Ants are some of the most common pests in the United States, wreaking havoc on homes, structures, and food. They procreate in massive numbers and can overwhelm homes in the millions. Some ants even bite, while others emit a strong, foul odor that can have you holding your nose.
Getting rid of ants for good can be difficult, especially if you prefer using natural methods of ant killer. Luckily, there is a product that is both natural, safe and effective when it comes to ant control.
That’s right, we’re talking about borax ant killer.
But while borax ant killer is considered a natural form of pest control, it does have it’s pros and cons. Join us today as we discuss borax ant killer, how it works, and why it may or may not be the right ant killer for you.
What Is Borax Ant Killer and How Does It Work?
Discovered in 1856, Borax is a natural mineral that has many household uses.
Also known as sodium tetraborate, sodium borate, or disodium tetraborate, borax is a powdery white mineral that is highly concentrated and soluble. It was originally discovered amongst dry lake beds in 1856, and soon became a popular household ingredient due to its many uses.
Today, borax is used as a household cleaner to get rid of mold, mildew, and clean up stains. It has also been used in toothpaste, in laundry, bleaches, and even in cosmetics like makeup and skincare. It is also, as you may have guessed from this article, a popular form of pest control.
Though Borax should not be ingested by people or pets, it is considered a natural and safe ant killer.
Borax ant killer works when ingested by the ants, who, regardless of their species, all share the same digestive system. The borax disrupts the natural workings of the ants’ digestive system, slowly killing them.
One of the reasons borax ant killers are so popular is due to this prolonged killing effect, as it allows for scout ants to consume the poison before bringing it to their colony. For this reason, borax ant killer is one of the most popular ant killers for larger infestations, as it is credited for wiping out entire colonies.
However, we should note that ants are not attracted to plain borax. In order for borax to work as an effective borax ant killer, it must first be combined with a bait that ants are attracted to. You do have the option of purchasing a pre-baited borax ant killer bait online or at your local pest control store, or you can make your own borax ant killer using household ingredients like sugar.
We have listed some do it yourself pest control remedies for how to make borax ant killer yourself further down.
But before you scroll on to look at the recipes or order a borax ant killer, it’s important that you also know that there are different forms of borax ant killer, and that borax powder and boric acid are not the same thing.
Though boric acid is derived from borax, it is processed differently and more commonly used as a cleaning product, medical antiseptic, and more. Boric acid, unlike borax, is not considered organic or natural, and is often used in a number of chemical products, as well as chemical insecticides.
For this reason, if you are looking for a natural form of ant killer, it’s wise to avoid using boric acid insecticides unless the product specifically says it is natural or organic. For your convenience, we have listed both pure borax ant killer products and boric acid insecticides below.
Is Borax Ant Killer Right For You?
Ants are not attracted to plain borax, and borax must be mixed with a bait in order to be effective.
Before you decide if borax ant killer is right for you, you should first make sure you are dealing with ants. It’s also important to consider where your ant infestation is before choosing borax.
Unfortunately, though highly effective against pests, borax can also be deadly to plantlife. Borax ant killer may not be the best option for you if you are dealing with a large infestation of ants in the garden. However, you can use borax ant killer outdoors if you apply it carefully.
Many people find that borax ant killer works well to eliminate ant infestations when placed on a dish or in a bait pack outside, so that it allows ants in and out without harming plants or vegetation.
You should also note that, while borax ant killer is generally a safer alternative to other insecticides, it can be harmful to pets and small children if ingested. Because people often combine borax with sugary foods like peanut butter, powdered sugar, or other sweet-tasting substances, it’s not uncommon for children or pets to be at risk.
You can combat these problems by investing in tamper-free bait stations for borax ant killer, or by only putting the borax ant killer in areas where children and pets cannot reach it.
Pros and Cons of Using Borax Ant Killer
Though a natural mineral, borax can be damaging to plants and is not ideal for use in the garden unless carefully applied.
