Borax As An Ant Killer – How To Kill Ants DIY Recipes

While there are many options on the market, including pesticides and other chemicals, borax as an ant killer is a practical, inexpensive, and convenient alternative to quickly get rid of ants using borax.

borax as an ant killer
borax as an ant killer

As you see the ants crawling under your doorway, out from under your cabin, house, or scurrying into your pantry, you know you’ve got problems. Ants never come alone, and you watch with a little bit of panic and alarm as more and more of them march into and invade your space. So, the question becomes, how do you get rid of ants before these invasive little creatures multiply further and become a full scale ant infestation right before your very eyes?

Recipe For Ant Killer With Borax

3 Ingredient Borax Ant Killer Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons of borax
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

Mix all three ingredients together until the sugar and borax are dissolved and a thick consistency. The ants are attracted to the sugar, but the borax is what will kill them in the end. It doesn’t take much borax to be an effective ant deterrent.

This recipe for borax bait in liquid form is a quick and easy 20 mule team borax ant bait

Solid Borax Ant Killer Bait Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons of borax
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

To make a solid borax ant bait, use the same borax ant bait recipe from above, but substitute powdered sugar for table sugar and don’t add any water. Mix it together well, and make sure it is in a container. While it may be tempting to do so, do not sprinkle the borax bait killer mixture in ant locations. Sprinkling just leaves the mixture out in the open. This is a safety issue. You then run the risk of kids, pets, or yourself coming into contact with it. Remember, borax is also a herbicide and will kill your plants if it comes in contact with them. So, don’t sprinkle it in your garden either!

Homemade Ant Bait Recipe with Honey

  • 1 tablespoon of borax
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon warm water

There are a few alternatives to the water and sugar recipe. A variation is to mix 1 part borax, 3 parts honey, and a little warm water to make a sticky borax ant killer paste. As with the sugar, the sweetness of the honey attracts the ants right to the borax ant poison. However, because honey is a natural humectant, it also traps moisture, affecting the exoskeleton of ants. This allows the borax to penetrate the ant’s body, providing another avenue for their ultimate demise.

Homemade Ant Bait Recipe with Peanut Butter

  • 1 tablespoon of borax
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • ½ tablespoon warm water

The third variation of this homemade ant bait is to mix 1 part borax, 1 part peanut butter, and ½ part warm water. This also forms a sticky paste. The benefit of using peanut butter is it is effective against those ants specifically searching for protein-rich foods, such as fire ants and other ants. You’ll also find this one does not have to be replenished as often as you may need to with the sugar and honey mixtures.

For all of these types of borax bait, you’ll need a small, shallow container the ants can easily access, such as a plastic lid, plate, or even a cotton ball. It doesn’t really matter what you use, as long as the ants can get to the borax ant killer mixture.

Check Your Ant Trap Locations. You can position these containers indoors or outside, to take care of an existing ant problem or as a preventative measures. If using indoors, place them around the home where ants frequent, such as the pantry, cupboards, or even the countertops if you’ve witnessed them there. You can also position ant trap containers along the paths ants use to enter your home, like doors or window sills, or even around the baseboards.

The borax and bait method can also be effectively applied outside, in gardens, yards, or outbuildings. Place borax for ants outside where you see infestations of ants and along their common routes. Make sure to keep an eye on your little borax ant traps to see if the ants are finding them. If for some reason they are not, or it looks like they are taking a different path, experiment and adjust the borax ant trap location as necessary.

What Is Borax?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral. It is the common name for the chemical sodium tetraborate or sodium borate and was originally discovered in dry lake beds in Tibet. Borax is found around the world in small amounts.

More significant deposits of borax, such as where it’s often mined, are rarer and found in seasonal lake beds that have repeatedly evaporated over time. Some of the biggest boron mines in the world are in California and the Mohave Desert.

It is not to be confused with boric acid. While both borax and boric acid are boron compounds, they have different chemical structures. Boric acid is made from borax that has undergone further processing and refinement. Although both can be quite harmful, boric acid is also more toxic than borax, especially if ingested.  

Borax is an ingredient in many household items, including cosmetics and detergents. Other uses include fire retardant, water softener, insecticide, and odor neutralizer, in metallurgy, for antifungal medicinal purposes, and more!

Powdered borax is powdery white and is partially dehydrated when sold commercially.

Where Can I Find Borax?

Two well-known, high-quality, and trusted brands are 20 Mule Team Borax and Milliard Borax. Borax is available in most supermarkets or big box stores near the laundry detergents. In addition, most hardware stores or health food stores carry Borax powder. It is also available online.

20 Mule Team Borax Ant Killer

According to Wikipedia, the 20 Mule Team Borax brand was “named after the 20-mule teams used by William Tell Coleman’s company to move borax out of Death Valley, California, to the nearest rail spur between 1883 and 1889.”

How To Get Rid Of Ants With Borax?

By now, you’re probably wondering, does borax kill ants? Yes, it does, and it has been in use to do so for a really long time. It works by interrupting an ants digestive system, and the ants eventually die after a few days. However, borax as an ant killer is effective because it doesn’t kill them right away.

Is Borax A Good Ant Killer?

I know what you’re thinking, don’t we want them dead!? We do, but the beauty of borax is that the worker ants will eat it first. Then they will take it back to the rest of the colony, including the queen. There, the rest of them will also consume it, effectively killing them all. While their death may be delayed, the good news is it will still kill an ant within 24-48 hours.

