How To Kill Ants With Borax

When faced with an ant infestation, knowing how to effectively eliminate them is crucial. One popular and cost-effective method is using borax, a naturally occurring mineral compound. Borax acts as a slow-acting poison that disrupts the ants’ digestive systems and ultimately eradicates the colony.

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Understanding Borax

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a natural mineral compound commonly used for ant control. It acts as an effective and environmentally friendly method to deter and eliminate ants, making it a popular choice among homeowners. When ants come into contact with borax, it disrupts their exoskeleton and causes dehydration, ultimately leading to their demise by absorbing the waxy layer on their exoskeleton, leading to water loss through their body surface. Borax can be used as a bait or mixed with other ingredients to attract ants and deliver the compound to their colonies, effectively spreading it to other ants and the queen. This gradual exposure disrupts the ant colony, leading to its eventual elimination. Its efficacy in ant control has made borax a trusted solution for managing ant infestations in homes and gardens.

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Is Borax Safe To Use For Ant Control?

Borax is generally considered safe for ant control when used properly. However, precautions should be taken to prevent accidental ingestion by humans or pets, as excessive consumption can lead to health issues. When using borax for ant control, it is important to mix it with bait ingredients that attract ants while diluting the concentration of borax. This ensures that ants carry small amounts of borax back to their colonies, effectively spreading it to other ants and the queen. The gradual exposure to borax disrupts the ant colony, leading to its eventual elimination.

While borax is relatively safe for ant control, it should not be used indiscriminately or in areas accessible to children or pets. It is essential to read and follow the instructions provided with commercial ant baits or consult with professionals for appropriate usage guidelines. Additionally, it is recommended to store borax in a secure location away from children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion or exposure.

The Science Behind Borax And Ants

How Does Borax Kill Ants?

The active ingredient in borax, boron, interferes with the ant’s metabolic processes and disrupts its digestive system. When ants ingest borax, it reacts with their stomach acid, releasing boric acid, which is toxic to them. Boric acid affects the ant’s ability to digest food properly, leading to starvation and eventual death. The slow-acting nature of borax allows worker ants to carry the compound back to the colony, where it spreads to other ants, including the queen, effectively eradicating the entire ant colony over time.

Is It True That Ants Can Develop Resistance To Borax?

There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that ants can develop resistance specifically to borax. Borax acts through a physical mechanism, disrupting the ant’s exoskeleton and affecting its digestive system, rather than relying on chemical toxicity alone. This makes it less likely for ants to develop resistance since it targets fundamental physiological aspects of ants’ biology.

However, it is important to note that ant species may vary in their susceptibility to borax. Some species may be more tolerant or less attracted to borax baits compared to others. Additionally, improper application or dilution of borax can reduce its effectiveness, allowing ants to survive or find alternative food sources. It is crucial to use borax properly, following recommended instructions and using appropriate concentrations to ensure its efficacy in controlling ant infestations.

DIY Ant Control: Creating Homemade Ant Killer With Borax

How To Make A Homemade Ant Killer With Borax

Creating a homemade ant killer using borax is a cost-effective and convenient solution for ant control. Follow these steps to make a basic borax ant bait with specific measurements:

You will need 1 tablespoon of borax, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Borax can usually be found in the laundry detergent aisle of grocery stores. In a clean container, combine 1 tablespoon of borax and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir the mixture well to ensure it is thoroughly blended. Slowly add 1/2 cup of water to the mixture while stirring. Continue stirring until the borax and sugar are completely dissolved, creating a thick paste or syrup-like consistency.

Apply the homemade ant killer near ant trails, entry points, or areas where ants are frequently seen. You can use small containers, cotton balls, or makeshift bait stations using bottle caps or jar lids. Ensure that the bait is accessible to the ants but kept out of reach of children or pets. Regularly check the bait and replenish it as needed. Ants will be attracted to the sweet sugar bait and carry it back to their colony, spreading it to other ants, including the queen, thus maximizing its effectiveness in eradicating the entire colony.

The Most Effective Borax-to-Sugar Ratio For Killing Ants

The optimal ratio of borax to sugar in ant baits depends on the preferences and feeding habits of the ant species being targeted. In general, a ratio of 1 part borax to 3 parts sugar is often recommended as a starting point. This ratio provides a balance between attractiveness to ants (through the sugar) and sufficient concentration of borax to effectively eliminate them.

However, it’s important to note that different ant species may have varying preferences for sugar or other food sources. Adjustments to the ratio may be necessary if the ant infestation persists or if specific ant species show little interest in the bait. It may require some experimentation to find the most effective ratio for the specific ant species you are dealing with.

Can Borax Be Used For All Types Of Ants, Including Carpenter Ants?

Borax-based ant baits can be effective against many common ant species, including household ants. However, when dealing with certain ant species like carpenter ants, additional measures may be necessary. Carpenter ants have different dietary preferences and habits compared to sugar-seeking ants. They are more attracted to protein-based baits rather than sugar-based ones.

While borax can still be used as an active ingredient in carpenter ant baits, incorporating protein-rich ingredients like peanut butter or canned tuna alongside the borax and sugar mixture can enhance the bait’s effectiveness against carpenter ants.

It’s important to note that carpenter ants are generally more difficult to control compared to other ant species, as they can establish nests in wood structures and cause structural damage. If you are dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, it is recommended to consult with a professional pest control service to properly identify and address the issue. They can provide targeted strategies and treatments to eliminate carpenter ants effectively.

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Application Of Borax For Ant Control

How To Apply Borax For Ant Control In The Home, Specifically In The Kitchen

With the right approach and proper application techniques, borax can help you reclaim your kitchen from unwanted ant invaders. To effectively control ants in the kitchen using borax, follow these steps:

Identify Ant Trails And Entry Points

Observe the ants’ movement and locate their trails and points of entry into your kitchen. Common entry points include gaps in windows, doors, or cracks in the walls.

Prepare The Borax Ant Bait

Create a borax ant bait mixture by combining equal parts borax and a food attractant that ants are attracted to, such as sugar, honey, or syrup. For example, you can mix 1 teaspoon of borax with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Place The Bait Near Ant Activity

Apply small amounts of the borax ant bait near the ant trails or entry points in your kitchen. Use disposable containers, bottle caps, or cotton balls to hold the bait. Ensure that the bait is easily accessible to the ants but kept out of reach of children and pets.

Monitor And Replenish

Regularly check the bait and replenish it as needed. Ants will be attracted to the sweet bait and carry it back to their colony, spreading it to other ants, including the queen, thereby eliminating the entire colony.

Can Borax Be Used Outside To Kill Ants?

Yes, borax can be an effective solution for controlling ants outdoors. When using borax for outdoor ant control, it is important to identify the ant trails and nests in your outdoor areas. Look for signs of ant activity, such as ant mounds or cracks in the pavement where ants are frequently seen.

To apply borax for ant control outside, you can create borax ant baits by mixing borax with a suitable food attractant for outdoor ants. A protein-based substance like peanut butter or canned tuna works well as an attractant. The recommended ratio is usually 1 part borax to 3 parts attractant.

Place the borax ant bait near the ant trails, nests, or areas with high ant activity. Use small containers or create bait stations using plastic lids or shallow dishes. It is important to protect the bait from rain or direct sunlight to ensure its effectiveness.

Regularly monitor the bait and replenish it as needed. Ants will be attracted to the bait, consume it, and carry it back to their colony, effectively spreading it and eliminating the ant population. Keep in mind that outdoor ant control may require more time and patience due to the larger foraging areas and potential multiple ant colonies.

Specifics On Applying Borax For Ant Control In The Garden

In the garden, borax can be used to control ants effectively. Start by identifying ant nests and trails in your garden, which may include anthills, soil mounds, or areas with visible ant activity.

To apply borax for ant control in the garden, create a borax ant bait mixture using an appropriate attractant. Sugar water can be used as a sweet attractant or, for ants with a preference for protein, mix borax with a protein-based substance like peanut butter. The ratio is typically 1 part borax to 3 parts attractant.

Apply small amounts of the borax ant bait near the ant nests, trails, or areas with high ant activity in your garden. You can use small containers, shallow dishes, or create bait stations using bottle caps. Ensure that the bait is protected from rain or irrigation to maintain its efficacy.

How Often Should I Reapply Borax For Effective Ant Control?

The frequency of borax reapplication depends on various factors, such as the severity of the ant infestation and the effectiveness of the bait. As a general guideline, it is recommended to check and replenish the borax ant bait every 2-3 days for optimal effectiveness. This timeframe allows enough time for ants to consume the bait, carry it back to their colony, and distribute it among other ants, including the queen.

It’s important to note that each ant colony and infestation is unique, so you may need to adjust the reapplication frequency based on your specific situation. Regular monitoring and observation of ant activity will help you determine if the bait needs to be replenished more frequently. Additionally, maintaining good sanitation practices, such as keeping the kitchen clean and eliminating food sources, will complement the effectiveness of the borax ant bait in achieving long-term ant control.

