My Favorite Hack in the War Against Insect Pests

If you’ve ever had a flea infestation, you can understand why I have put so much effort into researching how to combat them. I’ve had two infestations — one major and one minor. The second one was minor because I recognized the symptoms early. I swore to NEVER have another!

If you’ve ever had a flea infestation, you can understand why I have put so much effort into researching how to combat them. This hack is also effective against other insect pests. Learn about insect growth regulator.

If you don't like using pesticides on your pets, you are really going to like this hack! #fleas #cats #dogs #pets Click To Tweet

Insect Growth Regulators

Studies at places like Kansas State University show that natural remedies like ultrasonic devices and brewers’ yeast, garlic, B-complex vitamins and elemental sulfur products are not effective flea repellents, and they certainly don’t kill fleas. The best flea control contains both a pesticide to kill adult fleas and an insect growth regulator (IGR) to prevent them from reproducing. The IGR is the Plus in Frontline and the II in Advantage. Although the IGR chemicals are extremely effective on insects, they are completely harmless to mammals.

Insect growth regulators are chemicals that interrupt the life cycle of pests. As an insect grows, it molts. IGRs prevent an insect from reaching maturity by interfering with the molting process. To me, this is the most important part of preventing an infestation. You can kill fleas all day and night but an adult female can lay hundreds of eggs a day. As long as you have adults laying eggs, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Insect growth regulators work on other insect pests including flies, mosquitoes, roaches and ants. Click To Tweet

Other Uses for Insect Growth Regulators

I have to admit that a reader of this blog turned me on to being able to buy insect growth regulator. I haven’t had a flea infestation since I learned about this product but, after researching it and finding it is also effective on flies, I started using it to combat flies in our horse stalls. It has worked great and is so much more cost effective than other methods we have used.

For the first two years I lived here, I had ants every summer. I started spraying around my house and patio two years ago and haven’t seen an ant since.

It is also effective for long-term control of roaches, mosquitoes, gnats, crickets and litter beetles!

How to Use Insect Growth Regulator

I buy a 4 oz bottle of this IGR which is highly concentrated. I dilute 1 oz in a gallon of water and use a 1 gallon sprayer to disperse it. The bottle does the measuring. A 4 oz bottle will treat up to 6,000 square feet! In many instances, it is good for up to seven months. How much you use and how often will depend on the actual application.

It is safe to use both indoors and outdoors, just be sure to follow all instructions. I spray around my baseboards, my windows and anyplace else I think insects might come into the house. I spray my deck and all the way around the outside of my house. I’ve noticed a significant reduction in flies and mosquitoes.

Although IGRs are labeled “reduced risk” by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning that they produce less risk for beneficial insects, I am careful NOT to spray near my vegetable garden or any plants that attract bees.

Insect growth regulator is a highly effective and inexpensive preventative measure to use for control of lots of pesky things!

Have you used this type of insect growth regulator? I’d love to hear about your experience with it in the comments. If you haven’t used one, does it sound like something you might want to try?

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If you’ve ever had a flea infestation, you can understand why I have put so much effort into researching how to combat them. This hack is also effective against other insect pests. Learn about insect growth regulator.


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  1. Pingback: Can Spring Come Soon Enough? - Christy Paws

  2. Pingback: Save Money Treating Fleas with Revolution - Savvy Pet Care

  3. We have never had fleas in our current house and yard, but I know what a nightmare an infestation can bring. I will save this for when I need it since I am so cautious about using anything that can harm my kitties. Loved this post, thanks for this!

  4. We didn’t know ou were still bloggin’ after Christy paws. We’ve been signed up to receive emails from this site fur a while, but we’ve never gotten any??. Anyways, we didn’t know you could buy IGR by itself, that’s great mews. Fanks fur the info. big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

  5. I have been lucky enough to never of had fleas on my own pets. I have had ticks though! I use Wondercide, a great all natural flea and tick preventative. I like the one with peppermint oil in it!

