How to Get Rid of Ants with Borax | Step-by-Step Guide & Practical Tips

Written by George Climer | checkbox Reviewed by Articles on Pest Samurai undergo a rigorous evaluation process by our Science Editors. Each article is scrutinized prior to publication and upon significant updates. Learn more about Pest Samurai Editorial Process. Steve Vanatta

Borax or sodium borate is an effective weapon for ant control. You can easily purchase commercial borax-based ant baits, gels, traps, granules and more. Borax can be also used to prepare DIY liquid ant killer, baits, or traps by using simple ingredients from your kitchen cabinet.

So, how to get rid of ants with borax? First, identify the type of ant you’re dealing with. Next, prepare a bait based on the species and use a container to hold the bait. Lastly, follow ant trails and place the bait near their nests and at entry points in your house.

In the following section, we have provided a complete guide about borax for ant control. This includes methods for preparing natural borax ant killers at home and our recommendations on commercial ant killers based on borax. Let’s start!

Borax for Ants | Information

Borax for Ants | Information

Borax is a naturally occurring alkaline mineral. It is also known as sodium tetraborate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium borate. This mineral is collected from arid regions such as beaches, saline lakes, and hot springs, mainly from Southwestern U.S. for commercial purposes.

This compound is common in cleaning products such as detergents, soaps, toothpaste, and other cleaning products. Other than insecticidal purposes, it can also be used for the removal of fungus, as a weed killer, in cosmetics, and for flower maintenance.

However, it is not considered completely safe as the prolonged exposure of borax may lead to skin or eye irritation. It is advised to use masks and other personal safety equipment while using borax in your house. Keep the borax away from pets and children in order to avoid any mishap.

Does Borax Kill Ants?

Borax has a low toxicity level but it can be fatal for all types of ants. However, ants are not attracted to borax so you need to add ingredients in the borax to make the poison enticing for the ants. The additives can either be liquid or solids products and should be selected according to ant type.

There are thousands of species of ants with various food preferences. For example, we have sugar ants that love sugar (carbs) and grease ants that love oils and fats (protein). Making accurate identification of the ant type will help you to get effective outcomes.

How Does Borax Kill Ants?

How Does Borax Kill Ants

Borax is lethal for ants, the killing mechanism depends if you use it for ant baits or as a liquid insecticide. When you apply ant baits, the ants take the bait to their nests and consume it. The borax interferes with the digestive system of ants and as a result, the whole colony dies.

This is a slow-acting process but it gets rid of the entire ant colony. The queen also has to consume the bait in order for their colony to be eliminated. The survival of the queen is the survival of the colony. Therefore, the process requires patience and an effective working strategy.

On the other hand, direct treatment with liquid borax insecticide or borax powder can also help to eradicate ant infestation. When you directly apply liquid or solid borax insecticide on the ants it damages their exoskeleton and causes them to dry out which leads to their death.

How Long Does It Take for Borax to Kill Ants?

The time period of the ant extermination depends upon the level of infestation and the method that you are using to get rid of ants. Also, there are other factors such as bait placement. For smaller ant infestations, results are visible approximately within a week.

As for larger infestations, it may take a longer time and you may have to apply multiple baits at the entry point and near other shelter sites. You will see positive results after a few weeks of borax bait treatment for larger ant colonies.

Does Borax Kill Carpenter Ants?

Borax does kill carpenter ants and can be used for their control. Carpenter ants excavate wooden beams or other wooden work and have the potential to cause significant damage, especially in your house and lawn.

If you see carpenter ants in your house, use borax baits, traps, or liquid insecticides to completely eradicate their infestation. Again, effectivity is based on the severity of the infestation.

Is Borax Ant Killer Safe for Cats and Dogs?

Although borax has a low toxicity level, direct contact with it can cause harm to your cats and dogs. In humans, longer exposure to borax can result in skin or eye problems. Make sure to keep your children and pets away after the application of borax traps or baits in your house.

Where to Get Borax for Ants?

