Borax has a long-running reputation as being lethal to quite a few different kinds of indoor and outdoor insects, including roaches and silverfish, and in a very family-, pet-, and earth-friendly way. Borax is especially known to be a very effective ant killer!
Borax (sometimes referred to as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate), is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s frequently used to make homemade laundry soap (remember 20 Mule Team Borax detergent booster?), and comes available in various forms, including paste, powder, paste, tablet, spray, and liquid.
Is borax the same as boric acid?
Borax and boric acid both contain the element boron and affect insects the same way. The major difference between them lies in their sources. Typically, borax is mined and refined from tourmaline, kernite, and colemanite, while boric acid is extracted from sassolite.
What happens to ants when they eat Borax?
When ants eat a borax bait, it wreaks havoc within their digestive systems and gradually kills them. They don’t stand a chance against it!
How long does it take for borax to kill ants?
Borax has a low toxicity rate for humans and pets, but it’s very fatal to ants once they consume it. Ants aren’t attracted to borax/boric acid alone, but it is odorless and can be combined with things ants do like to eat to create a bait.
Each ant who eats ant killer borax/boric acid bait will typically die within 24-48 hours.
But ants don’t just eat it. They’ll do all the work for you, too! Worker/forager ants also carry the bait back to their colony to share. And gradually, this feeding and sharing process will kill off the queen and her entire colony of ants, taking anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the colony.
Will sprinkling borax kill ants?
No. Unless ingested, borax won’t do anything to ants. Hence, the borax ant killer bait. You’ve got to trick them into eating it so it can do its job!
How do I get rid of ants in my lawn with borax?
First, you’ve got to find the ants. Look for ant mounds, ant trails, roaming ants, and possible points of entry into your home.
You can mix borax powder with confectioner’s sugar, and then sprinkle it around your lawn, yard, near ant mounds, ant trails, etc. You can also warm some honey and mix in borax powder, then drizzle the mixture in places where ants will find it. The boron in borax is a plant nutrient, but be careful, because too much borax applied directly to the ground can kill plants and grass.
If you want to avoid making a mess or killing your grass, you can purchase easy-and-ready-to-use borax ant killer bait stations, and place them 5 to 10 feet apart around your home, in your garden near ant trails, near entry points where ants may enter your home, etc.
When ants find food (or borax disguised as food), they leave a pheromone trail behind so other ants from their colony are able to find their score. Ant trails are ideal placement spots for the borax bait or bait stations, and the closer to your home, the better. If they find a food source, they will stay out of your home.
If you’re using bait stations, remember to eliminate other nearby food sources that ants might be attracted to first. Also remember, NOT to spray any insecticides near your bait placements or bait stations. You don’t want to prevent the foraging ants from getting to the bait. The goal is to get the ants to feed on the bait and take it back to the colony!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: I have had this Maggie’s Farm No Spill Ant Kill bait station out for 3 days and I still have ants. What is wrong?
A: If the ants are going to the station and eating the bait, nothing is wrong. It’s working as it should. There are times when ants start gradually disappearing within a few days, but more commonly a week or two can pass before you see a significant decline. It all depends on the size of the ant colony you are dealing with. We suggest you just stick with it.
Q: I was going to use No Spill Ant Kill for Fire ants in my kitchen, but then I saw it’s not for fire ants. Are my ants fire ants?
A: Borax can kill fire ants, but’s it’s not the best choice for them. Fire ants do not tend to come indoors to forage, so it is unlikely you are seeing fire ants in your kitchen. Send us a picture and we will happily help you identify the ant species!
Q: I have had these stations out for about 2 weeks and the ants are still coming, what am I doing wrong?
A: If they are still coming and eating the bait, it’s still working. You might be dealing with a larger colony which can take longer to eradicate. Keep it up! If you continue to have issues, please feel free to contact us.
Q: Do I put the stations with the hole facing up? I can’t find the box.
A: The stations are designed to be placed with the entrance/exit hole facing down.
What are your favorite ant kill hacks? We want to hear about them! Leave us a comment below!
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