How To Get Rid Of Ants with Borax

Do you have ants in your home? Are you looking to use an all-natural alternative to getting rid of ants? Or do you prefer a  DIY option to get rid of ants? 

You’re in luck. In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about borax for ants and how to get rid of ants using borax. 

Lets’ get started. 

Borax vs. Boric Acid

Borax and boric acid are often used interchangeably with one another. While they are both contain borate and they are both naturally occurring, they are not the same.

Borax and boric acid each have unique characteristics.

They are both naturally occurring in the environment.

Borax occurs naturally after the repeated evaporation of lakes.

It’s commonly found in California, Utah, other Southern U.S states with lakes, and the Chilean and Bolivian deserts.

Here borax is a mineral that is mined from the ground.

Boric acid, as the name suggests, is created by acidifying borax. While boric acid does occur naturally, it’s created after borax has been mined.

Both substances are very similar in that they are low toxicity, white powders that are used in cleaning products, and as a pesticide.

When compared, boric acid is toxic at lower doses than boric acid. When deciding between borax and boric acid, boric acid is preferred for this reason. You can eliminate your target pest with less.

If you have pets or children, you might consider borax to stay on the safe side in case the unthinkable happens, and they gain access to one of the chemicals.

How Does Borax and Boric Acid Kill Ants?

Borax and boric acid kill ants when it’s consumed. Ant’s can’t digest borax or boric acid properly. After it’s digested, the ants will slowly die.

The length it takes them to die will depend on the amount of borax or boric acid consumed. You can typically expect ants to die after 2-4 days.

Borax does not kill ants on contact. If ants only come in contact with borax or boric acid, they won’t die.

But, since ants groom themselves frequently, even if ants only come into contact with the substance, they will eventually eat it.

This means that you don’t always have to use borax or boric acid as bait.

How Long Does Borax Take To Kill Ants?

Borax is a slow-acting chemical that will kill ants over several days. But, how fast ants die will depend on how much borax they consume.

The more borax they consume, the faster they will die.

Professional insecticides and baits typically work within 24-48 hours. When using homemade bait, you can expect results within 1-4 days.

The delivery level of your borax and concentration will depend on how fast ants die.

With lower concentrations of borax, the ants may survive up to four days.

When using borax, you can expect secondary kills. This means that the ants consuming the borax will feed other ants, and those ants will die as well.

To experience borax’s full effects, you can expect to wait 7-10 days from when the first ant consumed the borax.

How To Kill Ants With Borax?

There are several ways you can apply borax to your home, depending on your needs. 

  • Gel Bait 
  • Liquid Bait 
  • Powder/Dust application 

Borax Gel Bait Recipies

Gel bait is the preferred baiting method because it’s easy to apply, clean, and monitor. The gel bait consistency also makes it easy for ants to eat and take back to their colonies. 

Making gel bait is quite simple all you need to do is use a solid base and mix it with borax. Depending on the type of ants you have, you can change your bait base to make sure ants are attracted to it. 

Base For Ants Attracted Sugar 

  • Sugar 
  • Honey 
  • Jam 

Base For Ants Attracted To Protein 

  • Peanut Butter 
  • Egg Yolk 

Note: In the following recipes, sugar and honey are interchangeable. You can use about ⅓ cup of honey for every ½ cup of sugar. 

Egg Yolk and Borax Recipe for Ants

  1. Boil four eggs and remove the egg yolks.
  2. Add ½ cup of boric acid and ½ cup of sugar
  3. Mix until you reach playdough-like consistency.
  4. Add sugar to achieve the desired consistency.

Peanut Butter and Borax for Ants

  1. Mix one teaspoon of peanut butter and one tablespoon of sugar for every two tablespoons of Borax.
  2. Place the DIY baits on wax paper to make it easy to remove the bait later.

Honey and Borax Recipe for Ants

  1. Add ½ cup of Bora, ⅓ cup of Honey, ¾ cup Hot or Boiling water into a medium-sized bowl 
  2. Add boiling water and mix throughly until both honey and borax are dissolved. 
  3. Dip cotton balls into the mixture. 
  4. Place cotton balls in desired locations on small pieces of wax paper.

Sugar and Borax Recipe for Ants

  1. Add ½ cup of Borax, ½ cup of Honey, ¾ cup Hot or Boiling water into a medium-sized bowl. 
  2. Add boiling water and mix throughly until both honey and borax are dissolved. 
  3. Dip cotton balls into the mixture. 
  4. Place cotton balls in desired locations on small pieces of wax paper.

Is using Borax for Ants Safe For Pets

No, borax can be toxic to pets if consumed. Although both borax and boric acid are natural chemicals, they are not entirely safe.

When using borax around pets, you should use it sparingly. You must place your bait or mixture in areas where dogs can’t easily reach them.

Since ants can climb and reach high surfaces easily, placing your bait on countertops or top of the furniture is a great way to keep your borax bait away from your dogs.

Another thing you can do to keep your ant bait away from pets is to use bait stations. You can purchase bait stations and place your bait inside. 

