Boric Acid & Ants

Controlling ants in and around your home can be extremely challenging. Many homeowners try various strategies and products to control ants, but most discover that a pest management professional (PMP) is the best choice for controlling ants. PMPs are the people with the knowledge, experience and access to the proper equipment and control products to get the job done effectively.

Boric acid baits are one of the most commonly tried methods for do-it-yourself ant control. This is not surprising since the Internet is full of suggestions and recipes for made-at-home boric acid ant baits. Most of the time, these baits are a waste of time and expense. While there are many ready-to-use boric acid ant bait products that are adequate performers, issues often arise when the homeowner makes boric acid baits using his own recipe.

Here are some of the problems:

  • Mixing boric acid with foods that are not attractive to the type of ant that you are trying to control. Generally using jelly and peanut butter are the most common bait materials. However, you must make the bait is moist enough to attract ants.
  • Often, there is little or no quality control with homemade boric acid baits. The concentration of boric acid in the bait is very important. To little boric acid results in bait that simply doesn’t kill the ants and too much boric acid causes the ants to die before they can share the bait with the queen, workers and other colony members. Also, too much boric acid may cause the ants to detect the presence of the boric acid and they simply will not feed on the bait.
  • A homeowner mixing or using boric acid baits must remember that boric acid can be harmful to adults and children if consumed by accident. So, problems may arise if mixing containers and countertops are not cleaned. Also, bait must be containerized and put out in places where children will not eat or otherwise make contact with the bait.
  • Boric acid baits generally take considerable to display results. After setting out boric acid baits, you may continue to see ant activity for perhaps 2-3 months, so using these baits requires a lot of patience and work to put out fresh bait every 2-4 weeks. Generally, using any ant bait requires patience, but using boric acid baits may require a prolonged waiting period before the ant problem is resolved.
  • If soil-infesting ants are the problem, baits containing boric acid cannot be applied directly to soils where plants are growing because boric acid may sterilize the soil if used in heavy doses.