entrepreneurs, and many try for years to gain an appearance before the Sharks. But in this case, the show contacted her instead and encouraged her to audition. Nevertheless, Higney described the experience to Wendy Rhodes as “terrifying” and admits that she and her mother were a bundle of nerves. While their contract does not allow Higney to reveal anything about the outcome of the experience, she is planning a watch party at the company headquarters when the segment airs on October 20th, and says she still has a lot of anxiety about the whole process and may just lock herself in her office! (The Palm Beach Post, 10/15/19).
Today The Bug Bite Thing distributes internationally, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, from its headquarters in Port St. Lucie. It is available through Facebook and the website, on Amazon and eBay, and in numerous stores such as Walmart and Home Depot.