Getting rid of ants: boric acid or borax?

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, they 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 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, learned the preparation and basically followed the instructions in the video below.

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.

There are other videos that use a solution of Borax and sugar like this one below.

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. It is toxic, you need protective gear to handle it and under no circumstances should you ingest or inhale it. Other than that, it is “safe.”

As insecticides, some act as stomach poisons in ants, cockroaches, silverfish and termites, while others abrade the exoskeletons of insects…

Available studies indicate that technical boric acid is practically nontoxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates, and relatively nontoxic to beneficial insects. [EPA R.E.D. Facts]

Per the instructions in the first video, we’re supposed to replace the cotton balls a few times before seeing substantial results. Considering how everything else has failed, we’re really hopeful.

Stock photo of red ant from Pixabay