Termite Control Using Growth Regulation (IGRs)

There are several brands of termite control products that contain insect growth regulators. Each of them is a system of monitor and bait. They have different active ingredients and different stations, but their principles are very similar.

At the time of installation, the system consists of stations that contain un–treated wood. The wood is a way to monitor termite activity. The stations are installed in the ground around a home or building. They are spaced in order to increase the chances that termites will find them. They are also placed in areas where termites are likely to go, like near woodpiles and shady areas.

The stations are checked regularly. When termites attack a station, a termite bait device is inserted into the station. The bait device is made of cellulose that has been treated with an insect growth regulator. The termites eat the treated cellulose and take it back to the colony. They share it with their nest mates as if it were their usual food.

Inside the termite’s body, the growth regulator prevents the development of a chemical called chitin. Chitin is the basic material of the termite’s outer shell, called the exoskeleton. As termites grow, they form a new exoskeleton periodically. They shed the old exoskeleton when the new one is formed. This process is called molting.

The insect growth regulator does not affect the termite until the next molt. The growth regulator prevents the termite from forming a new exoskeleton, so it is unable to molt and it dies.

Termite colonies have thousands of immature termites. Scientists have found that insect growth regulator is a very effective way to reduce the number of termites in a colony. In many tests, the system eliminated the entire termite colony.

Since the stations are installed in the ground, there is little chance of people or pets coming in contact with the insect growth regulator. Scientists have found that only insects and animals that have an exoskeleton have chitin in their bodies. Because of this, the insect growth regulator has almost no effect on humans who might accidentally be exposed to it.

The systems for termite control using growth regulation are available from many pest control professionals. In some situations, the system is combined with a liquid termiticide application. In many cases, the system of monitors and bait is used alone to control termites or prevent them from invading a home.