You can buy borax powder commercially from online shopping sites or from a store near your house at a cheap price. Here are some good products:

Sale 1
Borax 20 Mule Team Laundry Booster, Powder, 4 Pounds
  • Add 20 Mule Team All Natural Borax Laundry Detergent Booster to...
  • Use 20 Mule Team All Natural Multi-Purpose Household Cleaner to...
  • This 20 Mule Team all-purpose household cleaner removes soap...
  • 20 Mule Team Borax is an amazing, all-natural mineral found in...
  • This package contains one 65 Ounce box of 20 Mule Team All...
Sale 2
20 Mule Team All Natural Borax Detergent Booster & Multi-Purpose Household Cleaner, 65 Ounce, 4 Count
  • Add to laundry to help remove tough stains, deodorize and freshen
  • Wipe on counters and appliances to remove grease and grime and...
  • Removes soap scum, hard water deposits, and dirt
  • 20 Mule Team Borax is an amazing, all-natural mineral found in...
  • Families have been using Borax for all sorts of things such as...
Sale 3
Harris Borax Powder Laundry Booster and Multipurpose Cleaner, 1.5lb (Unscented)
  • Ultra Laundry Booster - Borax neutralizes the negative effects of...
  • Multipurpose - Use for cleaning projects around the house on...
  • Resealable Bag - Zipper allows the bag to be easily resealed for...
  • Scoop Included - Easy measure scoop makes adding a consistent...
  • Unscented - No fragrances or additives of any kind, just 100%...

It mostly comes in a partially dehydrated form, having soft white crystals. You can prepare borax insecticide in liquid or you can also directly sprinkle it over the ants to get rid of their colonies.

Can Borax Damage Your Lawn?

Borax is commonly used to eradicate ant invasions in residential areas or in backyards. Keep in mind that borax can be toxic for plants if not applied correctly.

You can apply borax solid or liquid baits both inside and outside but make sure to use a lid or container when you apply borax bait in your garden. Be careful while direct physical contact of borax on the ground can damage your plants as it also can act as a natural herbicide.

Borax vs Boric Acid for Ants

Borax is often confused with boric acid due to their similar white, powdery appearance, but they’re not the same. Borax is the salt of boric acid and is a natural mineral collected through mining or from evaporated lake deposits.

Boric acid or hydrogen borate, on the other hand, is prepared by combining borax with some mineral acid, for example, hydrochloric acid. Both borax can be used as insecticides for killing ants. Follow safety measures before treatment because boric acid is slightly more toxic than borax powder.

How to Get Rid of Ants With Borax | Borax for Ants

The best solution for preventing an ant invasion is to keep the ants out of your house or to tackle them at the early stages. Remove all the root causes that can lure ants into your house.

However, mishandled ant colonies can wreak havoc in your life. An easy, inexpensive, and effective way to get rid of ants is to use borax which is considered to be both a natural insecticide and herbicide.

Step 1: Identify the Type of Ant Species

Borax is one of the most used ant killers but alone it will not help in the eradication of ants. You need to add some type of ant attractant in the borax that can lure them out of their shelters.

There are some ant species that prefer sugary liquid borax baits instead of solid borax baits. Therefore, first carefully inspect the type of ant species, their behavior, and food preferences if you want excellent outcomes.

Step 2: Bait Containers

No matter which type of bait you prepare. You will need a container, lid, or a cotton ball to hold the bait at the target point. The process is slow acting but you will get positive results within a week.

Step 3: Application of the Ant Borax Bait

Homemade Borax Ant Killer Recipe

Locate the ant trails and place the baits at the entry points and near their nests. Borax works perfectly for almost all types of ants. Prepare multiple liquid and solid baits and keep track of which bait works the best.

The other reason for placing multiple types of baits is that the adult ants do not like solid bait and they will only digest liquid baits. On the other hand, larvae ingest solid food and have the ability to process it into a liquid that is later used by the queen.

Homemade Borax Ant Killer Recipe | Borax Ant Trap

Borax ant killer is a cheap and effective method for getting rid of ant colonies in houses or yards. The following are some of the DIY home ant killer recipes based on borax:

1. Sugar-Based Liquid Bait

To prepare liquid borax ant baits, take 1½ cups of sugar, 1½ cups of warm water, and 1½ tablespoons of borax. Mix all the ingredients until they are completely dissolved then put the mixture into a container.

Soak cotton balls in the solution and place the bait near the nests and at the entry points of ants. Change the bait regularly after it dries, especially if you have severe infestations. Repeat the step to get rid of the entire ant colony.

2. Sugar-Based Solid Bait

To prepare a solid bait, mix 3 parts of sugar with 1 part of borax. Sprinkle the sugar and borax powder near the shelters and trails of ants. Make sure to wear gloves during the process to avoid any skin problems. Evenly spread powder at all of the target areas to get rid of ants.

3. Honey and Borax Bait

Take ½ cup of honey and ¼ cup of borax to prepare gel bait for ants. Mix honey, and borax in 2 tablespoons of boiling water until it turns to a fine paste. Put this gel on a lid and place it near ant trails and shelters. You can also stick it using tape. Replace the bait after it dries.

4. Peanut Butter and Borax Bait

For grease or protein ants, peanut butter bait is more effective than sugar-based baits. Take 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and mix it with 2 tablespoons of borax until it all becomes a fine paste. 

Put the bait near the ant trails and shelters. To prepare the trap, put the mixture inside the jar and punch the holes on the lid of the jar. Mount the jar at the ground near the ant mound. It will prevent the contact of pets or kids with the borax bait.

Best Borax Ant Killers | Commercial Products

Nisus Dominant Ant Bait Liquid Borate Ant Poison,(0.473 liters), Packaging May Vary
  • Kills most common household ants
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • No foul odors
  • Super-sweet bait lures ants quickly
  • Easy application, just apply near trailing ants
TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer, 12 Bait Stations
  • Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including...
  • Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants...
  • Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the...
  • Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants,...
  • Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where...
Sale 3
TERRO T600 Ant Dust Powder Killer for Indoors and Outdoors - Kills Ants, Fire Ants, Carpenter Ants, Roaches, Spiders, and Other Insects
  • Effectively Kills Insects - Kills ants (including fire &...
  • Waterproof Formula - The waterproof dust won't wash in the rain
  • Fast Acting & Long Lasting - This dust kills insects on contact...
  • Easy to Apply - The convenient shaker canister allows for both...
  • Use Indoors & Outdoors - Apply in cracks and crevices, around...
Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Powder Roach & Ant Killer - (2-Pack) 16 oz - Easy to Spread Ant and Cockroach Killer Indoor Home
  • PUT THE PESTS IN THEIR PLACE: Boric acid ant and roach powder...
  • PROTECT YOUR HOME IN EVERY WAY: Boric acid is a non-staining and...
  • UNDETECTED ROACH AND ANT PEST CONTROL: Discreetly keep up with...
  • DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Shake well and twist the cap until fully...
  • SAFETY: Apply boric acid powder for bugs only in areas...
HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder w/Lure for Insects (16oz)
  • Long Lasting - Continues to kill roaches, palmetto bugs, water...
  • Fast Acting - Insects coming into contact with the powder will...
  • Easy Application - The puffer bottle makes application quick and...
  • Contains Irresistible Lure - Harris food grade lure attracts...
  • EPA Registered - Made in the USA & Registered with the...

List of Ant Species That Borax Can Kill

Borax can be used to eradicate almost all types of ant and various other pests such as bugs, cockroaches, rats, and others. Borax can treat pavement ants, ghost ants, thief ants, fire ants, crazy ants, little black ants, Pharaoh ants, odorous house ants, acrobat ants, carpenter ants, mound ants (other sugar ants), etc.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Safe and Effective Methods

List of Sources

Cranshaw, W. S. (2017). Ants in the Home
Drees, B. M. (2014). Managing Household Ant Pests.
McCollum, P. (n.d.). Get Rid of Ants in Your Vegetable Garden.