Ants! These common pests can quickly become a menace, with well-developed ant colonies being able to cause extensive structural and economical damage if unchecked. Observing them can be a fun activity and you could even learn a thing or two from their level of organization.
But when they infiltrate your living area, you must take action. Ants can enter your home through different spaces such as cracks, windows, and doors, and you’ll most likely come across them after a heavy downpour. So whether they’re in your garden or picking up crumbs on the counter, you need to act fast to get rid of them. That’s because they reproduce fast and can become a large colony within a couple of days.
If you’ve experimented with some store-bought ant traps in the past without any success, that’s because they’re mainly designed to kill the worker ants that get to them. But there’s one commonly recommended solution for ant infestations you probably haven’t tried – BORAX.
But does Borax work?
In this guide, you’ll learn what borax is and why it’s considered one of the most effective and inexpensive fixes for ant invasions. And if you stick around until the end, we’ve included some really cool DIY tips to help you get rid of ants using borax.
What Is Borax?
Borax has been in use for ages all around the world. It is a naturally occurring mineral first discovered in Kashmir and Tibet. Today, however, Southern California accounts for much of its supply.
Borax can be called several things, including disodium tetraborate, sodium borate, or sodium tetraborate. It is a boron compound and is used in different ways. You’ll find it in mouthwash, disinfectants, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, detergents, and several other items in the home. It’s also contained in glass and pottery glazes, as well as some welding industry materials.
Despite its being common, however, the compound isn’t entirely safe and could lead to irritation of the eyes or skin in the event of prolonged exposure.
Is Borax the Same as Boric Acid?
Most people tend to confuse borax with boric acid but they are two different formulations of the same compound (boron) and, therefore, have some differences.
The most glaring one has to do with how they are both sourced. Borax is mined straight from the ground as a mineral, while boric acid is obtained from processing and refining borax. It is created by combining borax with other minerals like colemanite and boracite. So, in all actuality, there’d be no boric acid without borax.
Boric acid, also called orthoboric acid, boracic acid, or hydrogen borate, is mostly found in antiseptics and insecticides, and also functions as a neutron absorber and flame-retardant. In its mineral form, boric acid is called sassolite
When it comes to killing ants, both boric acid and borax work quite well and may be used as substitutes for each other. So if you find that your borax bait isn’t attracting the ants in your home, you can switch to a boric acid bait.
Both borax and boric acid aren’t that dangerous when handled but can be toxic if ingested. That’s why you’ll find any product containing either compound labeled for external use only. So regardless of which of the two substances you decide to use, always exercise caution and keep the products out of the reach of kids and pets.
Does Borax Kill Ants?
Yes, it does! Ants don’t stand any chance against borax because of its devastating effect on their bodies. The substance isn’t that toxic for humans but it will kill every single species of ants that you’re likely to find in your home, including fire ants, carpenter ants, and sugar ants.
Borax powder is a very effective ingredient that should help get rid of all the ants in your house within a short while, and without you having to do so much. It’s also not as expensive as some other ant baits and could already be lying around somewhere in your home.
How Does Borax Kill Ants?
To help you understand how borax works to eliminate these pests, you need to dive a little bit into the biology and social structure of ants. They exist in colonies that have different ants performing different roles. The ant queen is responsible for laying eggs but there are also the workers and reproductives. The worker ants are tasked with searching for food and are most likely the ones that invade your house.
Borax may not be very harmful to humans and pets, but it’s lethal for ants. The substance wreaks havoc within the digestive systems of ants when they ingest it, killing them eventually.
But the effect of borax isn’t immediate. It acts slowly enough to give the worker ants sufficient time to return to the colony and spread the poison. And as the other ants along with their queen ingest it, they die gradually.
How Long Does It Take For Borax To Kill Ants?
As earlier mentioned, borax isn’t that toxic to humans and pets but it will kill all ant species. So long as you use the right bait containing their favorite foods, you should see results in no time.
It typically takes anywhere from 24-72 hours for an ant to die after ingesting borax. That timeframe works to your advantage because it gives the ants ample time to help you do all the work. After eating it, the forager ants also head back to the colony where they share the bait with other ants. This process of feeding and sharing, although gradual, eventually eliminates the entire colony, including the queen.
How long it takes to wipe out the entire colony using borax will depend on its size. So expect the process to take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. Waiting it out and achieving great results from applying the borax solution requires patience and persistence.