Although borax ant killer is considered a natural alternative to using insecticides, it can still be harmful to people or pets if ingested or inhaled. And, like many insecticides both natural and chemical, there are pros and cons to using borax ant killer in and around your home.
Before you invest in borax as your form of ant killer and pest control, it’s best to first consider the pros and cons, which we have listed below.
Pros of Using Borax Ant Killer
- Borax is a natural mineral
- It is safer than using chemical insecticides due to its low toxicity levels
- Borax can be used to manage a number of different pests
- Borax can also be used as a form of weed control
- This product is generally easy to find and relatively affordable
- You can easily make your own borax ant killer bait
- You can buy borax ant killer bait already pre-made
- Borax is useful when dealing with large ant infestations as it targets the entire colony
- You can use borax ant killer both inside and outside of your home
Cons of Using Borax Ant Killer
- Though it has a low toxicity level, borax can still be dangerous to people and pets
- Borax can be harmful to vegetation and lawns
- It may need to be repeatedly applied in order for it to work
- Pests are not attracted to plain borax, thus it needs to be mixed with something
- Borax can be irritating to the skin after prolonged exposure
The Best Borax Ant Killer – Products That Work
You can order borax in its purest form, or you can order it pre-mixed.
Borax ant killer may not be the perfect natural insecticide, but it is still a safer option than many chemical products. When used correctly, it can also work quickly against common ants, including:
However, keep in mind that, while borax ant killer does affect most species of ants due to their identical digestive systems, the bait that the borax is combined with is what determines if the borax is successful.
Consider this when investing in a borax ant killer, and do a bit of research on the species of ant you are dealing with before you buy the product to ensure the product works for you.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best borax ant killer products on the market.
Earthborn Elements Pure Borax Powder
First on our list of best borax ant killer is simply pure borax. This powder can be combined with a multitude of ingredients, (which we’ll list below), and provide you with the ability to target several different species of ants and many different other pests all at once.
The above order of borax can also be used around the house as a detergent booster and household cleaner. Again, just make sure to use borax with caution, as it can be harmful to humans and pets if ingested or inhaled in large doses.
Pro tip – most ants are attracted to sugary foods. For pure borax to work as an ant killer, combine it with powdered sugar. (The recipe is further down).
BorActin Insect Dust
BorActin Insect Dust contains Boric Acid, which, as we discussed above, is different from pure borax. Still, this can be an effective form of borax ant killer and it works in much of the same way. This is a dust insecticide that kills a number of pests including ants, roaches, palmetto bugs, silverfish, and firebrats.
However, it does not work to kill carpenter ants.
This product is made of 99% boric acid and, while it works well as an insecticide, should only be used as directed and kept out of reach of children.
Zap Boric Acid Insect Killer
Another product that contains boric acid is by Zap. This is another powder insecticide that is pre-mixed with bait to lure pests like ants, roaches, palmetto bugs and more. It uses 100% boric acid dust to kill ants and eliminate the colony.
The dust is pre-mixed with a bait and works when applied along cracks and crevices, walls, and other areas you have noticed ant activity. However, it should be kept out of reach of children and pets and it should not be used in areas where food is stored and prepared.
While boric acid does work well and is most commonly sold for pest control purposes, it again can be a bit more dangerous to use in homes with people and pets. If you would prefer a more organic option for a borax ant killer, you may want to take a look at the borax powder above by a brand called Pure. This brand uses 100% natural borax that is able to be mixed with whichever ingredient you choose to manage an ant infestation.
Again, like the other pure borax ant killer product on this, the above borax powder can also be used as an inhome cleaner, laundry booster, and stain remover. Still, because it can cause skin irritation and problems if ingested or inhaled, use it only as directed and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
20 Mule Borax Powder
One of the most popular borax powder products used as a borax ant killer is the above product by 20 Mule. This is a basic borax dust that contains 100% borax powder and can be used, like most of them, as a multipurpose cleaner, laundry booster, stain remover, and pest control agent.
