Nobody enjoys having a house full of bugs, regardless of what kinds, and anyone who’s ever had ants in their home knows that where there are a few, there are a lot. They take over quickly, and whether they’re inside your home or invading your outside eating area, you probably don’t want them around anymore.
When it comes to getting rid of ants, there are many products that exist to kill them, but so many of them contain harsh chemicals that people don’t want in their homes. People have gone searching for more natural cures to their ant problems, but as with most natural remedies, people doubt the effectiveness of these remedies. One such remedy is Borax to be used for killing ants. People have been doing it for years, but it is still something that is questioned. Borax is a mineral that is mined from the ground, and it is often used in common household products like soap and toothpaste. So, does it really work to get rid of the tiny invading pests?
First, Borax must be mixed with something sweet in order to bait the ants into eating it. Some recipes call for sugar and warm water on a cotton ball, and others call for microwaved honey. If the sweets don’t work, you can try peanut butter. Make sure when putting out any Borax ant-killing recipe to lock up the cats and kids, as it is toxic for them (debatable how toxic, but probably not worth the risk). They can’t eat solids, so anything you mix the Borax with must be a liquid.
How Does This Work?
“When ants consume the borax bait, it interferes with their digestive system and gradually kills them. This slow kill allows time for the worker ants to consume the bait and head back to the nest to share with the rest of the colony and queen” (Terro).
Since most insect sprays kill the ants immediately, they’re typically ineffective because they never get all the way to the queen. This allows her to continue to populate her colony (and your home). The way that Borax works gets all the way into the colony, getting rid of the problem at its source.
Borax affects the bodies of insects much differently than those of humans.
“When an insect consumes boric acid, it poisons the stomach and affects the insect’s metabolism. The powder is also abrasive, further affecting the exoskeleton of the insect” (dengarden).
Studies suggest that borax specifically destroys ants’ gut microbes, which is why the metabolism is destroyed.
The Gardening Cook performed an experiment trying out multiple different homemade remedies for getting rid of ants alongside Terro ant killer. She performed the experiment trying Terro, and then she tried wiping down the counters with apple cider vinegar, and she also tried a sugar, water, and Borax mixture and the other mixtures shown in the picture of her experiment shown below. The most effective was the Terro (leading ingredient is Borax), and a close second was the sugar, water, and Borax mixture. These mixtures both were fairly successful in killing the ants and preventing them from coming back.
Image Credits: via The Gardening Cook
Videos all over YouTube show the effectiveness of killing ants with Borax, but I’ll spare you the visual (if you want to see them, just search it on YouTube; there are a bunch)! Another way to prove it works is by giving it a shot yourself. You can try it on ants inside or outside; just make sure you try both the sweet option and the peanut butter (microwaved) in case one works over the other.
If you have an ant problem (especially in the summer, like most of us) inside or outside, trying Borax is a solid option to replace chemical ant killers. Remember, in the very beginning of the process, you might see more ants than before because once some find the solution, they will flock there, but as they take it back to their colonies to share, you’ll begin to see the numbers diminish.