Boric Acid and Insects

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Hi,
I posted under a subject of termites about boric acid. I wanted to see what experiences people, who did not read that post, have had with boric acid for insect control. A friend has a termite problem on the 3rd floor (found droppings). Has anyone used boric acid for insect control? Did you take any safety measures using that product?
Thanks in advance for all input.
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I had great success with it in two crappy apartments 30 years ago. It takes a couple of weeks, but a liberal sprinkling behind cabinets, behind the stove, etc. was all it took to get rid of a rather impressive cockroach infestation.
This stuff is not particularly toxic to humans - you'd have to eat a whole lot of it before you got sick. I didn't take any particular precautions while applying it, and, being that it was only behind and under things, it wasn't possible to come into contact with it afterwards.
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DebbieOney wrote:

It's renowned by many; I've never seen it have much effect at all, personally. I've never heard of it even being attempted to use for termites.
I have to say this seems like excessive obsession over eliminating a problem. :(
If, indeed there are termites, as many said in the other thread you first have to determine which variety it is and deal with it appropriately.
Most likely in most of the US is that they are subterranean and if are indeed infesting a 3rd floor apartment in all likelihood they're also in both the 1st and 2nd as well and the whole building will need treatment.
If that is what they are, they have to have a source of water and generally that is back at a ground location or somewhere that has a water leak or collection from poor drainage or maintenance. They build mud tunnels and traverse from the nest to the location within the building at which they are found; finding and eliminating the nesting site and fixing the related issues is imperative; simply placing a local poison of whatever type to get a few of the visible adults will solve nothing.
As was also noted in the other thread, properly used and handled, pesticides are not particularly dangerous. It is only the misuse or the use of inappropriate or failing to take sensible precautions as directed that has any significant likelihood of causing any problems at all.
Again, worrying about the product to use is the last step here, not the first. As you are approaching the problem if your neighbor/friend really does have a termite problem (certainly not conclusive to be so) he/she/they are going to have no success unless as noted begin with ascertaining what the problem actually is and where. Period.
If, otoh, it's a misidentified ant or somesuch, scattering a few boric acid crystals around _might_ discourage them but the odds aren't good of that either ime...
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Boric acid is a very effective home remedy for common ants.
I would not consider it an option for a termite infestation.
I might consider a proprietary formulation for self application on a *very* localized problem in a shed or piece of furniture, for example. But if your home is at risk, I think professional treatment is a sound investment.
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dpb wrote:

Boric acid is effective against SOME pests and for different reasons. Ant bait with b.a. is carried to the nest and fed to the colony. Some people recommend mixing dry b.a. with a fatty substance for ant bait, but ants don't consume dry b.a., thus the sugar/syrupy mixture. It is used to treat carpet to keep flea eggs from hatching .. or kill them as they hatch? Some people use b.a. as a barrier against roaches...would be nice around a building, if it worked, but it is also water soluble so disappears in the rain.
Termites do not leave their tunnels, unless they make mating flights, and ALWAYS avoid light...you cannot put b.a. any place that will kill them.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote: ...

The wife insists on keeping on trying it as above but it's not until I come in when she's not around w/ the Amdro or other bait that the problem ever is resolved...
Again, ime, ymmv, etc., etc., etc., ... but I put very little credence in the effectiveness. I suspect it's the ineffectiveness of the homemade delivery system rather than if one could get the little buggers to actually take the BA, but they're too busy w/ the bait to bother w/ the payload... :)

Indeed; I thought I told OP essentially that????
Altho, of course, one needs first still to determine what the pest actually is first which I don't have much confidence in in this case as having yet been done.
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clipped

Well, OP keeps askin' :o) One comment about termites on a third story seemed to assume they could not be subterranean termies...Formosan termites have eaten half of New Orleans, and I believe there is a newer import going around Florida. Statistics about termite damage might be a tad misleading, with the Formosan's (subterranean) doing so much damage, it looks like there are no other serious problems. Florida is full of blue tarps for fumigation in spring and summer, but folks here are so accustomed to termites they probably recognize them sooner and get them before much damage is done. We probably have a lot more lousy contractors cheating on building practices and leaving structures open...condos on both sides of us were tented before they were 5 years old. Another nearby, when it was two years old. Mebbe we import infested lumber along with our Chinese drywall :o)

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I want to thank all for their comments. I will pass them on.
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On Sun, 11 Jul 2010 12:51:42 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

The reason Boric Acid works on roaches is that, in spite of the perception, they are pretty clean insects. They end up licking their feet like a cat and ingest the poison.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I've read that they avoid it unless mixed with food.
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On Sun, 11 Jul 2010 14:59:09 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

Roaches will ingest things that stick to their feet when they groom themselves. That is why sprays work ... until they evolve immunity to the poison. I am even noticing the "Palmetto bugs" (American cockroach) in Florida is becoming immune to a lot of the poisons.They used to be easy to kill. Pretty soon they will be as bad as those nasty little European and Asian roaches you see in the city.
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On 7/11/2010 1:27 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That's why diatomaceous earth kills them. When they run their legs over their shell, the diatomaceous earth scrapes the wax off which hold moisture in their bodies, the roach will soon dehydrate and die.
TDD
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On Sun, 11 Jul 2010 14:15:11 -0500, The Daring Dufas

