Field of Science

How not to design a fly killer

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Raid "Earth Options" Flying Insect Killer, the supposedly environment-friendly fly spray, is admittedly the worst designed fly killer I have come across until now. I doubt if even the manufacturers themselves knew what composition and materials they put in, and even if they did they don't seem to have actually tested it. For one thing, I don't know if it's because it's supposed to be benign, but its sheer potency is just lousy. You have to spray it directly on the fly, and more often than not the little critter ends up flying around before it suffers a direct hit, so that you mostly end up spraying everywhere else except on it. Even when it is hit, it usually struts around for a few random centimeters before finally falling dead, thus parading microscopic globs of the chemical all over the place. And in some death defying instances, I have even seen flies getting up, dusting themselves off as if nothing happened, and resuming their flying antics.

But the most annoying thing about Raid Earth Options is their aerosol composition, which is extremely poorly designed. The stuff does not perform even its basic function, to get finely aerosolized. I don't what exactly was circulating in the bloodstream of the chemist/engineer who designed it. When you spray the stuff, the particle size it produces is quite large, and so the droplets quickly drop like a stone on whatever surface is below. Because of this problem, not only does it not hang around long enough in the fly's flying space, but one can never use it on tubelights, where flies usually sit, because usually the tubelights are right above your desk and everything on it. The first few times I used it, I had to discard some papers on my desk, clean up the whole surface, and yes, throw away a box of cookies that was actually sitting quite far from where I sprayed the fly killer. I don't think environment-friendly means you can use it as hot sauce for your fried rice.

This problem dictates that to avoid a thin and pretty long-lasting coating on everything in my room, I always lure the fly into a bathroom by turning off all lights except the one there, and then turn the whole bathroom atmosphere into a Raid fest. And don't even think of using it anywhere in your kitchen. Plus, the smell is not exactly enticing, for humans and flies. Dismal. Others seem to agree.

S.C. Johnson and Co., for all those heartwarming commercials that portray three generations of dedicated product manufacturers, shame on you for selling us Raid Earth Options. I do like your Ziploc and Saran Wrap.


  1. This series has not yet been on-shelf in China mainland.

  2. My recommendation: Don't use it even when it gets there!


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