I miss the good old days.
You know, back when Dirty Harry called criminals “creeps” instead of “suspects”, when skim milk had never been thought of, when you could buy hamburgers with beetroot, and when you could walk into a supermarket and buy a can of Pea Beu Tri-Kill
This stuff was quite simply the most potent fly spray ever to hit the Australian market. It was a direct competitor to the Mortein Fast Knockdown (in the red can). Although it never outperformed Mortein in terms of sales, it certainly outperformed Mortein in terms of its insect killing ability.
The reason for this was not just its insecticides.
Firstly, it was solvent-based, like the Mortein, but unlike every fly spray today (except for the Mortein FK) which are water based. Being solvent based the Tri-Kill vaporised into smaller droplets as it was sprayed into the air (flash vapourisation), resulting in many many smaller droplets of insecticide than you’d get with a modern spray. Also the tinier droplets go further as they aren’t as heavy.
Secondly, the Tri-Kill had a spray rate that not even Mortein could match. Whereas Mortein had a spray rate of about 2.8 g per second, and no fly spray before or since has ever delivered more than 3 g per second, the Tri Kill produced a whacking 3.6 g per second !!
It’s the kind of fly spray dirty Harry would use. You pressed the button and ka – wooshka!! When you pressed the button you could actually feel a recoil!
It achieved such a high spray rate by using propane as its propellant.
Yes, that’s right – its propellant was pure propane!!
I can just see the marketing meeting now..
“here you go, here’s what’s going to knock Mortein off its perch”
“Tri-Kill huh? What’s it like?”
“Have a squirt…”
“Yeow!! It almost took my hand off!!”
“Yeah – good stuff in’t it?”
“What’s in it?”
“Oh, you know – propane”
“Propane? Isn’t that a bit dangerous..?”
“Have another squirt..”
“Ah yeah – I see what you mean. Well, I guess propane isn’t that dangerous is it?”
Consequently, it would stop flies (and roaches and spiders) in their tracks, quicker than anything before and certainly much quicker than anything since.
Much to no one’s surprise, of course, it was a flamethrower, and there were several anecdotal stories of it causing housefires!
And so when Reckitt and Colman acquired the product from Ciba-Geigy in the mid-1980s, they pulled it off the market immediately due to safety considerations.
Those of us who were working in the industry at the time grabbed as many cans of it as we could, but of course they eventually ran out.
I sure miss it.
But I don’t think the flies do…