You Betcha! The DE _needs_ to be food grade (farm supply).
DE for pools is heated and that takes the fossil edges off.
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On Sun, 11 Jul 2010 07:22:00 -0700 (PDT), DebbieOney

If you really have termites, call a pro. There is not really any way for a homeowner to deal with them. Boric acid will be of little use because you have no way to get it into their food stream. The food is your house.
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We used a clear,brush-on liquid that was mainly Borax when we discovered termites in the wall behind a tile \ tub enclosure. We tore down the tile and the wallboard, took out the tub, and saw the critters in the studs. After getting all of the tile and wallboard debris out, and letting the studs and surrounding area dry - we doused the studs and whatever that piece of wood is called that lays horizontally along the concrete slab with this borax stuff, let it dry, and then used a tub\shower insert instead of doing it over with tile. I believe the idea is that the temintes eat the wood that's infused with Borax, and they die.
I've also used a dry Borax powder in crawl-spaces near food pantrys and water-sources and haven't seen an ant here in almost 7 years.
wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Their food can be anything with cellulose...wood, paper, furniture, shrubs and trees...overhanging tree limbs infested with termites would be a very good way for termites to infest the upper limits of a structure. Not as noticeable in attics, either. Plumbing access areas also good...often not sealed and often have water-damaged wood that termites like.
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Straight boric acid is not going to work. Boric acid is an ingredient in several termiticides. Here's what I use: BORATE WOOD PRESERVATIVES:
COMMERCIAL AND HOME-BREWED
Commercial:
Tim-Bor: Solid sodium octaborate; dissolves in water to make approx. a 10% solution containing 6.6% borate (B2O3); about $13/lb. Covers about 200 sq ft.
Bora-Care: 40% solution of sodium octaborate in ethylene glycol; 27% borate content; $90/gal. for the concentrate.
Home-Brew Water Solution of Borates:
Based on U.S. Navy spec. of 60% borax-40% boric acid (this ratio gives the maximum solubility of borates in water);
#1. This is equiv. to Tim-Bor... 6 parts of borax and 4 parts of boric acid.
To prepare one gallon of a 10% solution, start with an oversize container (larger than 1 gallon ) add 1 lb. of powder to appx 3 qts of water agitating until the powder has dissolved, then add additional water to end up with 1 gallon of mix. To prepare a 15% solution, add 1.5 lbs. of powder, then add the remainder of the water and mix as previously. Approximately 1 gallon of solution will be needed to treat 200 square feet of wood surface area. (Note: solutions should be used immediately and not stored.) .
EXAMPLE: Prepare 5 gallons of 10% solution:
Add four (4) gallons of clear, warm water to a six-gallon bucket.
Add five (5) lbs. of powder while gently stirring.
Add enough water to bring the final volume to 5 gallons, and continue to stir until all of the powder has dissolved.
Agitate the solution briefly at the beginning of each spray job, or after the solution has been standing for an extended period.
Do not spray or spill onto soil or foliage.
Apply two applications of a 10% solution to wood surfaces by brush or spray. Apply one application of a 15% solution to wood surfaces by brush or spray. Applications may be made to wood structures including decks, fences, steps, sheds, barns and other out-buildings.
#2: This is equivalent to Bora-Care
Prepare the concentrate:
Mix 1 Gallon glycol antifreeze, 4 1/2 pounds borax, 3 1/2 pounds boric acid.
Mix the ingredients and heat till boiling gently. Boil off water until a candy thermometer shows 260F. This removes most of the water of crystallization in the borax.
This solution is stable at 40F and has a borate content of 26%. This is equivalent to Bora-Care at about $90/gal. for the concentrate. The concentrate must be diluted with an equal volume of water before being applied.
Application: Add 1 gallon of water to every gallon of concentrate and stir thoroughly until solution is completely uniform. Always use diluted within 24 hours after mixing. If kept for longer periods of time, the active ingredient can drop out of the solution.
Note: is toxic to plants and shrubbery; if necessary, cover plants, root systems and surrounding soil with plastic to avoid contamination. Apply only to bare wood. Remove any finish or water repellent coating before applying . Wood surfaces should be free of dirt and other contaminates. Apply diluted by spray or brush to all exposed wood surfaces. It may occasionally be necessary to apply more than one coat of to attain the recommended application rate. This is especially true for larger, smooth surfaced wood members. Wood surfaces should be allowed to dry for at least 2 hours between applications. Do not apply in the rain or snow. If inclement weather is expected, protect exposed treated surface with a plastic tarp for at least 24 hours after treatment. One gallon of concentrate will treat up to 800 board feet of wood. Only diluted should be applied to any wood surface. Prior to application, check wood surfaces for an existing water repellent finish by spraying a small amount of water onto the surface of the wood or logs. If the water beads up or is not absorbed into the wood, a finish is present which must be removed before applying the diluted solution.

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This is a good specific insecticide for carpenter ants. Many ants carry food home to the nest where it is shared. Boric acid then blocks their digestion so that all die. It is sold in powder form by pharmacies and prepared as an insecticide by dissolution in sugar water (dilute syrup) which ants like. The liquid is lightly smeared along known ant routes. Boric acid is unlikely to harm cats and dogs, and can usually be smeared in places pets cannot reach.
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Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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You're an idiot. Call a pro.
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On 7/11/2010 9:22 AM, DebbieOney wrote:

termites don't leave droppings. They do leave mud tubes however.
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Steve Barker
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