Boric acid powder is a relatively safe natural product that can be used indoors or out to control a variety of insect pests, such as cockroaches and ants. It acts in two ways: first, as a stomach poison and second, the granules damage the insect’s exoskeleton. It is also believed to cause some nerve damage to insects that ingest it. Applying it in areas where insects can reach it will eventually kill the pests.
Boric Acid Basics
Boric acid can effectively eliminate pests from your garden and other outdoor areas. It should be protected from moisture, since if the powder gets wet it is much less effective. Apply it with caution, since boric acid can kill plants, and it doesn’t take much of it to do so. When you apply boric acid outdoors, mix the powder with sugar or jelly or another desirable food to create bait that will stay where you put it. If leaving it dry for use as a tracking powder, use it well away from plants.
Puffing the Powder
To apply boric acid powder to problem areas, purchase the product in a plastic container that dispenses it in puffs through a nozzle. This will make it easier to manage application. You can typically find it in grocery stores and hardware stores. Insert the nozzle into areas where pests hide, such as crevices or cracks in the exterior walls of buildings and fences. Apply one or two puffs to each area where you suspect the pests are living. Sprinkle a thin layer of powder on ant pathways to keep them away from your home or garden.
Make your own baits for pest control by mixing boric acid powder and any of a variety of food sources, such as honey, jelly or peanut butter – whatever your pests are likely to prefer. Sweet-eating ants will consume jelly or honey; grease ants prefer peanut butter. Cockroaches will eat almost anything, but prefer sweets, so try jelly or honey if you are targeting these pests. To make an effective bait, mix one part of pure boric acid powder with 50 to 100 parts of the chosen food. A good mixture would be 1 teaspoon of powder to 1 or 2 cups of bait food. Don't use too much or the insects may refuse to eat it. Place the bait on bits of aluminum foil in areas where the pests are present, such as in wall crevices, alongside or under outbuildings or near compost piles. Make certain the bait cannot be reached by children or pets.
Creating a Bait Station
You can easily make a bait station using sugar, water and boric acid powder to help control ants or roaches in a few easy steps.
Combine 1 teaspoon boric acid powder, 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 cups of water
Place the mixture in a small container with an open hole sized for access by insects, but not for pets or small wildlife.
Put the container near an ant hill or pathway used by ants or roaches.
Things You Will Need
- Boric acid
- National Pesticide Fact Center: Boric Acid Technical Fact Sheet
- New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences: Boric Acid in the Garden to Kill Roaches?
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: Cockroach Elimination
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Keeping it Clean: Pest Control, Roaches and Ants
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