Summertime: Top Seven Bug Killer Brands of All Time


Summertime. Time for bugs. Poison. Almost everyone can recall the boogie man, who came down American streets. My what fun it was to go run in the mist! What brand of poison did he spray. Surely, it was not DDT back in the 1970s.

That mix was largely unknown. But the brands used after World War II were well known, and advertised. Two of them, Shell No-Pest and Esso’s Flit, were products of oil companies.

Other top flying bug-busting brands include:

  1. Off!
    The S.C. Johnson product (I still call them Johnson Wax) is the tops in this category, though it did get a run in the 1980s from Cutter, now made by Spectrum Brands. I have to say, Off! gets the award for the most bug brand presence over the years. Classic. And it never kills the bug, just keeps them away. And because it is DEET, it isn’t dangerous, except to the conspiratorial.
  2. Shell’s No Pest Strip
    The yellow bug killer is long gone, but what memories. Did they ever really kill flies? Why was it designed to look like cheese? Why did it feel so good to touch, when it was SO BAD for you. Other Internet sites said it was taken off the market in 1979, though there is a replacement product that looks different (enclosed in plastic, not paper.) I for one, miss it. No, not the DDVP, but the idea that you could buy bug killers at the gas station. I guess it was the same era in which you were NOT allowed to touch the Hartz or Sergeant’s flea collars. Come to think of it weren’t some of those brightly colored?
  3. General Issue Insect Repellent. I am sure there was a brand of this, but for the life of me can’t recall, because the type was so small. It was a sort of oil, given out during war, and my guess it was sold in Army and Navy stores in Virginia in the 1970s, when they still sold snake bite kits and such. It came in a glass bottle, heavy, with a cork-lined top. Some of the repellent in the 1960s was made by Seaboard Manufacturing in Philadelphia. Love to have one of those little citronella bottles and smell that smell again.
  4. Flit
    This was the big brand of the 1950s. Quick Henry…The Flit was a famous commercial, even more famous because of the Dr. Seuss drawings in the advertising. Flit was made by Standard Oil’s Stanco.
  5. Black Flag
    This company founded in the early 1800s makes all sorts of bug killers, including the genius product, Roach Motel. They also were makers of TAT flypaper, but now it appears that their website sells the brand under the Black Flag brand.
  6. Pic Mosquito Coils
    Occasionally, one can find PIC mosquito coils at Dollar Tree. What fun in the summer, lighting those puppies, watching it burn round and round, playing with smoke, chasing away mosquitoes. Die bug die!
  7. Avon Skin-So-Soft
    Was it archaeologists who first became fans of this lotion that scared away mosquitoes? Whatever the origin, this was one of the more interest product re-use stories of the 1980s. Never mind that it didn’t work as well, or that there was always a certain kind of know-it-all person who used Skin-so-soft. The good news; Avon apparently has come out with a repellent product.

Love for some readers to help us out in telling us some other brands of “summer” bug destruction.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. Mosquito coils are very big here in Japan but I didn’t know they had them in the US. Here there are so many kinds of bug repellents it really boggles the mind. And they have many kinds like the Shell No Pest Strip and I think they use DDVP. The one I use is kind of like those Glade plug-in air fresheners and also comes in a battery powered unit.

  2. 6-12 Brand was also pretty common.

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