Is Boric Acid Effective Against Ants?
Boric acid and Sugar Recipe
If you want a two percent boric acid bait: Mix eight teaspoons of sugar into a cup of water and then add one teaspoon of boric acid.
If you want a one percent boric acid bait: Mix eight teaspoons of sugar into a cup of water and then had half a teaspoon of boric acid.
Boric acid and peanut butter recipe for ants
If you want a two percent boric acid bait: Mix 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter with two teaspoons of boric acid.
If you want a one percent boric acid bait: Mix 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter with one teaspoon of boric acid.
Boric acid and a honey recipe for ants
For a properly working boric acid bait using honey, mix three ounces of thick, natural honey with 3/4 teaspoon of boric acid.
Boric acid and corn syrup recipe for ants
If you have decided to use corn syrup instead of honey, that is okay too. The recipe is still the same, you have to mix three ounces of corn syrup with 3/4 teaspoon of boric acid.
If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on What are the Biggest Bugs in America? and Which Spiders are Poisonous in Certain States (and Canada)?
One percent or two percent boric acid? Why not more?
When you are making a bait mixing boric acid with either a sweetener like sugar or fat food like peanut butter, you need to keep in mind the food scent and taste need to overpower the boric acid, all the time. Ants are not complete automatons, they will walk away from certain foods if they realize said food is not fit for consumption. Any mixture that has over two percent boric acid will find itself untouched by ants, as the boric acid becomes stronger than the food and overpowers the bait smell and taste.
Whether you decide to use one percent or two percent is up to two things. First, personal preference: Someone might have recommended either one or two percent. Perhaps you have used either one in the past. It does not matter. If you start with two percent and the ants are still a problem after a while, you might want to switch to a one percent recipe. Sometimes, a stronger boric acid bait will kill ants before they reach their nest, making the bait’s journey over before it becomes a permanent solution to your problem. Maybe the one percent bait isn’t strong enough and you need to use the two percent version. It’s up to trial and error.
If you are really having trouble getting rid of pesky household ants, we have a few other ideas for solutions as well. Here’s one article that might help: Using Borax Powder to Kill Ants: A Complete Guide.
Which recipe should I use?
It is best to use either the sugar bait or the peanut butter bait, as you can control the dosage to either one or two percent boric acid. But you may also find easier to mix the honey or corn syrup one. It is up to what you have in your house or what you want to buy at the store.
Be Careful: There is one thing to keep in mind. There are different types of ants all over the world. And they have different tastes as well. If you try a sweeter bait, a sugar bait for example, and it does not work you should switch to a fatty bait, like peanut butter bait. If you can, it’s best to start with one sweet bait and one fatty bait and see where the ants are heading. After they made their first choice, you can stop making whichever ants are ignoring.
How to place the boric acid bait
Once you have decided which recipe is best suited for your ant problems, it’s time to make it. But before you start mixing boric acid with food, you need to have a plan.
- Should you mix everything and laid it out in the open? Absolutely not. To make a proper bait, you need a bait container. Leaving the bait out in the open can create a lot of problems. Smaller problems like rain washing the bait away or terrible things like kids touching and eating the bait can happen.
- The first thing you need is plastic containers. Things you were going to throw away work best in this scenario. An old yogurt container or a milk carton are great options. Make sure you wash it away to avoid attracting the wrong crowd, like a family pet. Afterward, place the bait inside the containers and seal it closed. You will seal it to avoid anyone but ants getting inside of it. To let ants inside to grab the bait, you need to poke little holes in the container. Holes big enough for ants to get in, small enough to keep everyone out.
- The way you are going to place the bait is simple. If you used peanut butter, just break it into smaller portions and place it inside the container. If you have used water and sugar, you are going to dip little cotton balls or pieces of paper on it and leave it soaking wet inside the container.
Try to leave the container away from sunlight and heat to avoid getting your bait dried up before it did the work.
How does boric acid work?
Boric acid is an insecticide. It acts as poison when it reaches the ant’s stomach, killing the insect from the inside. It also affects the nervous system, paralyzing any ant that might have eaten off the bait, eventually killing it as well.
If you are using the powder version of boric acid, the little particles act as a razor-sharp blade, cutting them from the inside as well. The powder version can also act from the exterior, slowly penetrating the insects when it comes into contact with them.
Is boric acid dangerous?
Boric acid is, first and foremost, poison. With enough quantity, it can kill a human being. You need to keep this in mind when you are dealing with boric acid. It’s absolutely necessary to use gloves when you are mixing the bait and it is recommended you use mouth protection, like a breathing mask, as well. You need to keep boric acid away from kids, pets, and plants. Even though the boric acid dosage used in the bait is nowhere near-lethal levels, it will do no good if a little child or a small pet eats it. If you have plants, you need to keep boric acid away from them as well, as contact with boric acid can dry up the soil and kill any plant it touches.
Why do you need to add sugar, honey, corn syrup or peanut butter?
If you leave the boric acid by itself, there is not a single ant alive that will try to touch it. Ants are not as mindless as most people would like to believe. You need to trick the ants into thinking they are taking food to their nest if you want to succeed using boric acid bait. To do this, you need to mask the scent and taste of the boric acid with food. Most ants like sweeter things like sugar, but certain species are more into a fatty taste, like peanut butter.
The boric acid to food ratio needs to be right as well. Too little food and nobody is taking the bait. Too much food and you are actually feeding the ants and only stunning them in the process.
Maybe you want something a little more natural to get rid of your household ants… we have ideas for that too: What Ants Don’t Like: Natural Ways to Repel Ants.
Where should I put the boric acid bait? Where should I NOT put the boric acid bait?
The best way to know where to place the boric acid is to look around and see where a line of ants is walking through. Place the boric acid bait container right in the middle of them. Look for any ant hotspot in your house and place another container there as well.
Try to keep every place covered to increase your success rate. If you a big backyard but don’t have a pet, you should also leave one out in the open. Just make sure no rodents, like squirrels, or birds get to the container.
As you already know, you need to keep boric acid away from kids, pets, and plants. You should also avoid any mistakes and leave the bait container away from food cabinets – even though ants love to be there. You need to avoid anywhere where the bait container might get wet and ruined, like your shower. You should also avoid extremely hot places, like near an over, to avoid drying up the bait.
How long does the bait take to eradicate my ant problem?
A boric acid bait has to work slowly or it won’t work at all. When you are placing boric acid baits all over your house, you need to understand it’s a slow process. If it’s working properly, you are going to see the ant population decrease in the first week. The problem might be solved by then, but it can take up to a month to deal with an entire colony.
Once the bait reaches the queen and it kills her, the colony will disband and you will have successfully solved part of the problem. But if too many ants find themselves in the aftermath, they will start another nest. That’s why you have to hope for a slow process. The more ants die before the queen, the better chance you have to fix your problem permanently.
Does boric acid work for ants alone?
Boric acid is an insecticide. If done correctly, boric acid bait will kill any insect that falls into the trap and feeds off it. It is especially useful for cockroaches problems, as they feed off the bait, die in their nest and other roaches -since they are cannibalistic- feed off the poisoned corpse, further spreading the boric acid. Boric acid will kill ants, cockroaches, termites and every insect you might find in your house.
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