Gizmos & Gadgets: Kite Patch Makes People Invisible to Mosquitoes

I hate mosquitoes. When I get bitten I develop wheals that are often several centimeters in diameter and it takes weeks for me to heal. Need I say more?

So reading about the Kite Patch, a small sticker that is 3.8 x 3.8 centimeters (1.5 x 1.5 inches). You place the patch on clothes, a backpack, a baby stroller, camping gear, any outdoor paraphernalia you would use. It does not go on your skin.

Each patch gives the wearer or the person in close proximity to it up to a full two days of protection against any species of mosquito. The patch replaces sprays, lotions and other anti-mosquito repellents.

Developed initially for use in Uganda to protect people from mosquitoes that spread malaria, it is not a substitute for netting around beds at night. Nor should wearers forget to choose appropriate clothing when venturing into areas where mosquitoes thrive.

How does it work? It blocks the mosquito from sensing exhaled carbon dioxide because that is how they find us. The patch is non-toxic. It may even work with pets since they too are carbon dioxide emitters. The active ingredients are described as as flavors and fragrances that specifically target mosquito receptor neurons.

It is safe to handle and stores for 18 months. And it’s making quite a stir in the crowdfunding world where its developer, Olfactor Laboratories, Inc.,  recently sought $75,000 but raised $557,254 on Indiegogo.

Original research was conducted at the University of California, Riverside with financial contributions from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Is the Kite Patch limited to just protecting us from mosquitoes? Although not yet tested it may prove to be effective against other biting insects like black flies, midges and horse flies who also seek us out by recognizing our carbon dioxide exhalations.


Kite Patch

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery.