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

Most people don’t consider ants as a threat to their household but considering that ants have the potential to reproduce rapidly and establish large colonies within days they should not be taken lightly. Well-developed colonies of ants have the ability to cause massive structural and economical damage around the infested areas. 

Therefore, you should take immediate measures to eradicate ant colonies before they cause havoc in your household or yard. There are several ant killers available on the market and borax is certainly one of the best, most efficient, and inexpensive ways to get rid of ants.

Borax or sodium borate is an effective weapon for ant control. You can easily purchase commercial ant control products based on borax 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.

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 is a naturally occurring alkaline mineral. It is a compound of boron also known as sodium tetraborate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium borate. This mineral is found in arid regions such as beaches, saline lakes, and hot springs. Borax is collected by mining for commercial purposes mainly from the Southwest United States, Searles Lakes, and the areas where lakes evaporate seasonally.

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. It is considered one of the best weapons to treat ant infestation due to its effectiveness. 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 you select them according to the type of ants.  

Making accurate identification of the ant type will help you to get effective outcomes. As there are thousands of species of ants, they are categorized into different groups according to their food preferences. For example, we have sugar ants that love sugar (carbs) and grease ants that love oils and fats (protein). You may prepare multiple types of borax liquid or solid baits to select the best one for your house or yard.

How Does Borax Kill Ants?

How Does Borax Kill Ants

Borax is lethal for ants, the killing mechanism depends upon the methods you use to eradicate ant infestation such as ant baiting or 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 infestation you will see results approximately within a week.

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

Does Borax Kill Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ant infestation can cause serious structural damage in your house and lawn. These ants build their shelters in dark and damp places and prefer to live in wet woods.

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. If you see carpenter ants invasion in your house use borax baits, traps, or liquid insecticides to completely eradicate their infestation.

Is Borax Ant Killer Safe for Cats and Dogs?

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

In pets, borax may lead to problems with breathing or coughing. It is also toxic for bugs, cockroaches, rats, and fungus. Take protective measures and follow safety guidelines to avoid any mishap.

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.

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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 but they are not really the same. Borax is the salt of boric acid. It is a natural mineral collected through mining or from evaporated lake deposits.

Boric acid (or hydrogen borate) is prepared by combining borax with some mineral acid, for example, hydrochloric acid. However, both borax and boric acid can be used as an insecticide 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.

Sugar-Based Liquid Bait

To prepare liquid borax ant baits, take 1.5 cups of sugar, 1.5 cups of warm water, and 1.5 tablespoons of borax. Mix all the ingredients until they are dissolved and put the mixture into a container.

Soak the cotton balls in the solution. Place the bait near the nests and at the entry points of ants. Change the bait after it dries. Repeat the step to get rid of the entire ant colony.

Sugar-Based Solid Bait

To prepare a solid bait, mix 3 parts of sugar with 1 part of borax (3:1). 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.

Honey and Borax Bait

Take half a cup of honey and a quarter 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.

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

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...
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Harris Borax Liquid Ant Killer, 1oz - Includes 9 Bait Stations (1-Pack)
  • 9 Bait Stations Per Pack – Spread bait stations over a large...
  • Kills All Common Household Ants – Harris bait is intended for...
  • Contains Borax – Borax, a naturally occurring mineral powder,...
  • EPA Registered – Registered with the Environmental Protection...
  • Kills the Queen and the Colony – Because borax works slowly to...
Wondercide - Indoor Pest Control Spray for Home and Kitchen - Ant, Roach, Spider, Fly, Flea, Bug Killer and Insect Repellent - with Natural Essential Oils - Pet and Family Safe — Rosemary 32 oz
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  • EASY-TO-USE. This biopesticide made with plant-based ingredients...
Harris Carpenter Ant Killer & Termite Control Treatment, 128oz Spray
  • Versatile - For indoor and outdoor use as a spot or crack and...
  • Long Lasting - Keeps killing carpenter ants for 1 month after...
  • Ready to Use - Use the included trigger sprayer to effectively...
  • Odorless Formula - Odorless and non-staining formula will not...
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Safer Brand 51703 OMRI Listed Diatomaceous Earth - Ant, Roach, Bedbug, Flea, Silverfish, Earwig, & Crawling Insect Killer
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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.


Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, also known as sodium borate. It is collected from evaporated lake deposits at arid regions or through mining. Borax can be used as an insecticide or herbicide. It interferes with the digestive system of ants and eventually causes their death.

It is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to kill ants. You can use borax to treat both outdoor and indoor ant infestations. Do not apply it directly to your lawn otherwise, it can damage your plants.

There are a lot of ant killers that are available commercially which use borax as an active ingredient to kill ants. You can also purchase just borax and prepare homemade ant baits. Borax has a low toxicity level and it is effective against almost all types of ants.

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

List of Sources

McCollum P., Get Rid of Ants in Your Vegetable Garden, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Ants in the Home, Colorado State University Extension

Managing Household Ant Pests, Texas A&M AgriLife