When combined with sweet foods like sugar, the above borax ant killer can help eliminate entire ant colonies both inside and out. However, because it is pure borax, remember that it can be harmful to vegetation. Refrain from pouring this powder directly on plant life.
TERRO Liquid Ant Bait Stations
Although Borax ant killer is a safer alternative to many other insecticides, it can be harmful to people and pets if ingested, inhaled, or handled for prolonged periods of time. For this reason, it’s a good idea to invest in a bait station.
The above liquid bait stations contain borax ant killer, and are specifically designed to target ants and the entire colony. However, while the bait stations do a better job of isolating the borax ant killer, they are still not tamper-proof or child-resistant.
Make sure you use these stations with caution and continue to place them out of reach of children and pets.
TERRO Outdoor Liquid Bait Station
Borax ant killer bait stations not only help protect children and pets, but they can also help reduce the chances of plants from coming into contact with the harmful mineral.
The above outdoor liquid bait station by TERRO contains a liquid, pre-baited borax ant killer formula that allows the ants to come in and out without allowing the substance to touch the plants or grass. This is not an ant trap, and is ideal for ants who are causing problems in lawns or gardens, and for those who want to use borax ant killer but do not want to harm vegetation.
Alternatives to Using Borax Ant Killer
Like Borax, Diatomaceous Earth is a natural compound that can be used for a variety of household chores as well as for pest control.
If you’re looking for an all natural pest control method but feel borax ant killer isn’t right for you, don’t worry. You have other options. There are several other products you can use to help target and control ant problems in and around your home, and some of them are considered even safer than using borax.
We have listed a few of our favorites for you to consider below.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer is a safe alternative to using Borax ant killer. It is relatively harmless to people and pets and can be used for a multitude of pest control purposes.
This product is derived from fossilized algae, and works by penetrating the exoskeleton of insects like ants, roaches, earwigs, and beetles. This dehydrates the pest and kills them. Unlike borax, you do not need to mix Diatomaceous Earth with any sugary substance and instead simply place it where ants will walk through it.
However, one downside to using DE is that it will not work to kill the entire ant colony, as it is not designed as a bait for ants to bring back to the queen.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic Pest Repellers are an excellent alternative to using insecticides, sprays, powders or dusts. They are completely safe for people and pets, and pose no harm to the environment. These products work by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that are highly irritating to pests like ants, spiders, rodents, roaches, and more, but completely harmless to people and pets.
You can plug these repellers into most any room and leave them be. They require little to no maintenance. However, though they are effective, they are likely more effective when used in conjunction with other pest control methods.
DIY Borax Ant Killer Home Recipes
Ants are not attracted to borax alone, but they are very attracted to sweets. So, combining borax with sweets like sugar or even fruit leads to best success.
Though Borax and killer does work for all species of ants, the bait you use to entice the ants can determine if the Borax is taken. Remember, different ants are attracted to different types of food sources. Luckily, most ants are attracted to sugary foods, which is why sugar is typically a key ingredient in making borax ant killer bait.
There are a few different home remedies and baits you can use that include Borax ant killer, and they will help attract a variety of different ants. For the best success, we suggest doing a bit of research on the types of ants you are dealing with before deciding which liquid Borax ant killer recipe below will work best for you.
We also suggest using one of three items when applying the bait, including either a paper plate, a flat dish, or a cotton ball. This allows the ants to easily access the borax bait and then leave again, enabling them to bring the rest of the bait back to the colony.
Liquid Borax Ant Killer Recipe
- 1 1/2 tbsp Borax
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 ½ cup of water
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl or on your plate or dish, or soak a cotton ball in the solution. Then leave this solution anywhere you have noticed ant activity.
Powder Borax Ant Killer Recipe
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 3/4ths cup of Borax
Combine the above ingredients in a bowl or dish, then sprinkle it anywhere you have noticed ant activity. You can use this method for both indoor and outdoor use, however, remember that Borax ant killer can also kill plants.
Be careful of pouring any borax directly on plant-life or in gardens. If you do use this method in gardens or around ornamental plants, do so by placing the borax on a dish to protect your vegetation.
