Using Borax Powder to Kill Ants

borax to control ants

Whether they’ve found their way into your home after a heavy rain or because you missed cleaning up a few crumbs on the counter, ants are a pest that seem to immediately take over your home when they find a way inside. When you discover ants in your home, you want them gone right away. While you’ll find several ways to kill ants, if you’re looking for an effective solution, consider using borax.

The Difference Between Boric Acid and Borax


Image via Flickr by jkirkhart35

Although they’re both used as a pesticide, boric acid and borax do have some differences. Borax is a mineral mined from the ground. You can find it in cosmetics, toothpastes, soaps, weed killers, and it’s most often used as an alternative to harsh laundry detergents. After further processing, borax turns into boric acid. Whether you have borax or boric acid, it’s important to remember that you need to keep these products away from children and pets. Additionally, be careful when you’re using it because it might cause skin irritation.

Why Is Borax Lethal to Ants?

Although borax has a low toxicity rate for humans and other animals, it’s fatal for ants when they come in contact with it. When ants eat the borax bait, it interferes with their digestive system and eventually kills them. However, it’s not an immediate death. That’s because, for effective ant control, you need to eliminate the queen and the rest of the colony. Worker ants will consume the borax bait and bring it back to the colony for the other ants to eat.

Using Borax to Kill Ants

It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re thinking about using borax powder, ants aren’t attracted to it alone. In order to entice them to bring it back to the colony, you have to mix the borax with some of their favorite foods. The first step is figuring out where the ants are entering your home. The easiest way to find their entrance is to simply follow the trail of ants.

When ants find food, they leave behind a pheromone trail so that other ants in their colony can immediately locate the same food and bring it back to the nest. These trails are an ideal place to put your borax bait, but it’s even better if you can place the bait right in their entryway. That way, they’re not even coming inside your home.

Making Borax Ant Bait

Since all ants’ digestive systems work the same way no matter what species you’re dealing with, borax is an effective killer whether you have sugar ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, or almost any other type of ant in your home. The important thing to keep in mind is that you need a variety of liquid and solid baits.

Although it seems like ants will eat anything in sight, adult ants can’t digest solid foods and only eat liquids. On the other hand, larvae can process solid foods and turn it into a liquid that the queen will then eat. A variety of baits will make sure you eliminate the entire colony.

Liquid Borax Ant Bait Recipes

You’ll find several types of liquid borax ant bait recipes, so it helps to try out different options to see which one works better for the species of ant you’re dealing with. No matter which recipe you use, you’ll need some type of container to hold the bait. You can use a small plastic container, plastic lid, paper plate, or cotton ball. The only important part is to make sure the ants can easily get in and out of your bait holder.

One recipe you can try calls for a half cup of sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of borax, and 1.5 cups of warm water. Simply mix all the ingredients together until they’re blended, and place the bait in the trap for the ants to consume.

Another recipe to try, calls for three parts sugar for every one part borax. For example, if you use 1 cup of sugar you’ll need to mix it with one-third cup of borax. Blend these two ingredients together until you have no more lumps. Next, add enough water to turn the mixture into a thick paste. For the above example, about one-quarter cup of water will suffice. Finally, add about one-quarter cup of syrup to the mixture for a thick, sticky substance the ants can’t resist.

Solid Borax Ant Bait Recipe

For the solid borax ant recipe, you want to use the same 1-to-3 ratio mentioned in the liquid ant bait recipe. However, in this case, you’ll want to mix the borax with powdered sugar. As an example, if you use three-quarters of a cup of powdered sugar, you’ll want to combine it with one-quarter of a cup of borax. Then simply stir the ingredients together to make sure they’re completely mixed.

You can use the solid and liquids baits inside and outside, but if you use them in your garden, you need to make sure you put the mixture in a lid or other type of plastic container. Borax is also an herbicide, and it can kill your plants if you pour the mixture directly over them.

Using Borax to Kill Fire Ants

Fire ants are an invasive species that can cause plenty of issues if they decide to create a nest in your yard. Luckily, borax also effectively kills these colonies. Just keep in mind that you want to try to kill just the fire ants and not any indigenous ants. This is because if you kill every ant in your yard, you’re only leaving room for more fire ants to move in and take over the area.

Sparing the indigenous ants will help keep the ecosystem balanced. The easiest way to focus your borax baits for just fire ant consumption is to get a container of bait as close to the fire ant mound as safely possible. Then let the worker ants take care of the rest.

If you find ants in your home or yard, you now know how you can use borax to make liquid and solid baits to attract ants and ultimately kill the colony.


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