Precautions And Risks Associated With Using Borax

When using borax for ant control, it is important to be aware of the precautions and risks associated with its use. While borax is generally considered safe when used correctly, it is crucial to take necessary precautions to protect pets, children, and plants. In the event of accidental ingestion by pets or concerns about plant safety, seeking guidance from a veterinarian or gardening expert is advisable. By understanding and following these precautions, you can use borax effectively and safely in your ant control efforts.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Using Borax Around Pets And Children?

Yes, there are potential risks associated with using borax around pets and children. Borax is generally considered to have low toxicity to humans and animals when used as directed. However, it is still important to take precautions to minimize any potential risks.


While borax is generally safe when used properly, it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea if ingested by pets in large quantities. Some pets may be more sensitive to borax than others. To mitigate risks, it is advisable to keep pets away from areas where borax has been applied for ant control. Restrict their access to the treated areas and consider using alternative methods or pet-friendly ant control products in spaces where pets frequently roam.


Borax should be kept out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion. Children have a tendency to explore their environment and may mistake borax for something edible. It is recommended to store borax securely in a locked cabinet or in a place that is inaccessible to children. Additionally, always supervise children when using or applying borax for ant control and educate them about the potential dangers of ingesting or playing with the substance.

What Precautions Should I Take While Using Borax For Ant Control?

Using borax for ant control requires taking precautions to ensure the safety of pets and children. While borax is generally considered to have low toxicity, it is important to minimize risks. Keep pets away from areas where borax has been applied to prevent ingestion and consider using pet-friendly ant control alternatives. Store borax securely and out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion. Always supervise children during the application of borax and educate them about the potential dangers. By being mindful of these precautions, you can safely use borax for ant control in your home.

What Should I Do If My Pet Accidentally Ingests Borax Used For Ant Control?

If your pet accidentally ingests borax that was used for ant control, it is essential to take immediate action. First, remove your pet from the area where the borax was ingested. Next, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control helpline for guidance. Provide them with information about the product, including its ingredients and concentration, to help them assess the situation accurately.

Follow the instructions provided by the veterinarian or helpline, which may include monitoring your pet’s symptoms, inducing vomiting, or seeking immediate veterinary care depending on the severity of the ingestion. Prompt response and professional advice are crucial to ensure the well-being of your pet in such situations.

Can Borax Harm Plants If Used To Kill Ants In The Garden?

When using borax for ant control in the garden, it is important to be cautious to prevent harm to plants. While borax can be effective against ants, improper use or excessive amounts can damage vegetation. To protect your plants, avoid direct contact with borax with foliage, and instead, apply it near ant trails or nests. Use the recommended ratios and concentrations, and refrain from sprinkling it directly on plants.

After application, water the area to disperse the borax and minimize potential harm. Monitor your plants closely for any signs of damage, and if observed, discontinue the use of borax and consider alternative ant control methods. When in doubt or dealing with sensitive plant species, seeking advice from a local gardening expert can provide valuable guidance for safe ant control in your garden.

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Other Pest Control Benefits Of Borax

Borax is not only useful for ant control but also demonstrates effectiveness against various other pests. It is important to understand that the effectiveness of borax against these pests may vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the specific species involved. For severe pest problems or persistent infestations, it is advisable to consult with a professional pest control service to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment options.


Borax can be an effective natural solution for controlling cockroach infestations. Similar to ants, cockroaches are attracted to the sugar content in borax-based baits. When ingested, borax disrupts their digestive system and leads to their demise. By placing borax bait in areas where cockroaches frequent, such as dark corners, cracks, and crevices, you can target and reduce their population.


Borax is also effective against silverfish, which are small, wingless insects that thrive in dark and damp environments. Silverfish are attracted to the starchy component of borax-based baits. When they consume borax, it interferes with their metabolism and causes dehydration, ultimately killing them. By strategically placing borax bait in areas where silverfish are commonly found, such as bathrooms, basements, and closets, you can help control their population.


Borax can be used as part of a comprehensive approach to control fleas in your home. While borax alone may not entirely eliminate a flea infestation, it can be effective in reducing their numbers. Borax works by dehydrating the fleas’ exoskeletons and interfering with their life cycle. Sprinkling borax on carpets, upholstery, and pet bedding, followed by thorough vacuuming, can help control flea populations and disrupt their reproduction.

Bed Bugs

Borax is not considered a primary treatment for bed bug infestations but can provide some degree of control when used in conjunction with other bed bug management methods. Borax acts as a desiccant, drying out the bed bugs’ exoskeletons and causing them to perish. However, it is important to note that bed bugs are highly resilient pests, and professional pest control may be necessary for complete eradication.


