How to Get Rid of Ants with Borax: A Complete Guide

how to get rid of ants with borax

Although ants appear harmless, they are capable of reproducing very fast and establishing large colonies within a few days. Well-established colonies of ants can cause major structural damage to your house.

While there are many ways to eliminate ants, Borax powder appears to be the most common. This article talks about how to get rid of ants with Borax powder.

What Is Borax?


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Also referred to as sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium tetraborate is a boron compound, mineral, and salt of boric acid. Its powdered form is usually white, comprising soft neutral crystals that easily dissolve in water.

Borax is one of the main ingredients of the most common detergents, enamel glazes, and beauty products. In biochemistry, borax is used to manufacture buffer solutions such as antifungal compounds, fire retardants, fiberglass, and as a flux in metallurgy, and many other substances.

It is also important to mention that borax is commonly used in artisanal gold mining as part of the process that helps to replace the need for toxic mercury in the extraction of gold. But this doesn’t mean that borax can replace mercury.

In the 1900s, gold miners in the Philippines were reported to use borax as part of their extraction process.

This compound was first discovered in Tibet – the lofty Tibetan Plateau on the northern side of the Himalayas. It was later imported to the Arabian Peninsula in the 8th century AD.

Borax became popular in the 19th century after the Pacific Coast Borax Company, which was founded by Francis Marion Smith, started to sell different varieties of borax products under the Twenty Mule Team Borax trademark.

This trademark’s name referred to the method by which borax was initially transported from the California and Nevada deserts. Today, borax is being converted to various substances including boric acid and several other borates that are used in a wide range of applications.

When added to the fire, it generates a yellow-green color of sodium. That’s why it is not used in fireworks.

However, boric acid is normally used to color methanol flames a transparent green color. Although borax is highly soluble in ethylene glycol and methanol, it’s not soluble in cold water. So, if you want to dissolve, you have to increase the water temperature.

Borax occurs naturally in evaporate deposits that are normally formed through the continuous evaporation of seasonal lakes. The largest deposits of borax are found in Turkey and California.

But there are smaller deposits of this compound in the Southwestern United States, Chile, Tibet, Romania, and Bolivia. It can also be artificially manufactured using other boron compounds.

Can Borax Get Rid of Ants? How Does It Work?


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Borax is known to be quite lethal to a variety of indoor and outdoor bugs, including cockroaches, silverfish, and ants. It is particularly known to be very lethal to ants because it destroys their digestive system, gradually putting them to permanent sleep.

So, if you are looking for a quick and simple way to get rid of ants in your home, the borax compound is the way to go.

How Long Does Borax Take to Kill Ants?

First of all, you need to understand that although borax powder has a very low toxicity level for human beings and pets, it is very toxic to ants and other tiny insects when they ingest it. However, you need to mix the powder with other things that ants are like to make a bait because the tiny bugs are not attracted to borax alone.

Ants will generally die within 24 hours after eating borax. But sometimes they can last up to 48 hours, depending on the amount of borax they consume. You do not have to worry about the colonies hidden in the ground because the worker or forager ants will eat their fill and carry the rest back to their hideouts.

As the colonies continue to share the bait, it will eventually get to the queen and eliminate her. This process can take a few days or weeks, depending on the size of the colony. The process may not be instant but it works.

How to Get Rid of Ants with Borax


When you are using borax to get rid of ants in your home, it is important to make sure they eat it and take the rest to their colonies. This ensures that the ants don’t resurface in your home after a few weeks. So, sprinkling them with borax won’t work. You have to trick them into ingesting the powder.

The process of getting rid of ants with borax takes two major steps: finding the ants and baiting them.

How to Find Ants in Your Property

Even though you will find ants crawling on your floor and walls, their colonies could be hidden meters away from your house. Until you find their source, you won’t be able to eliminate them. So, look for ant mounds, roaming ants, ant trails, and their possible entry points into your house.

To avoid making a mess in your home, you can just place your baits on their trails and entry points into your house.

The most common entry points for ants into a home include cracks in walls, foundation gaps, vents and exhaust fans, spaces in windows and doors, holes in the floor, and power cables. Place your borax bait in these areas catch as many ants as possible.

Baiting Ants with Home Products

There are different food items that you can mix with borax to bait ants. For example, you can mix the borax powder with confectioner’s sugar and pour it around your yard, lawn, and near ant trails and entry points.

If that’s not possible, you can mix the powder with warm honey and pour the mixture in places where the ants will find it easily.

You can also bait ants with a mixture of borax and peanut butter. Just mix one teaspoon of peanut butter with two teaspoons of borax powder and sprinkle it along their trails and entry points into your home.

Other Products that Make Good Ant Baits

Cornstarch is another great product to use a bait for ants. Just mix a few teaspoons of cornstarch with borax powder and place the mixture at strategic points around your home where ants can find it easily. You can also use a mixture of borax powder and cinnamon leaf essential oil.

Boric acid is another great poison that eliminates ants in a matter of hours. Like the borax powder, this acid kills ants by eating away at their outer shells and destroying their digestive systems. You can mix it with sugar, honey, cornstarch, or any other food item that attracts ants.

Be careful when placing your borax baits in your home because the boron compound found in borax can damage plants when it’s used applied excessively. But how do you make your ant baiting process successful? Here are some useful tips.

Eliminate Food Sources – once you place your bait, make sure there are no crumbs or spills of food lying around. Also, keep your food containers tightly covered.

Remove harborage sites – do not keep piles of litter, grass, or leaves in your yard because they will offer perfect hideouts for ants.

Do not use sprays – do not spray insecticides near your ant bait because they might deter ants from ingesting it.

Don’t kill the ants – although it is tempting to kill the ants when they show up at the bait station, you should restrain yourself because killing them means they won’t take the bait back to their hideouts. Remember, the idea is to eliminate the entire colony and its queen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for borax to kill ants?

The boron compound in borax damages the ants’ digestive systems, ultimately killing them within 24-48 hours after ingestion. This slow kill gives the forage ants enough time to carry the bait back to the rest of the colony and their queen.

Is it safe to use borax around pets?

Although borax is less toxic to human beings and pets, avoid using it around pets. Also, do not use borax as a pesticide in your house or in the yard, where your pets can be easily exposed. Keep it away from your mouth, eyes, and nose to minimize the risk of exposure.

In Summary

Borax kills ants by eroding their outer shells and destroying their digestive system. But for it to work, it has to be mixed with other food items that attract ants like sugar, honey, peanut butter, cornstarch, among others. This guide should help you to solve the problem of how to get rid of ants with borax.

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