It is important to note that the ants must ingest the borax to be effective. Simply sprinkling Borax powder around your house will not get rid of ant infestations. It really will not do anything but make a mess. You also run the risk of pets or children consuming it.

Steps To Using Borax To Kill Ants

There are really three simple steps to using borax as ant killers:

  1. You’ll need to make borax baits that will attract ants and that the ants eat.
  2. Use a “Trap”. Traps may be as simple as a small plastic container or as elaborate as the same container inside of a box to keep other things out. You can get pretty creative with this part as it really doesn’t matter what you use for a trap. As long as it holds the bait and keeps it out of contact with kids and pets.
  3. You’ll need to figure out where your ants are coming from, what their travel paths are, or how they are entering your home so you can set the traps in the right place to be most effective. Find the entry points and follow the trail of ants.

Does Borax Kill Ants – Borax Ant Poison

While ants and borax are natural enemies, there are several different ways they can be mixed to rid yourself of these little pests. It’s important to know that the methods we discuss will work with all types of ants (sugar ants, carpenter ants, fire ants, etc.). The type of ant does not really matter since their digestive systems are all the same.

However, different ant species may be picky about these baits, and it may take some experimentation to find what works with the ants you are dealing with. If any of the solutions you try don’t work as ant control, you can always contact an ant control professional to assist you with your problem.

With that said, to be most effective, your borax ant bait will need to be a combination of both solid baits and liquid baits so you can kill the entire colony. Adult ants cannot digest borax in solid form, only liquid form; however, larvae can ingest the solid bait. Therefore, both options are valid.

Next, find the ant source. You need to figure out where your ants are coming from and put your borax at the source. Ants leave a scent trail or ant trails behind that leads others in the colony to the food source.

Worker Ants Will Find the Borax Bait First

If you can get the first worker ants to come to your ant bait, others will follow. Additionally, the worker ants drawn to the source will take the food back to the colony, where the others will consume it.

Word of warning, though. Borax will also kill other insects and pests. Borax is also a known fungicide and herbicide, so be careful. In addition to killing ants, you may inadvertently end up killing parts of your lawn, garden, or other good insects if you’re not careful!

Finally, be careful when you are targeting fire ants. These ants are an invasive species and can take over your yard if you’re not careful. If you accidentally kill all the native ants, you’ll leave room for the fire ants to completely take over. To mitigate this risk, leave your ant bait as close to the fire ant hills as possible. This is a more targeted approach. Not all ants are bad, and you want to leave some of the good ants behind.

Store Bought Borax Ant Killer Bait

If you don’t want to make homemade ant bait, there are quite a few store-bought options, some more toxic than others. Products come in liquid baits, granule baits, and gel baits, all with varying costs and methods of application.

Borax Ant Bait Stations

Ant bait station boxes can be purchased and put into action for convenience ant control. These stations are handy for keeping pets and children out. Whatever method you use, the same principles typically apply for where you place them, usually at 5-10 foot intervals around your house or outside, at places where they are coming in, and in their pathways.

Diatomaceous Earth Ant Killer

Another store bought option is Diatomaceous Earth Ant Bait. Diatomaceous Earth is considered natural and will not contaminate food. The active ingredient in Diatomaceous Earth Ant Bait believe it or not is fossil remains of diatoms or algae.

How To Use Borax For Ants

Now that you’ve learned how to kill ants with borax, we must talk about how to safely handle it. Borax is toxic and should be safely in use away from children or pets.

Borax Safe Handling

According to Medical News Today, borax can cause:

  • Skin, eye, and respiratory irritation
  • Digestive problems
  • Infertility
  • Kidney failure
  • Shock
  • Death

They say the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has banned it as a food additive because it can be incredibly harmful if ingested.

Houses with children should avoid using borax altogether as children are more likely to accidentally ingest it if they touch it.

Borax Bait Safety Precautions

If you are going to handle borax for use in ant traps (or any other reason!), there are several safety precautions you should take:

  • Wear gloves
  • Wash hands after coming in contact with it
  • Avoid contact with nose, mouth, and eyes
  • Do not inhale it

Is Borax Safe For Pets?

No, Borax is toxic and should be safely in use away from children or pets. An additional safety precaution is to use cardboard boxes or other containers to keep kids and pets from accessing the borax bait. Along with the store-bought ant boxes already mentioned, you can also make a DIY ant bait box. Find a box or container with a lid on it. A plastic container with a locking lid works well. Place your ant bait inside and poke holes around the base of the container. Make sure they are big enough for the ants to get in and out of. If using a cardboard box, put the lid back on and tape it up.

Using Borax To Kill Ants Conclusion

As you can see, using borax to kill ants can be a very effective way to rid yourself of the little pests. Experiment with different recipes and methods, move your bait around if necessary, and figure out what is the best way for the ants you are dealing with.

As long as you take proper safety precautions when handling it and make sure pets or children can’t get to it, and you avoid exposure yourself, it’s a cost-effective way to solve what can be a very annoying problem.

It works on all species of ants, so you don’t have to worry about which you’re dealing with, and you can make your own DIY ant killer with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Next time you see the ants come marching in, you’ll know what to do to get rid of ants! Grab the borax.

Heads up, borax also may help getting rid of bees as well as ticks.