What are Insect Growth Regulators?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Insect growth regulators, also known as IGRs, may effectively control the life cycle of many insects, including fleas, ticks, and roaches. When these regulators are used in areas where problem insects thrive, they can stunt the growth of the insects so that they never reach their adult stage. Insects that do not mature into adults cannot reproduce, which may drastically cut back on the overall bug population in a specific area because no eggs are lain. Many people find insect growth regulators very useful in their gardens, homes, and on their pets. These regulators are considered safe to use both indoors and outdoors and do not typically pose any threat to humans or animals.

Many types of insects, particularly fleas and roaches, are incredibly hard to get rid of once they become established in an area. This is because they tend to reach maturity quickly and lay a large number of eggs at one time. Houseflies are other bugs that rapidly reproduce. Many people use various other methods of insect control for dealing with these problem insects to no avail, and often must contact an exterminator to deal with the bugs, which can be very expensive. Insect growth regulators are usually more expensive than other types of over-the-counter insect control, but typically cost less than calling in an exterminator.


Most insect growth regulators come in spray form and are easy to apply. These regulators are typically odorless and should dry very quickly. For this reason, they can be sprayed almost anywhere in a person's home without fear of leaving any serious toxic chemical residue, which is a concern with many other types of insect spray. Many people spray insect growth regulators directly on their pets to help get rid of fleas and ticks. People who have problems with aphids, whiteflies, or other common garden pests can spray insect growth regulators directly on their plants.

One of the main downsides to using insect growth regulators may be that they have no effect on adult bugs, so these will likely continue to be a problem for a person until they die off. For this reason, many people like to mix their insect growth regulators with other types of bug spray that will kill adult bugs. These regulators are also not typically effective against other types of problem insects, such as spiders and scorpions, because they mature differently than bugs that go through a larval stage.


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