The below video gives a tutorial on how to make borax ant killer for outside vegetable gardens.
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If Borax Ant Killer Doesn’t Work – When To Contact A Professional
If you can’t get rid of the ants causing you problems, it may be a sign of a larger problem.
Although Borax ant killer is an effective, safe and natural way to go about controlling an ant infestation in and around your home, it may not always work completely. Very large or repetitive infestations of ants may be a sign of a more serious problem, and it may require the help from a professional pest control expert.
On average, pest control experts charge between $150 and $300 for in-home pest control and ant removal. They should also be able to help you identify the source of the problem in or around your home and thus help you work on preventing ants from coming back.
And speaking of keeping ants from returning, let’s go over some tips and tricks you can use to keep from having to use an ant killer in the future.
Tips On Preventing A Future Ant Problem In and Around Your Home
Remove ant hills near your home and use a year-round pest control method to keep them from returning.
While borax ant killer is a safe and effective way of getting rid of ants, (and even some other common, home-invading pests), it is generally easier to simply use preventative measures to keep these pests from coming around in the first place.
You can work to prevent pests like ants by following the below steps.
Store Food Properly
Ants have a strong sense of smell, especially when it comes to sugary substances. To help keep ants at bay, we suggest storing cupboard foods in air-tight containers made of plastic or glass.
Make sure to keep perishable foods in the refrigerator when not in use, and refrain from leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight without soaking them under soapy water. Practicing these good habits will not only help reduce ant infestations, but it will also help keep roaches, mice, and other pests from being attracted to your home.
Remove Ant Hills From Around Your Home and Use Repellent Plants or Mulch
Most indoor ant infestations begin outdoors, after ant hills get overly crowded and colonies need to move. To keep ants from coming into your home, remove any ant hills you find that get too close.
You can also help keep ants at bay by planting ant repellent plants and using cedar mulch around the perimeter of your home.
Keep Up With Routine Home and Yard Maintenance
Routine home maintenance can help keep a number of pests out of your home simply by reducing the number of entry and exit points around your property. Do routine home checks and fix any vulnerabilities or cracks and crevices you find around your home.
This includes repairing rips or tears in screens, caulking and sealing cracks and crevices, and ensuring your doors and windows shut and seal securely.
It’s also wise to repair any damaged water pipes or leaks in or around your home, and to keep up with landscaping. Reduce clutter around your yard, and remove any loose leaf litter or debris.
Keep Your Home Nice and Tidy
Clutter can lead to an influx in a number of pests, not just ants. Clutter also disguises other insects, spiders, rodents, and food particles, which can lead to a number of more serious pest issues.
Keep your home nice and clean by ensuring your belongings are organized. It’s also a good idea to vacuum and sweep on a routine basis, and wipe down surfaces using a quality cleaner.
Refrain from Leaving Fruit or Veggies to Become Overly Ripe on the Counter
Fruit bowls are very popular here in the United States, but they can also be a catalyst to pest problems. Fruits that become overly ripe tend to have a strong odor, which can attract a number of pests from ants to roaches to flies.
To best keep these pests at bay, ensure that you do not allow fruits or vegetables to get too ripe on the counter. You can also store them in the refrigerator instead.
Pick Up Ripe or Fallen Fruits and Vegetables Outside
Pests can also be attracted to your fruit trees or vegetable garden, especially if the fruits or veggies become overly ripe there as well.
Make sure you harvest edibles as soon as they are ready, and store them inside your home properly.
Invest In Sealed Garbage Bins
Investing in sealed garbage bins for both inside and outside of your home can reduce a number of pest issues. The best garbage bins will also help reduce odor.
Practice Year-Round Pest Control
Last but not least, make sure you practice year-round pest control methods. Doing so can help keep your home safe from a number of pests, and will further reduce your chances of having to find a good borax ant killer.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on borax ant killer and that you now feel confident to tackle these pesky ants yourself.
Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.