Yves Nommay may shock some customers with his sales pitch: placing cockroaches and ants in a plexi-glass box where they then totter and die.
But the 100 percent natural insecticide paint and gel that Nommay distributes has to be seen in action to be believed. And Nommay, general manager for Kats Cambodia, uses the plexi-glass demonstration to drive home his message.
“Most of the people smile and feel like something is different and are surprised…. It changes the whole discussion when they see the ants and cockroaches dying. They see that it works,” he said at his office in Tuol Kok district.
“Some people just say, ‘It’s OK. I believe you that it works,’” Nommay said of Insect Killer Gel and Paint, which debuted commercially in September within Cambodia.
The product, made by the French firm Xylobell, debuted in Europe 10 years ago and contains an all-natural combination of chrysanthemum extract, citric acid, geranium extract and coconut oil, according to Nommay.
Nommay said he discovered the product when he worked for Doctors Without Borders in 2006 during the severe dengue fever outbreak in Cambodia that year.
Doctors needed a way to stop tiger mosquitoes from spreading the disease in hospitals, and they turned to the French product, he said.
So impressed was he with the results, Nommay purchased the distribution rights, and Cambodia is one of the first countries in Asia to market the product.
One of Nommay’s competitors, Hean Vanhan, a technical adviser for Cambodian Pest Control Service, said there is not much room in the local market for more insect exterminators.
Private homes, restaurants and other businesses often hire individuals armed with cans of bug spray to rid their homes and businesses of insects, he said.
“They have very cheap prices because they are not so interested in the safety and environment,” Hean Vanhan said. Cambodian PCS mainly focuses on exterminations for exported goods and containers, he said.
Nommay, however, said that many businesses have discovered bug spray to be an ineffective long-term deterrent.
One of Nommay’s customers, Giorgio Arcasi, owner of Pop Café Da Giorgio on Sisowath Quay, said weekly spraying of insecticide and obsessive cleaning didn’t stop the occasional appearance of cockroaches. But since the applications of Insect Killer, there has been a difference, Arcasi said.
“I am very satisfied. Of course it is a bit early to put a definitive word on it, but so far so good,” he said.