Borax and boric acid are essentially the same thing. Both materials contain the element boron. Usually, Borax is mined and refined from tourmaline, kernite, and colemanite. Boric acid is mined from the mineral sassolite. In general, the two materials act the same and, in theory, can control pests equally well (although that wasn’t my personal experience).
The way that these materials work is by eroding the waxy coating on an insect’s skin, which causes it to dehydrate and die. Usually, to get insects interested in the powder, you may have to add a bait to the powder, by mixing it with sugar, honey, jelly, peanut butter, or another tasty material. Wasps are attracted to boric acid-laced meats. Within a few days, the insects that touch or eat the powder will die.
Toxic Risks of Borax and Boric Acid
Although Borax and boric acid is a more natural pest control than the sprays available through your local pest control source, or at the grocery store, it is not non-toxic by any means. If you (or your children, or your pets) eat borax or boric acid, the powder can cause nausea, vomiting, throat swelling, and other health problems. If you (or they) eat too much, a hospital visit may be necessary. That’s never a good thing.
To use the material safely, apply the powder in cracks and behind appliances, and do not use within a child or pet’s reach. Some people also report success with using the powder as a barrier around the foundation of their home and in any openings leading into the house.
My Borax Pest-Control Experience
A few years ago, some of the small roaches, often known as German roaches, invaded our kitchen. They not only invaded the kitchen, but they also decided that our electronic items were the perfect nesting grounds. Needless to say, we wanted the pests gone as soon as possible.
Since we have a young child in the home, we wanted to avoid strong pesticides, if possible, so we tried using the Borax mixture to control the pests. We mixed the powder with sugar, just like most instructions say. We sprinkled the powder along the cracks and crevices of the walls in the kitchen. After a few days, nothing happened. I don’t think the powder killed a single roach. Perhaps we had the ratio of powder wrong, or maybe the roaches were too smart to eat the bait – but we saw exactly zero dead roaches after trying to use this pest control method.
Have you used Borax or boric acid to control pests in your home? Do you have any tips?