Sterling awarded grant to develop mosquito repellent

Right on the heels of our big announcement last month about the new W-H-Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets, there is another exciting development in the works from Sterling International, creators of RESCUE! Pest Control products.

Here is the news we're releasing today:

Sterling International awarded Defense Department grant for mosquito repellent research

Mosquito_usda_imageSPOKANE, WA, June 11, 2008 -- Ever feel like a human mosquito magnet when you want to enjoy the outdoors? Within a few years, you may be able to pin a small device to your clothing that creates a long-lasting "force field" and prevents mosquitoes from ever landing on you.

Sterling International, the manufacturer of RESCUE! traps for yellowjackets, flies and Japanese beetles, has been awarded a Phase II grant of $730,000 from the United States Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) to develop a spatial repellent for mosquitoes.

In contrast to a topical repellent which is sprayed or rubbed on skin, a spatial repellent is a compound that dispenses into the atmosphere of a three-dimensional area. It creates an invisible barrier that inhibits the ability of an insect to locate and land on a target, such as humans or livestock.

Sterling's Phase I proposal, approved with a $70,000 grant in 2007, was to develop a lightweight, waterproof and portable "Personal Insect Repellent Device" impregnated with a spatial repellent. The device can be attached to a soldier's field uniform to provide long-lasting, whole-body protection against bites from insect disease vectors (mosquitoes and biting flies) and other biting arthropods (e.g. ticks) for at least one month of continuous use.

Sterling's work in Phase I, which concluded in April of this year, showed enough scientific evidence to support the feasibility of the spatial repellent concept, and enough merit to take the project to the next level with the larger SBIR grant. Sterling's scientists, led by Dr. Qing-He Zhang, found a number of potential repellent formulas -- all from natural materials -- and came up with a releasing device concept and prototype.

The Phase II objectives involve formulating the most promising insect repellent mixtures discovered in Phase I, determining the optimal release rate, designing and testing several prototype devices, and manufacturing enough prototypes for field evaluations by the military.

Phase II work will commence on October 1, 2008 and span two years. Sterling is adding a third Ph.D. scientist -- another chemist -- to its seven-person R&D Department to help with this project.

Sterling's plans are to eventually make the personal insect repellent product available to consumers. "A small, wearable device that keeps mosquitoes from landing on humans and lasts an entire month obviously has strong commercial potential beyond use in the military," says Rod Schneidmiller, founder and president of Sterling International. "Outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy camping, hiking and hunting will have a need for this product, as well as people who are exposed to vector-borne diseases in developing countries."

Since 1982, Sterling International, Inc. has created insect traps and attractants as a safe and environmentally responsible alternative to sprays. Based in Spokane, Washington, the company sells its RESCUE! Fly Traps, Yellowjacket Traps and Japanese & Oriental Beetle Traps to consumers through home improvement centers, hardware stores and lawn & garden retailers throughout the U.S. and beyond. The newest RESCUE! product, available spring 2009, is the W-H-Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets.


A long-lasting mosquito repellent that you pin onto your clothing rather than a lotion or spray, which can wash off your skin easily. Pretty cool, no? Tell us what you think by posting a comment!