“ Brand: Spritex / Type: Insect Killer „
Spritex Insect Killer is the most popular (!) insecticide in Kenema. For this reason, I have numerous bottles of it in the house, bought both by me and for me, the latter as a slightly odd housewarming gift from our programme coordinator.
The packaging of this spray is amusing, not because it's that attractive (an evil black insect, lots of text, far too many different fonts as if you get bonus points for using all the ones on offer) but because it has some interesting translations on it. It is labelled as having origins in both Belgium and Holland (made in one, distributed in the other, it seems) but somehow along the way the language of choice has morphed into English, of a sorts. This spray is 'perfectly perfumed', boasts the scrawling script at the top, which while attractively alliterative is just an outright lie. This stuff stinks like nobody's business, and that's as good a place as any to start.
There are two ways to use this product, and the most common is to blanket spray your entire room with it, to kill 'cockroaches, ants, bedbugs, mosquitoes, flies, wasps, fleas, moths and other insects'. You are advised to spray for 3-5 seconds per 1000 cubic feet, which reeks of European involvement. Living in Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain has taught me that our continental neighbours favour floor space, not number of bedrooms, as the preferred way to describe property. I don't have a clue what 1000 cubic feet looks like but reading on I am told this aerosol should cover 80 average sized rooms and that 'excessive spraying is unnecessary and wasteful'. We'll come back to that point in a minute, but for now let's return to the smell. The instructions say to leave the room shut up for 10 minutes after spraying, but I have found that even after half an hour it is still rather potent, so I prefer to spray at night and then deal with the mess in the morning. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes the smell so vile, but the scent is very chemical, and almost like a cheap value brand disinfectant that they've flooded with fake scent. Except, with this one, their idea of 'perfectly perfumed' seems to be to use every scent there is, so it has a touch of pine, a touch of lavender and a touch of what stinks disturbingly of cow pat to it.
You get a veritable cloud of the stuff when you spray, and it's extremely cloying, filling your lungs even as you scuttle out of the room. I can't wait to get out of there, so it's not hard to see why insects would equally be legging it in the other direction at the faintest hint of a whiff of it. While I'm not a fan of household chemicals normally, preferring a more natural approach, that's not really an option here, and I take comfort in the knowledge that if it's doing that to my lungs, it must be literally pulverising the tiny pulmonary systems of the critters it's aimed at. It is so chemical and toxic, in fact, that the precautions also tell you to 'remove birds and fishbowls' before spraying, and to avoid direct application to food, plants and plastics...
I have found this insecticide to work extremely efficiently. I believe it has a two-pronged approach by keeping out any potential visitors and by disposing of any existing ones. It lingers, too, which means you might not want to be eating off your floors after using this, but I can cope with that if it means I don't always need to be watching where I'm stepping. The most recent time I sprayed I came into the parlour (silly African terminology) the next morning to find a single cockroach on the floor, flat on its back and looking very forlorn. My distress at seeing it (since I've never seen any, alive or dead, during the day and was therefore choosing to believe they didn't exist) was quickly abated by the fact that once again Spritex had done its stuff and dealt with the problem for me.
I mentioned earlier that there are two uses for this product. In addition to general, preventative spraying, you can also use it on specific insects in your line of vision, with one or two bursts enough to terminate them. I tried this on a spider (yes, I know, not an insect) because it was sitting in my sink, was larger than my hand, and was getting between me and my tooth brush. It was a feisty little thing, and it took more than a couple of bursts to get it, but eventually it admitted defeat and curled up into a chunky, brown, hairy ball, which got scooped up and flushed down the loo. I'm not sure how this would work on flying insects, given that anything with any agility could just zoom out of the spray's reach, but I've not seen anything inside since I started using this, so it doesn't really matter.
With respect to the packaging, the only important thing is that this is an aerosol spray. In all the times I have used it, the nozzle has never clogged, or needed readjusting. It randomly comes with two caps, and inner one and the main outer one, but I tend to dispose of the smaller one on opening, and haven't noticed any deterioration as a result of doing so. The spray comes out with a hiss and a hint of whiteness to it, so you can see where you're spraying but it's not like with sun tan lotion: it doesn't matter too terribly if you miss a spot as it wafts around getting into any corners you might not have targeted. To liven things up, I tend to write my name in it (akin to using sparklers for the exact same thing at this time of year) which seems to give enough coverage and spreads the spray out sufficiently too.
I would maintain that the claim one bottle will cover 80 rooms is a little over the top, but I do get a fair few goes out of these, even when spraying all the (inhabited) rooms in my (rather large) house. It doesn't last forever, but I find that spraying once a week keeps most things at bay, and I tend to do it at weekends just after I've had a good clean (as if you did it before hand, you'd likely just mop it all away). You can get a good gauge of how much you have left by shaking the can, as the stuff sloshes around inside quite noisily.
The active ingredient appears to be Tetramethrin, a fast-acting insecticide which works by attacking the insects' nervous systems. It's known for being quite toxic. Probably best not to drink the stuff, then.
I give this insecticide full marks because it does exactly what it claims, and there's not an insect left standing when I've had a whip round with this. It may be too toxic for some tastes, but it meets my needs perfectly. It lasts a long time, is easy to use (just spray and leave, no mixing or whipping required) and best of all costs under £1 a can.