Iowa-based Bug Soother keeps insects at bay
A Columbus Junction company that produces an all-natural insect repellant has been deluged with orders this year after word spread of its effectiveness.
Nikki Salek, chief operating officer for Simply Soothing, which manufactures Bug Soother, barely had time for an interview because production has run nonstop since Memorial Day.
During the 2008 floods, Salek’s mother, Freda Sojka, sought to find a natural repellant for gnats. After doing some online research and playing around with ingredients, she developed Bug Soother. Sojka took the product to the home of Salek’s aunt, who lived along the Cedar River, and offered it to flood workers. The next day, their boss bought everything the business had produced.
“From there, it’s just grown every year and this year it just went crazy,” Salek said.
Although the product was formulated for gnats, it works on other insects. Lemongrass is one of the main ingredients.
The product, well-known through eastern Iowa, is now making its way into Illinois and the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets. Online orders are also coming in from other states.
The company expanded to a larger building shortly before the drought hit last summer and the numbers of pesky bugs dropped. Salek said stock produced last year sold out in six days this spring and retailers are now having trouble keeping up with demand.
Some clients have gone from wanting a few bottles to requesting 40 cases. Larger competitors are also having trouble keeping up, and customers who turned to Bug Soother are finding out how well it works… Read more →