The weather is finally warm, which means it’s time for grilling, camping, hiking and generally squeezing in more time outdoors. But the rising temperature doesn’t just make people crave a bit of nature; it also means bugs and insects are out in full force.
If mosquitoes, bees and other creepy-crawlies that come out in the summer too often leave you at the wrong end of a bite or sting, consider trying the Bug Bite Thing (yes, that’s its name), a tool that provides relief for itchy, bothersome bites.
Created by a mom who wanted to find a better remedy for bug bites for her daughter, the Bug Bite Thing uses suction to extract the saliva or venom from a bug bite, instantly relieving any itching and swelling. It went viral after being featured on “Shark Tank” and is now the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon for insect bite treatments. With more than 4,000 reviews at the mega retailer, we had to get our itchy, bite-ridden hands on one to see if it truly works. So with our own Bug Bite Thing packed away, we embarked on a weeklong camping trip to see if this little treatment could give us some much-needed relief.
A suction-based bug bite relief tool
First things first, we love the Bug Bite Thing’s simplicity. It has a straightforward design and using it is quite intuitive. All you have to do is put the device over your bite with the plunger completely down, then slowly pull up on the finger handles. This raises the plunger, creating a ring of suction that extracts the bite’s irritant right out. Suction is key, so make sure you lay the opening as flat as possible over the bite. If it’s on an awkward part of your body, like a finger or the top of your foot, you can flip the cap and use the other side, which features a smaller suction area. Just be wary of applying it to your face or neck, since those areas are more prone to bruising. If you’re not getting a good seal, it helps to apply a little bit of water to the area (especially if it’s hairy) to help with suction.
Make sure you don’t pull the plunger higher than you need to; you should feel slight suction but never any pain or pinching — there’s no need to go overboard. Once you find that balance, hold the plunger in place for 10 to 20 seconds, then push the handles down to release. Repeat those steps two or three times, and the saliva or venom that causes irritation from a bite should be removed.
Beyond its simplicity, we found the Bug Bite Thing to be pretty effective too. It didn’t work 100% of the time, but the Bug Bite Thing did help relieve most of the bites we got. We were bitten a couple times on the thigh and foot, and when we caught them early and applied the Bug Bite Thing, any itchiness went away almost instantly. Though the tool left a small hickey-like ring from the suction, it disappeared after a few minutes, and no bumps developed — only a little bit of redness.
After passing it around to our fellow campers, we found that timeliness is the biggest key to its success. The instructions say to use the Bug Bite Thing as soon as you notice a bite, and we think that’s definitely the biggest factor in whether the Bug Bite Thing will actually work or not. If you notice your bite early, you can extract whatever irritant right out and get relief. However, if the bite is left alone, your body will start reacting to the irritant and it’ll be too late for the Bug Bite Thing to help.
The Bug Bite thing is less than $10, and can be easily cleaned and reused time and time again; We’ve had ours for about two years now and it’s still in fighting shape. So if you’re prone to bug bites and attentive enough to notice them right when the insects attack, we think the Bug Bite Thing is definitely worth a try.
The biggest downside to the Bug Bite Thing is it’s so dependent on when you notice your bite. There were a handful of mosquito bites that we didn’t find until later in the day and even though we tried using the device they still remained itchy. The Bug Bite Thing definitely isn’t the magical cure-all to your bug problems, but it does help if you’re vigilant.
If you’re not the type to notice bugs when they bite you, this gadget probably isn’t for you. Your best bet may just be to apply bug repellent and stick to anti-itch creams if you get bit. But at just $10, we think the Bug Bite Thing is worth the investment to try out on your next hike or picnic, because if it works for you, it’s so easy to throw in your bag and bring anywhere.
When looking for relief from bug bites, your first thought probably goes to anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone or other insect bite-specific treatments like the After Bite, which contains baking soda. While these are effective, if you want relief without any chemicals, your options are a lot more limited.
There are creams made from natural ingredients such as No-Bite-Me, which uses a combination of essential oils. Besides the suction-based design of the Bug Bite Thing, the other way to get relief is through devices that use targeted heat such as the Bite Away. We haven’t tested any of these yet, but we love the idea of a reusable gadget like the Bug Bite Thing because you won’t have to buy and use as much anti-itch cream. However, if bites really bother you we’d recommend keeping that cream on-hand in case you miss a bite and it’s too late to use the Bug Bite Thing.
At less than $10, the Bug Bite Thing is definitely worth a try if you’re a mosquito magnet and even the best bug repellent sprays can’t keep the critters at bay. While it isn’t a magical device that’ll make all your bug bites disappear, it can definitely offer some relief if you use it correctly and quickly.
So if you’re constantly scratching from summer bites, the Bug Bite Thing might be just the tool to finally find some relief. It’s available at Amazon in packs of one, two, three and six.