But getting rid of ants entirely and preventing an invasion doesn’t end with only one application of borax. You’ll have to keep reapplying your borax bait in different areas of your home and try to remove any possible attraction sources (like open food and water) in order to eliminate all ant trails for good. On a general note, you should start to see the effects within 2-3 days.
How To Kill Ants With Borax
Keep in mind that ants are not attracted to borax when used alone. To entice and have them carry it back to the colony, you have to mix the compound with bait. The bait in this instance has to be one or more of their favorite foods. It could be some savory kitchen items like almond/peanut butter or sweet stuff like sugar, jam, or honey. Sprinkling borax isn’t enough, so you have to trick the ants into eating the bait for it to work.
Killing ants with borax requires more than just applying baits. It’s a whole process that must get right from start to finish. Here are 3 crucial steps to follow when preparing to kill ants with borax:
- Identify what ant species you’re dealing with
You’ll need to mix borax with some attractants in order to entice the ants. But all baits won’t produce the same results because some ant species are attracted to solid borax baits while other species prefer liquid baits. So find out what kind of ant species you’re dealing with and the kinds of foods they prefer before choosing your baiting technique.
- Choose between a store-bought bait or a DIY borax bait
Store-bought ant traps are marketed by brands that have carried out research and lab tests to come up with highly effective baits, but you can DIY as well. Creating your homemade borax bait isn’t expensive and is super easy. However, if you’re hell-bent on getting the most optimum results, store-bought ant traps might be best for you.
Consider using multiple types of baits (liquid and solid) to determine which one yields the best results. Adult ants are known to prefer liquid baits while larvae have the ability to break down solid foods into a liquid form to be fed to the queen eventually.
- Use the borax bait correctly
You want to place the borax ant bait correctly to boost your chances of getting great results. Begin by figuring out what entry points the ants use to gain access into your home. Once you find their entryway, you can then follow their trail. That’s because ants leave behind a pheromone trail whenever they locate a food source so that other ants can follow it to bring food back to the nest.
Trails are ideal placement spots for borax baits, but you can also find their entryway and place the bait right there. This should keep them from even entering your house in the first place.
If you’ve got ants roaming in your lawn, you can also get rid of them with borax by looking for trails and mounds. But be careful not to apply excessive amounts of borax to the ground directly because it can kill the grass and plants. Instead, place the mixture on container lids and set them in your garden or lawn.
Creating Your DIY Borax Ant Killer
Ants possess digestive systems that work the same way regardless of what type you’re looking to get rid of. So borax will be effective no matter what species it is. You’ll need some type of container regardless of what type of bait you decide to use. It could be a cotton ball, paper plate, plastic lid, or small plastic container, but make sure it’s something that the ants can access with ease.
Now, you have to decide what kind of bait mix you intend to prepare. It’s okay to try out a wide range of options to determine what works best for the species you want to get rid of. Below are some DIY homemade borax ant killer recipes.
Borax and peanut butter bait
Mix two tablespoons of borax with one tablespoon of peanut butter and put it inside a container with a lid. Next, punch a few holes on the lid and set the bait near the ant nest. This should help keep your children or pets from getting to the bait.
Borax and sugar bait
To prepare a liquid borax sugar bait, you’ll need to mix 1½ tablespoons of borax, 1½ cups of warm water, and 1½ cups of sugar. Once blended, simply soak in cotton balls, place the mixture into a container, and set it near the ant entry points or nests.
Alternatively, you can also mix one part of borax with three parts of sugar and blend them thoroughly. Then add about ¼ cup of syrup and water sufficient enough to form a thick, sticky substance.
For a solid borax sugar bait, use the same 1:3 ratio above without adding any liquid. Simply stir one part of borax and three parts of sugar together to ensure a fine mixture. Then sprinkle the powder near the ant trails and nests.
Borax and honey bait
This recipe requires you to prepare a gel-like mixture using ¼ cup of borax and ½ cup of honey mixed in some boiling water and stir until it forms a thick paste. Next, put the paste on a lid and set it near the trails and nests.
Finally – Is Borax Safe For Children And Pets?
Borax is very effective against all kinds of ant species. So if it has what it takes to eliminate ants, then humans and pets would be wrong to consider it totally harmless. With that in mind, exercise caution when using borax.
It may be mildly toxic for both pets and kids but that doesn’t mean it is entirely safe for indoor use, which is why we recommend placing your borax bait outside. Use masks and other safety gear while working with borax at home and keep it out of the reach of children and pets as a safety precaution. I hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on how to get rid of ants using borax and you get back to a pest free home!