The Bug Bite Thing Really Works


I’ve been a mosquito magnet since birth. On group hikes, camping trips, or family backyard gatherings, I wind up with dozens of bug bites when everyone else gets two or three. Last summer I counted 31 mosquito bites on just my legs after a weekend of camping in Acadia National Park. The itching was so bad that I put ice cubes in my leggings in hopes of numbing the bites enough so I could sleep. It didn’t work: they stayed itchy and then I just had wet pants.

But I soon came across a TikTok featuring the Bug Bite Thing, a 0.32-ounce piece of plastic that functions like a syringe but with a suction hole on one end. It supposedly pulls mosquito saliva out of bites to relieve itching, and it’s designed to work on other bites or stings from bees, wasps, ants, and more. The Thing was created by two entrepreneurs, Kelley Higney and her mother, Ellen McAlister, who started selling the product out of their garage before appearing on an episode of Shark Tank in 2019 to get funding. They succeeded, and it’s been a bestseller on Amazon ever since.

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(Photo: Courtesy Bug Bite Thing)

I was excited but skeptical. After decades doubling as a human blood buffet and trying every remedy under the sun to prevent bites and treat them, it seemed too good to be true. But because the Bug Bite Thing only cost $10, I decided to give it a shot.

Reader: it works.

I still can’t believe it. But it does. In my experience, while it doesn’t make the bites or itching go away entirely, it does offer instant itch relief that lasts for about six to twelve hours. When I’m out, get bit, and my bites begin to bother me again, I simply re-suction them and the itch disappears once more. I’ve also found that the Thing reduces the overall time that bites remain on my body—about one to two days instead of a week.

Anyone who doesn’t regularly fall prey to mosquitos will still find the Bug Bite Thing a worthwhile investment. It handily sucked out a nearly invisible splinter from my partner’s hand, and its lightweight and compact nature means it’s easy to fit it into your pack or car for any adventures you have planned. I have not been stung by a wasp or bitten by an ant to test it on those claims, but so far I’ve found it to be trustworthy and reliable.

I’ll be purchasing several more of these to dole out to friends and family, and this gear discovery alone is reason enough for me to say: please, please let us keep TikTok.

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