These bait stations will make it more for pets to access the bait if they happen to contact the bait.

I also recommend keeping pets away from the area that you are placing bait. Most ants tend to concentrate in kitchens or restrooms. You can use child protective gates to keep pets out of these areas.

If you are using the bait outdoors, you might want to keep your dog indoors. I recommend you place your bait inside a bait station and place the bait station inside a rat bait station. These bait stations are sturdier and harder for dogs to enter.

What To Do When Borax Is Not Working On Ants?

If your borax bait is not working, there are a few reasons that this could be happening. 

  1. Ants are not consuming the bait 
  2. Ants are not finding the bait 
  3. Not enough borax is inside the bait 
  4. Bait is working, but you can’t see it 

Ants not consuming the bait

Ants have a preferred source of food. Before you choose your bait combination, you need to identify the species of ant inside your home.

Once you identify the ants inside your home, you can choose the ant species’ right bait.

Typically ants either prefer sugar, protein, or both. If you are using a protein bait on an ant that prefers sugar, they won’t be interested in your bait.

If the ant in your home has no sugar or protein preference, try a bait with each food source to determine what they prefer.

Below are some links that can help you identify and treat the ants inside your home.

Ants are not finding the bait

Another reason that your borax bait might not be working is that ants are not finding the bait. 

This can be for several reasons: 

  1. Too many food sources 
  2. Ants are not in the area you placed bait 

Before placing your bait, you want to clean your home. If there are many food sources, the ants might be attracted to the other sources more than the bait. 

Clean your home thoroughly and only give ants one source of food to increase your bait’s effectiveness. 

Before placing your bait, it’s also essential that you place your bait where there is high ant activity. 

You can do this by inspecting your home and identifying where the ants are located. Once you have found them, you can use a pre-bait to attract the ants to where you want them. 

Pre-bait is a non-toxic bait that you can use to lure ants and attract them to your home and identify their preferred food source. 

Once the ants are eating the pre-bait, you can swap the pre-bait and borax bait to ensure they find and eat the bait.

Not enough Borax inside the bait

Another issue with the bait you are using is that you could not be using enough borax in the solution.

Be sure to follow the recipes listed above. It’s important that you thoroughly combine each mixture to ensure that the bait has borax throughout the solution.

If the solution is not working, you can consider double the dose of borax in the bait combination to ensure that the ants are consuming a lethal dose.

Bait is working, but you can’t see it.

It’s also possible that the bait is working, but you don’t see the effectiveness yet.

If the ants are consuming the bait, it is likely working. Remember that borax is a slow-acting kill. You will likely not find dead ants around your home. The ants will get the bait and take it back to their nest.

The bait will spread to other ants in the nest and kill them within 1-4 days. You can expect to see results within one to two weeks. There should be fewer and fewer ants entering your home and eating the bait.

Borax Substitute for Killing Ants

As a natural substitute for borax, you can use several alternatives 

  1. Diatomaceous earth
  2. Baking soda 
  3. Professional Gel Bait 

Diatomaceous Earth 

Diatomaceous earth is another all-natural substance that can kill ants. DE does work differently than borax. 

To kill ants with DE they need to come in contact with the DE. The DE will slowly break down their exoskeleton and cause them to die. 

Unfortunately, DE is effective at keeping ants out but not as effective at eliminating entire infestations due to the limited effects of secondary kills. 

Baking Soda

Another alternative that is commonly used is baking soda. Baking soda can kill ants but it’s not as effective as other methods. 

Baking soda is a much slower kill than borax and ants tend to avoid it if they can detect it. It also has a low secondary kill transfer. 

Professional Bait 

The best alternative to borax is using professional gel bait. These are designed to attract ants and slowly kill ants to maximize secondary and tertiary kills. 

How To Use Borax For Ants Outdoors?

Borax should be using the same way outdoors and indoors. The best way to deliver borax outdoors is either using gel bait or liquid bait.

Use Bait Stations

Since borax is toxic you want to make sure that you place your borax in bait stations or containers that only ants can enter and get access to.

There are specially made bait stations outdoors that you can use to deliver borax to ants.

These are most effective for liquid borax bait. You can also use small bait stations inside or larger rate bait stations to make sure other larger animals can access the bait.

Inspect Outdoors

Before placing your bait you want to inspect outdoors. Look for high ant activity areas.

Ants tend to congregate around food or water sources. You can also look for ant hills in your yard. Other common places include gardens, near pavement, or around the foundations of homes.

Once you find the high activity area makes rue you mark them or take note. You want to place one of your bait stations near these areas to ensure that the ants will find the bait.

Best Borax Recipe for Ants Outdoors

Honey and Borax Recipe for Ants 

  1. Add ½ cup of Borax, ⅓ cup of Honey, ¾ cup Hot or Boiling water into a medium-sized bowl 
  2. Add boiling water and mix throughly until both honey and borax are dissolved. 
  3. Dip cotton balls into the mixture. 
  4. Place cotton balls in desired locations on small pieces of wax paper.

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