In the beginning, we had an ant problem

Do you have an ant problem? We do. And, over the last 16 years of living here, I have only found one solution to work: homemade borax ant poison. Living here in the Portland Metro area, someone once told me a section of town, they believed, was entirely built on an ant hill. I have lived in three areas of this town, and in only one of the five homes that I lived in, only ONE did NOT have an ant problem.

In one house, while we rented, we had our landlord call an eco-friendly exterminator. This entry-level job holder told us to follow the ant trails. So we did. He dealt with that one trail, and then there was another. I think at one point we counted at least three ant trails. The thing that finally seemed to work in that house was coating things in what ended up being a fine layer of diatomaceous earth. While this product is generally safe for humans and animals it can irritate the lungs, and it definitely irriated mine, so it wasn’t a great soultion for over the years.

The landlord eventually re-sided the house. When the contractors pulled off the old siding we found about 5 ant nests, which would explain the multiple trails we had. This house was built in 1912! So, I shouldn’t be too surprised that over the last 100 years, ants have found a way to make it their home too.

Researching a solution

Ants are great. When they are outside. Ants aerate the soil, which makes it easier for our plants to put down roots. I want ants outside. I do not want them in my home. The best advice I received for dealing with ants is to replace that wood under the siding on the exterior wall. After we saw all the ant nests… that validated this advice for me.

However, we don’t have the skillset to do that work. So, we need more effective temporary methods. I prefer to go green, especially in pest management. We tried a pest repellent oil, hot pepper, peppermint essential oil, more diatomaceous earth. Those didn’t work, so I gave up the green, and we even tried various poisons. When patching holes in the wall, we found some effects with dousing the interior with poison, but this is my least preferred method. Finally, a friend suggested making a homemade borax ant poison where you are mixing borax, sugar, and water. The argument is that borax is the main ingredient of most commercial ant poisons. Borax by itself has a very low toxicity. You can use borax to support your household cleaning like washing off counters or boosting the efficacy of your laundry soap. If you make your own laundry soap, borax can be a key ingredient.

Please use common sense when using naturally occurring substances like borax. In very large quantities it can be harmful. Some studies have shown it hinders the functionality of the male reproductive system. And for ants, and this is one reason why it’s included in so many pesticides, it removes their exoskeleton. So, you are murdering the ants so they are no longer in your home.

The fix

If you are open to some ant murder, keep reading. This is how I made up my recipe – and if you google borax ant killer – there are many.

  • First, I use a very small ramekin that’s about a ¼ cup in size.
  • Second, I grab a few tablespoons (you know the dinner consuming/soup kind). I spoon out two tablespoons of borax.
  • I get a new spoon and use about one tablespoon of granulated sugar.
  • I mix it up very gently and then add just enough water to dissolve everything together.
  • Finally, I set the trap near the current ant trail and let it do its work.

The results speak for themselves. Keep the trap out for a week and repeat as necessary. You want to keep the homemade borax ant poison out for a week to give it time for hte ants to carry it back to the nest and kill the queen.

Do you have another method that works? Please share! I am always looking for as eco-friendly as possible ways to manage pests. For more on some pest managment, you should check out what we did many moons ago to take care of our poplar problem.

References

Borax Ant Poison Instructions
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