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VAMA Inc., of Keokuk and San Mateo, Calif., is on the front line of the never-ending battle against bugs around the globe and in the Tri-State Area.

Using special mixtures and blends of natural plant-based oils and extracts, VAMA’s products take on bed bugs, honeybee mites, mosquitoes and many more insects that make life miserable for everyone.

Krishna Prasad Sudhir Nair, called Sudhir, is the chief scientist behind the multiple products intended for manufacture in Keokuk.

Ankur Jain, CEO of VAMA, does the marketing development, financial strategy, technology and other corporate chores.

“We are looking for a manufacturing unit in Keokuk,” Sudhir said. “We’ve been out at Kindustry Park and other places. We hope to make a deal.”

Sudhir wants a lease-to-buy arrangement if possible, where he can manufacture/bottle/package his products.

The men originally were attracted to Keokuk by Dr. Ravi Pottathil, who also has been working on setting up a business in Keokuk.

Ravi introduced the men to Steve Bisenius, executive director of the Lee County Economic Development Group. Bisenius has been working steadily with VAMA in its startup journey.

“Steve motivated us to invest here,” Sudhir said.

The area is ideal for VAMA Inc. The men have been in close contact with Dadant Beekeeping Supplies in Hamilton, Ill., and are working closely with Iowa State University in the entomology lab in Ames.

The work is vital for agriculture. Honeybee mites along with other environmental concerns are devastating honeybees, which not only make honey, but pollinate crops, trees, flowers and many other necessary plants.

“We are going through a few trials (testing product on honeybee mites) for Dadant’s and we will supply through them,” Sudhir said.

The product Sudhir is developing is a type of flypaper-like-strip that is not toxic to bees, but adversely affects honeybee mites. The strips are made with non-toxic essential oils and will hang in beehives.

Bugs, prevention and treatment

Sudhir and Jain had just finished a bedbug meeting Monday with interested parties in Burlington.

VAMA Bed Bug Solution is offered as a service by contract through real estate businesses, hospital suppliers, movie theaters, airlines and many more.

“Everyone is using highly-toxic stuff that bugs are becoming resistant to,” Sudhir said. “We are developing essential oils and herbal-based solutions that are safe and natural.”

Bed Bug Solution makes the environment inhospitable for bedbugs, preventing the formation of infestations, according to Sudhir. The formulation blocks receptors rather than penetrating cells, a difference that means there is no way the bugs can develop resistance.

VAMA’s mosquito product is going through the Environmental Protection Agency for production/sales permission.

Sudhir said that in addition to being 100 percent natural, non-toxic and biodegradable, the solution is child and pet safe.

Sudhir is a retired colonel from the Indian Army in India.

“While fighting insurgents, and they all happen to be in jungles, I had a friend go in on an operation,” Sudhir said. “Two men were killed by mosquitoes. I decided I would make something to kill mosquitoes.”

After leaving the army in 2006, he set up a laboratory using essential oils and herbal extracts and studying their effects on insects. He has formulations in several stages of development.

“It was about two years ago that they were called by the city council of a suburb of Mumbai (India) to tackle an infestation of Dengue Fever,” Bisenius said. “The city council had tried numerous things, but were not able to stop the spread. They called in Sudhir and his team and within five weeks they had eradicated the infestation.”

Jain is an astrophysicist – doctorate level, and his specialty is space-based cameras. He has a bachelor’d degree in computer science, a master’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA from Wharton School of Business.

Source: The Daily Gate City