Oldies say the presence of ants in a house means luck. I never believed that crap. I understand that ants play an important role in ecology, that they hasten the decomposition of food and that they make the soil friendlier to plants when they bore and make holes.
But in and around the house — ants are pests. I don’t need them to decompose anything inside the house. In fact, what is there to decompose? Ants eat fresh food and make it inedible to humans.
Just last week, ants somehow managed to creep inside a tightly covered container of vegetable shortening. They ate their way through a thick plastic bag of glutinous rice. They were even in the mouth of vinegar bottles with screw-on caps. They embedded themselves in clothes hanging in a clothesline drying under the sun. It’s a nightmare.
When my husband, Speedy, came across information about how boric acid can effectively get rid of entire ant colonies, he took the trouble of locating chemical company to buy a bag of boric acid. He read and learned the preparation.
Sugar, boric acid, water, cotton balls. Speedy has soaked cotton balls in the boric acid-sugar solution and placed the cotton balls in strategic parts of the house away from the cats who may be adversely affected should they decide to lick the sweet fluffy things.
What’s the difference between Borax and boric acid, and which is really the preferred ingredient for homemade insecticide?
I read up a bit.
1. Boric acid is a weak acid of the chemical boron. Remember the periodic table from high school? Boron is on the upper right side. Boric acid is found in sea water, fruits and plants.
2. Borax is the salt of boric acid. It is commonly used for laundry as it is an effective stain remover.
It is boric acid, not borax, that is used for making insecticides.
How does boric acid get rid of ants?
Pesticide products containing Boric acid can act as stomach poisons in ants, cockroaches, silverfish and termites…Miami Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources
Will boric acid harm other animals?
Available studies indicate that technical boric acid is practically nontoxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates, and relatively nontoxic to beneficial insectsU. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Safe handling of boric acid
In mammals (including humans), boric acid is toxic IF ingested or inhaled in large quantities.
If you’re using the boric acid cotton balls solution to get rid of ants in and around your house, use protective gear: a face mask to avoid excessive inhalation and gloves to prevent skin contact which can cause irritation.
Did it work?
We were supposed to replace the cotton balls a few times before seeing substantial results. Considering how everything else had failed, we were really hopeful. The thing is, it only worked for a while. After a few weeks, the ants got wind of what we were trying to do and they just avoided the cotton balls.
Updated from a post originally published in May 19, 2013