  6. Very interesting. I’ve only had one major flea infestation and it was with an indoor cat. Unfortunately, she had to be treated at the vet and we had to have the house fumigated while we stayed away all day. I’ve had some problems recently with ants getting into the house and have wondered what I could use that was safe for the cats.

  7. That makes so much sense. Isn’t that something like what they use in the tropics to control mosquitoes too? Neuter the bastards. Perfect idea 🙂

  8. THANK YOU!!! When we moved into our farmhouse, in November, the number of flies was INSANE. Since then, my husband has sealed up the windows, and screened the soffits. We will definitely try this solution. We’ll also spray the porches to reduce mosquitos.

  9. So interesting! I had not heard of this…thankfully, we do not nor have not had a flea issue here and the Advantix II seems to be doing the job, but I am very interested in this now and am Pinning to my Bark About board to save and to share. Thank you!

  10. So interesting! I did not know how Advantix 11 and Frontline Plus worked with the growth regulator exactly. I have tried those brands as we had an emergency flea issue last year and almost again this year. This is a great option. I plan more research. Thanks.

  11. I have not used an IGR that I know of. We do use an exterminator service who lays an exterior barrier around our house and checks on pack rat activity levels. Next time the guy is here, I’m going to ask him about IGRs. See if that’s part of his service.

  12. I currently don’t have pets so no worries about fleas this time around. However reading about IGRs is brand new to me. Interesting post. I may have to try this around my home. I’m so not a fan of little critters, especially insects.

  13. I am always worried about the use of pesticides on pets because a lot of pets have a bad reaction to some of those products. But as much as I researched, IGR seems to be fine and harmless for the pets. Luckly, we didn’t have a flea infestation yet. Hopefully we never will 🙂

    • Even though I haven’t had a flea infestation in years, I still use IGR for flies, mosquitoes and ants. This also insures no fleas!

  14. I never knew about this. It seems like something that would be useful around our house. We had a flea infestation that our cat barely survived. It was a nightmare, so like you, I say “never again!”

    • I knew about IGRs in spot-on flea control for pets but not in this form. I detest bugs and it has really been helpful in getting rid of them.

  15. Wow! Growth regulators seem so much more effective than repellents. Why aren’t these being promoted more? I’ll have to try it. Thanks for the info.

  16. I keep the cats on Advantage II except for the depth of winter. I am interested in this stuff if it reduces skeeters and ticks. These are horrible around my house. Ants too at certain times of the year. I really hate bugs.

    • I hate bugs, too! It definitely works on mosquitoes and ants but I don’t know about ticks. It doesn’t mention them. Ticks are arthropods, not insects, so I don’t think it works on them.

  17. A growth regulator is a totally new thing for us and so interesting. Another vital weapon in the war against fleas!

    • Insect growth regulators are in Frontline Plus and Advantage II and probably others I’m not as familiar with. I never knew, however, that you could purchase it like this for “bulk” use. It makes such a difference in the fly and mosquito population!

  18. IGRs are a must when it comes to battling insects, especially fleas! I am a veterinary technician and this is one of the things that we stress to clients when it comes to flea treatment for the home and environment. Without it, you’d be fighting a never-ending battle! 🙂

  19. Tenacious Little Terrier

    I haven’t tried this but worth considering! Mr. N is on a flea preventative but I swear he attracts bugs. He’s allergic so flea eradication is worth it!

  20. Thankfully we do not have many issues like this but it is good to know the options – thank you!

  21. I live in a tiny studio so what I use all the time is Apple Cider Vinegar and swear by it, I spray everything with it and I always pour some at the bottom of my garbage bin and compost bin, works wonders

  22. I have never used this, but I’m absolutely going to try it! We get tiny ants in our kitchen that seem to come in from outside and along the baseboards. We also have tons of flies at certain times of the year that, with dogs coming inside and out all day, are very annoying!! Thank you so much for the great information!

  23. Interesting. We have used Borax before to dry out flea eggs, but not any sort of growth regulator.

  24. Pingback: Flea Control - What to do if You have an Infestation - Savvy Pet Care

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