Early on, when I purchased a package of cockroach poison baits, they came with something called a sterilizer disc. This was a flat plastic disc containing a fabric pad and a glass vial of liquid inside. You pressed on the vial, it cracked, and the liquid soaked the pad.
According to the directions, the liquid was an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) called hydroprene and would cause cockroaches that came in contact with it to become sterile and not reproduce.
The idea of having some chemical capable of sterilizing bugs floating around my house (and my little girl) seemed like a bad idea. So, back then, I didn't use it.
But, I did some follow-up research as I prepared this report and discovered that hydroprene is a highly effective product which animal testing has shown to be very safe. Even at massive doses it produced no signs of birth defects, reproductive defects, cancer risks, or other ill effects on test animals.
In the United States, hydroprene is labeled for use as an aerosol fog, surface spray, or as an impregnated disc like the one I got (the disc-based option is best for home use.) It is approved for use in food storage and food preparation areas.
Hydroprene does not kill roaches. Instead, it disrupts their ability to reproduce. To be effective, you need to use it alongside the other cockroach elimination strategies we already discussed.
Young cockroaches get exposed to hydroprene which disrupts their ability to shed their exoskeleton or develop a new exoskeleton. This process is a critical step in the cockroach life cycle. If they can't shed their outer shell and grow a new one, cockroaches can't grow up and have babies. You get nothing but immature roaches running around and acting stupid (okay, I made up the stupid part.) But, slowing down the reproductive cycle is a huge bonus when trying to eliminate an infestation.
Use the impregnated disc IGR products. You can purchase them in bulk for a dollar or two each. They are easy to tuck into out of the way places and generally last for 2-3 months. Many have adhesives on the back so you can stick them in discrete locations.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the most effective placement of the IGR discs.
Hydroprene carries the lowest warning level allowed for pest control products: Caution (even Diatomaceous Earth labeled for pest control carries this warning.)
But do use caution. Specific formulations containing hydroprene can have other ingredients mixed in that have higher toxicity - so read the labels carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Had I read the research on hydroprene back when I was battling my infestation, I would have used IGR discs aggressively.