While borax is not as effective as dedicated termite control methods, it can act as a deterrent and aid in preventing termite infestations. Borax-treated wood or borax-based solutions can be applied to susceptible areas or used as a preventive measure during construction to deter termite activity.

Comparing Borax To Commercial Ant Killers

Borax, a common household substance, can be an effective and affordable option for ant control. When comparing borax to other commercial ant killers, it’s important to consider factors such as effectiveness, long-term control, safety, cost, and ease of use. Borax-based ant baits offer a balance of effectiveness, affordability, and safety. While they may not provide immediate results like some chemical insecticides, they can achieve long-term control by targeting the entire ant colony. Let’s compare borax to some popular commercial ant killers to understand how they differ:

Borax-Based Ant Baits

Borax-based ant baits, such as Terro Liquid Ant Bait, are designed to attract ants with a combination of borax and sweet substances. The ants consume the bait, carry it back to their colonies, and inadvertently distribute it to other ants, including the queen. Borax acts as a slow-acting poison, allowing the bait to reach the entire ant colony and achieve long-term control. Borax-based ant baits offer a cost-effective solution and are generally safe for use around pets and children when used as directed.

Chemical Insecticides

Commercial ant killers often include chemical insecticides, such as sprays, powders, or granules, that provide fast-acting and immediate results. These products usually contain active ingredients like pyrethroids or imidacloprid. While chemical insecticides can quickly kill ants on contact, they may not effectively target the entire ant colony or address the root cause of the infestation. They also carry a higher risk of toxicity and require careful application to avoid exposure to pets, children, and the environment.

Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol ant sprays, like Raid Ant & Roach Killer, deliver a targeted and immediate treatment. They are convenient for spot treatments and can be effective in killing ants on contact. However, similar to chemical insecticides, aerosol sprays may not provide long-term control or reach the entire ant colony. They should be used with caution, following safety instructions to minimize risks.

Gel Baits

Gel ant baits, such as Advion Ant Gel Bait, are formulated to attract ants and contain slow-acting insecticides. The gel baits can be applied in cracks, crevices, or along ant trails. Ants consume the gel and carry it back to the colony, spreading it to other ants. Gel baits can be effective in targeting the entire ant colony and achieving long-term control. However, they tend to be more expensive than borax-based ant baits.

Preventive Measures With Borax

Borax serves as an effective preventive measure against ants by creating physical barriers and using repellents made with borax, sugar, and other deterrent ingredients. Incorporating these measures, along with cautious use around pets and children, helps create an unattractive environment for ants and reduces the likelihood of infestations.

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Environmental Impact And Disposal Of Borax

When using borax as an ant killer, it is important to consider the environmental impact and proper disposal methods. Understanding the potential effects of borax on the environment and knowing how to responsibly dispose of unused borax can help minimize any adverse consequences.

Are There Any Environmental Impacts Of Using Borax As An Ant Killer?

Borax, when used responsibly and in moderation, generally has minimal environmental impact. However, it is still important to consider a few factors:

Water Contamination

Excessive use or improper disposal of borax can potentially lead to water contamination. Borax is soluble in water, and if large amounts are directly released into water bodies or drains, it can enter the aquatic ecosystem. This can have adverse effects on aquatic organisms. To minimize the risk of water contamination, it is crucial to use borax in recommended quantities and avoid disposing of it directly into water sources.

Non-Target Species

While borax primarily targets ants, it may have unintended effects on non-target species. If other organisms come into direct contact with borax, especially in high concentrations, it can be harmful to them. Therefore, it is important to use borax in areas where non-target species are unlikely to encounter it. Additionally, it is advisable to choose alternative ant control methods in sensitive environments, such as near bodies of water or protected habitats.

How To Properly Dispose Of Unused Borax

Proper disposal of unused borax is essential to prevent any potential environmental impact. By following these disposal guidelines, you can ensure that unused borax is handled responsibly and minimize any potential environmental impacts associated with its use:

Seal And Store

If you have unused borax powder or borax-based products, ensure they are stored in tightly sealed containers to prevent spills or leaks. This will minimize the risk of accidental exposure and contamination.

Follow Local Regulations

Check with your local waste management authority or municipality for specific guidelines on the disposal of borax. Different regions may have different regulations regarding the disposal of household chemicals and substances.

Solid Waste Disposal

In most cases, unused borax can be disposed of with regular household waste. Place the sealed container in your regular trash bin or follow the waste disposal guidelines provided by your local authorities.

