Jay grew up in Kenya and had his first brush with mosquito-borne diseases while still in the womb! His mother contracted Cerebral Malaria whilst pregnant, and both of them were incredibly lucky to survive. After a childhood spent in Kenya, Seychelles and Botswana, Jay was understandably affected by wanderlust and abandoned a not-very-promising career in Engineering to spend two years backpacking around the World. During his travels in Vanuatu (earning money as the world’s worst windsurfing instructor) Jay contracted suspected Dengue fever twice and was briefly hospitalised the second time. He then spent ten years as a travel consultant with Trailfinders just so he could keep travelling as much as possible. After a further ten years in Australia (one episode of Ross River Fever and various jobs – all best forgotten) raising a young family with his wife Dawn, he moved back to the UK.
No Mozzie was born out of Jay’s passion for travel and a strong desire to avoid any more mosquito-borne mischief. An early observation that flying insects have a strong dislike of oil started him thinking along the lines of an anhydrous formula (no water) rather than a cheap emulsion in which oil is mixed with water and alcohol. Looking into the numerous “ethno botanical” extracts and oils that have for many decades been associated with insect repellency led Jay to produce a first formulation that seemed to work well in the field. However, the initial independent test of that formula did not demonstrate the high level of repellency that he wanted to achieve, so he had to find an additional active ingredient to give it the boost it needed to compete.
There are many active existing synthetic ingredients to choose from – all with catchy names: N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), Picaridin, Ethyl Butylacetylaminopropionate (IR3535), (Z,E)-tetradeca-9,12-dienyl acetate and others, of which DEET is probably the best known and most effective. DEET had made an impact on Jay years ago when he accidentally sprayed it on his plastic watch, and then watched as it began to dissolve. That observation, combined with its obvious synthetic nature, made him keen to pursue other, safe, active ingredients. The new kid on the block in the natural world of active ingredients is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or PMD Rich Botanic Oil, and when combined with the other ingredients in the existing formulation, No Mozzie really began to take off.
A couple of years later, after many tweaks to the concentrations, and a few more “field trips” (i.e tropical holiday jollies), No Mozzie “Formula 3” (initially named after the three ingredient groups) was independently tested as being effective at preventing bites for around 6 hours.