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.
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
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
I have to say this seems like excessive obsession over eliminating a
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
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...
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.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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.
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.
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)
On Sun, 11 Jul 2010 14:59:09 -0400, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Roaches will ingest things that stick to their feet when they groom
themselves. That is why sprays work ... until they evolve immunity to
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.
On 7/11/2010 1:27 PM, email@example.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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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 260°F. This removes most of the water of
crystallization in the borax.
This solution is stable at 40°F 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
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.
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.