Using borax to kill ants is probably not topping your to-do list right now. During the colder winter months in most of the country, ants aren’t marching across your kitchen counters like an army on its way to the mess hall. It’s easy to forget about them.
But with spring just around the corner, these tiny pests can invade your homestead without warning as soon as the weather starts warming up.
Getting rid of them poses a challenge, especially if you don’t want to expose your family, livestock, and other homestead animals to the dangerous chemicals used by most pest control companies.
Borax is an alternative to the chemical ant killers linked to health issues like cancer. It has a low toxicity level for humans, making it a better choice for ant infestations.
In this blog we’ll discuss:
- What is Borax?
- What are the health risks of using Borax to kill ants?
- Why are ants attracted to my homestead?
- What kinds of problems do ants cause in your home?
- How long does it take to kill ants with Borax?
- What types of ants does Borax kill?
- How do you make homemade Borax ant killer?
What is Borax?
Borax is a common household product that can be used to effectively control and eliminate ant infestations. It’s cheap and easily obtainable, which makes it a popular solution among homesteaders.
Also known as sodium borate, Borax has insecticidal properties that can interfere with an ant’s digestive system. You can use it in a homemade ant-killing Borax recipe or sprinkle it in places where you’ve seen ants in your home to discourage them from entering. Most ants won’t cross a Borax barrier.
Ants won’t eat Borax alone. You must mix it with something attractive to ants, like honey or sugar. We provide an easy Borax ant killer recipe later in this blog if you want to give it a try.
What are the health risks of using Borax to kill ants?
Use Borax with caution on your homestead. Yes, it’s a safer and more natural alternative to synthetic pesticides, but that doesn’t mean it’s without risk. Keep it away from your children and pets.
While it’s a low-toxicity substance, Borax can still be harmful if your children or pets eat large amounts of it. It causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In rare cases, it can cause death. So, make sure your children understand not to touch or taste any homemade Borax ant killer and keep it out of the reach of your other pets.
Additionally, Borax can irritate the eyes, respiratory system, and skin if you don’t handle it properly. Always wash your hands thoroughly after using it to avoid transferring it to your skin or eyes.
If you accidentally inhale or ingest Borax in large quantities, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.
Why are ants attracted to my homestead?
Ants are busy little pests. The worker ants spend most of their day hunting for tasty snacks to take back to the colony to share with their queens.
We expect to see ants when we’re eating outdoors, especially if we drop food on the ground or leave it out unattended. Most ants have a sweet tooth and can smell sugary substances up to 20 miles away. Those ants you see crawling across your counters could have come from the next homestead over if they smelled something of interest at your place.
It’s not just sugary foods they love. Ants also come running for protein and fats, which explains why they swarm on greasy cooking spills and canned pet food left sitting out.
Things you can do to make your homestead feel like less of a take-out restaurant for ants include:
- Cleaning up spills right away.
- Covering pet food in between mealtimes.
- Removing/repairing water sources like leaky faucets and pipes.
- Rinsing dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher or sink.
- Sealing all food storage containers tightly.
- Taking out the trash regularly.
What kinds of problems do ants cause in your home?
It’s never a good idea to ignore ants in the hopes they’ll go away on their own. Trust us, they won’t go without a fight once they’ve identified a reliable food or water source on your homestead.
Unlike other pests, ants aren’t directly harmful to humans. They don’t bite or sting. However, they can carry bacteria and other harmful pathogens on their bodies that contaminate food and other surfaces in your home.
Carpenter ants are particularly bad news for your homestead because they bore into wood, causing structural damage. There are 24 species of carpenter ants in the U.S.
Don’t wait until ants make you sick or cause damage to your home that requires costly repairs. Get rid of them quickly using Borax as an ant killer.
How long does it take to kill ants with Borax?
Using Borax as an ant killer doesn’t work immediately. It takes time for them to feed on the homemade Borax ant killer, take it back to their colonies, and infect their buddies.
The size of the colony also plays a role in how quickly they die off. Don’t be discouraged if you see ants continuing to come inside. Large colonies send backup workers when others die off, so it may take a few weeks before you don’t see any more traces of the tiny pests. For smaller colonies, you can expect using Borax as an ant killer to work within days.
If you want faster relief, sprinkle the Borax on areas where ants frequent your home. If you can find their entry points or trails, use Borax there for the best results. The ants won’t eat it, but they’ll still walk through it and carry the natural poison back to their colonies where it will infect their stored food sources. This method may not be the best approach if you have pets or young children who might get into the sprinkled Borax.
What types of ants does Borax kill?
One of the reasons Borax as an ant killer is so popular among homesteaders is because it works on all types of ants. All ants’ digestive systems work the same. It doesn’t matter if you have carpenter ants or tiny “sugar” ants. If you use Borax to kill ants, you’ll have success.
How do you make homemade Borax ant killer?
Ants are drawn to sweet and strong-smelling food sources. If you want to guarantee they’ll eat your homemade Borax ant killer, a surefire method is to mix it with honey. Not only is honey a preferred food source for the little pests, but its “stick factor” means they’ll also get it on their feet and bodies, taking even more of it back to their colony.
Making homemade Borax ant killer is super easy. You just need a few ingredients to pull it off. Before you know it, the ants will gobble it up and take some back to the colony for their friends. Within a few days or weeks, they should all be dead.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Borax powder
- Cotton balls (optional)
- Honey (store-bought is fine)
- Mixing bowl
- Small container or lid
- Stirring spoon
- Warm water
How to make it:
- In a mixing bowl, combine ¼ cup of Borax powder and ¼ cup of honey.
- Slowly add warm water to the mixture, stirring until it forms a thick paste.
- Transfer the mixture to a small container or lid. Alternatively, you can use cotton balls to soak up the mixture.
- Place the container or cotton balls in ant activity areas. Make sure you keep them away from children and pets.
- Reapply the mixture as needed until you don’t see any more ants.
That’s it. Super easy! If you’re patient and persistent, you can rid your homestead of ants in no time.
Can Borax also be used to make Super Greens Powder?
- 8 Interesting Facts About Ants. pestworld.org. Accessed February 16, 2023.
- Are Pesticides, Roundup, and Cancer in Children Connected? center4research.org. Accessed February 16, 2023.
- Carpenter Ant. nps.gov. Accessed February 16, 2023.
- Low Toxicity Substances. toxbase.org. Accessed February 16, 2023.
- Sodium borate. pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed February 16, 2023.
Get signed up to get latest updates and new information from the Jersey Milk Cow!