Zika

Citronella jewellery and mozzie-sucking air purifier: Anti-mozzie products set e-shops abuzz

Jewellery maker Trixie Khong has a line of jade necklaces and bracelets featuring filigree lockets that contain beads filled with citronella - a natural oil that repels mosquitoes.
Jewellery maker Trixie Khong has a line of jade necklaces and bracelets featuring filigree lockets that contain beads filled with citronella - a natural oil that repels mosquitoes.PHOTO: TRIXIE KHONG

Outbreak lights creative spark of young entrepreneurs who come up with innovative mozzie repellents

Mosquito-repelling jewellery, an air purifier that sucks and traps mosquitoes and a repellent created in a kitchen.

The Zika outbreak has driven up demand for anti-mosquito products, including some made in Singapore by young entrepreneurs.

Self-taught jewellery maker Trixie Khong, 27, designed a line of jade necklaces and bracelets featuring filigree lockets that contain beads filled with citronella - a natural oil that repels mosquitoes.

The beads can keep mosquitoes away for up to seven days, said Ms Khong, who launched the four designs on her e-commerce website By Invite Only in June.

"We found that people do not really take insect repellent out with them and we thought to fuse the two - fashion and the concept of safety," she added.

The items, which cost between $48 and $65 each, sold out quickly after the first locally transmitted case of Zika was reported on Aug 27. She is making more.

 

At skincare line Theo10, an insect repellent created by owner Theodore Khng has been selling out faster than he can have it made. A 130ml bottle of the repellent, which contains only natural ingredients, including carrot seed oil, costs $15.

"I used to sell 150 to 300 bottles a month. Now, I sell 300 bottles in half a day," said Mr Khng, 27, who first concocted his products on his kitchen table but now has a factory in Mandai that makes 600 bottles of the repellent a day.

There has been a rush for mosquito repellents and patches, with reports of people reselling them at higher prices than they retail for.

One photo on the Internet shows online marketplace Carousell advertising a box of 22 Tiger Balm mosquito repellent patches at $30 - nearly double its price in shops here.

On e-commerce site Qoo10, sales of anti-mosquito items rose 11.3 per cent the week after Aug 27.

These include new products like an air purifier that doubles as a mosquito catcher. The device's ultraviolet light attracts mosquitoes while the suction function traps the insects.

Online retailer Lazada, which created a page on its website just for anti-mosquito-related items, saw sales of these products rise 42 times over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, supermarkets and pharmacies like Cold Storage and Watsons said demand for anti- mosquito items is still high, with some outlets running out of stock.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-mozzie products set e-shops abuzz'. Print Edition | Subscribe