Hazardous Waste Facilities

If you have a large quantity of borax or if it is classified as hazardous waste in your area, contact your local hazardous waste facility for proper disposal instructions. They can provide guidance on how to safely dispose of the borax and prevent any potential harm to the environment.

Enhancing Borax Efficiency And Alternatives

Can Borax Be Mixed With Other Substances For Improved Ant Killing Efficiency?

Yes, borax can be mixed with other substances to enhance its efficiency in killing ants. Combining borax with additional ingredients can attract ants more effectively or create a more potent ant-killing solution. Here are a few examples:

Sugar And Borax

Mixing borax with sugar is a common method to attract ants. The sweet scent of sugar entices ants to consume the mixture, and the borax acts as a slow-acting poison that eventually kills the ants. The sugar serves as a bait to ensure that ants consume the borax.

Honey And Borax

Similar to sugar, honey can be mixed with borax to create a more enticing bait. The stickiness of honey helps the mixture adhere to surfaces and prevents ants from simply carrying it away. This increases the chances of ants consuming the borax and being affected by its toxic properties.

Peanut Butter And Borax

Peanut butter is another ingredient that can be mixed with borax to attract ants. The strong smell and rich flavor of peanut butter lure ants, and when combined with borax, it becomes an effective ant-killing mixture.

Are There Alternatives To Borax For Diy Ant Control?

Yes, there are alternatives to borax for DIY ant control, especially for those who prefer not to use or have limited access to borax. Here are some popular alternatives:

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural sedimentary rock that can be effective in controlling ants. It works by physically damaging the ants’ exoskeletons, causing dehydration and eventual death. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas where ants are active, such as entry points or ant trails.

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils, such as peppermint, tea tree, or lemon oil, have ant-repellent properties. Dilute the essential oil of your choice with water and spray it in areas where ants are present or use it to wipe down surfaces. The strong scent of these oils disrupts ant trails and deters them from entering your home.


Vinegar is a readily available household item that can help repel ants. Create a vinegar solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water and use it to wipe down surfaces or spray it near ant trails and entry points. The strong smell of vinegar masks the ant’s scent trails and makes the area less attractive to ants.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another natural alternative that can deter ants. Sprinkle baking soda along ant trails or in areas where they are active. The alkaline nature of baking soda disrupts the ants’ scent trails and interferes with their communication, discouraging their presence.

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Purchasing And Usage Timeline

Where Can I Purchase Borax For Ant Control?

Borax is a commonly available product and can be purchased from various retail locations. When purchasing borax, ensure that you are buying pure borax and not a borax substitute or a product that contains additional ingredients. Pure borax typically comes in a white powder or crystalline form and is labeled as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate. Here are some common places where you can find borax:

Grocery Stores

Many grocery stores stock borax in the laundry detergent aisle or the cleaning products section. Look for brands like 20 Mule Team Borax or any other borax product available in your region.

Hardware Stores

Hardware stores often carry borax, as it has multiple uses beyond ant control. You can find it in the cleaning supplies or pest control sections of the store.

Online Retailers

Several online retailers offer borax for purchase, providing convenience and a wide range of options. Platforms like Amazon, Walmart, or other online stores allow you to browse and choose from different brands and quantities of borax.

How Long Does It Take For Borax To Kill An Ant Colony?

The time it takes for borax to kill an ant colony can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the colony, the ant species, and how effectively the borax is applied. Borax acts as a slow-acting poison, allowing affected ants to carry it back to the colony, where it spreads and affects other members.

In general, it can take several days to weeks for the borax to effectively eliminate an ant colony. Initially, ants may be attracted to the bait and consume it, but it takes time for the borax to disrupt the ants’ digestive systems and lead to their demise. Additionally, the entire colony may not be eradicated with a single application, as some ants may avoid the bait or remain unaffected.

Consistency is key when using borax for ant control. It is recommended to continue applying the borax bait or barrier until there is a significant reduction in ant activity. Monitor the treated areas regularly and replenish the bait if necessary. Persistence and patience are important, especially for larger or more established ant colonies.


Using borax for ant control can be an effective and affordable solution. By understanding how borax kills ants, creating homemade ant killers, applying it strategically in and around your home, and taking necessary precautions, you can effectively combat ant infestations. Borax offers a natural and environmentally friendly option that disrupts ant colonies and helps prevent re-infestation. However, it’s important to be mindful of its potential risks and limitations. If the ant problem persists or if you have concerns about using borax, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. Overall, with proper knowledge and application, borax can be a valuable tool in your battle against ants.

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