Jennifer Gere remembers well what inspired her and her husband to spend a decade developing CimexiShield, a topical spray they say is the world’s first and only lab-tested bed bug repellent.
“We were on vacation with our kids at a resort in Florida,” Gere said. “It was the middle of the night when we heard all this commotion outside. A woman was screaming that her kids were getting bit. We had no idea what was going on.”
What was going on was a bedbug infestation. Imagine going to bed at night and waking up with your body covered in bug bites. It’s the stuff of nightmares.
Gere was so bothered by her experience in Florida that she decided to start looking for something to take on trips that would protect her and her family from bedbugs. She quickly realized there was nothing.
“I started to think about how I could make something to do something about this,” she said.
Gere’s husband, Joe, knows a thing or two about bedbugs. His company in New Jersey, BedBug Chasers, utilizes special heaters he designed to rid homes and businesses of bed bugs.
“We realized that chemicals weren’t that effective against bedbugs any longer,” Joe said. “The only way to really kill them was with heat.”
At 122 degrees Fahrenheit, all stages of bedbugs die, according to Joe. With his heaters, Joe raises the temperature in a home or hotel room to 130 or 135 degrees and keeps it there for hours so there’s no chance of survival for any bedbugs in the house or room.
“Typically we arrive around 8:30 in the morning and we’re done with our treatment by 2 in the afternoon,” Joe said. “With cool down you can be back in your home by 4, unlike the traditional chemical process, which takes four to six weeks. This is one day.”
Bloodsucking bedbugs are formidable opponents. They have two sensors, one long-range and the other short-range. Their long-range sensors pick up on carbon dioxide, which is how they find where you are in your house or hotel room, by sensing your exhaled breath. Once they get in your general vicinity, a short-range heat sensor brings them directly to you.
“Heat plus carbon dioxide equals food,” Joe said. “It’s right out of the movie, Aliens.”
It gets worse. Bedbugs have an anesthesia in their saliva that prevents you from knowing you’re being bitten until it’s too late.
“Nobody wants to be bitten by a bedbug, that’s going to ruin your day,” Joe said.
After years of experimentation with different natural repellents, Jennifer and Joe came up with CimexiShield.
“It’s an oil-based product, all essential oils,” Joe said. “It’s like any other moisturizer. Rub it into your skin and now you’re fine.”
Jennifer said the main ingredient of CimexiShield is lemongrass, plus a proprietary blend of several other oils. As she developed her bedbug spray, Jennifer tested prototypes on herself, tapping into a constant supply of bedbugs from her husband’s work.
“I have to give Jen credit,” Joe said. “She was a trouper, not only going through years of trial and error but also constant exposure. Does this one bite me or not?”
Once she had arrived at a winning formula, Jennifer gave it to a third-party lab to be certified with blind testing on more than 100 people to make sure it was safe and effective. The certification was required by Amazon, where Joe and Jennifer are selling CimexiShield for $24.95 for a 2-ounce bottle.
The spray has two 5-star reviews so far, and Jennifer said sales are climbing every week.
“I’m just very excited about the whole thing,” she said. “It’s so nice to help people that are living in fear with anxiety.”