Testing 5 Borax Ant Killer Remedies – Which ones Work?

Every so often, my kitchen gets a trail of ants in it.  No matter how much I try to keep it clean, they seem to reappear, especially when it rains.  During dry times, I don’t see them much. We had a big rain storm this week, so now I have the task of getting rid of these pests.

I recently test five ant killers. Find out which one works best.I have read on the internet, and particularly on Pinterest,  about all sorts of Home made ant killer recipes.  Some say to use honey, some sugar, some confectioner’s sugar and some peanut butter. Some say to water them down, some don’t.  Most say to use Borax.

And of course, I have tried the gel that you can buy at Home Improvement stores which is pricey to say the least.  Finally, I decided to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

Do you have a problem with ants?  If you do, I’m sure the first thing you think is to call the exterminator or see what is available for poisons to get rid of them.  But wait!  Before you do that, save yourself some time and trouble, and the chemicals by reading my experiences.

Store bought Terro Ant Killer Liquid

My first course of treatment was the conventional Terro ant gel sold at hardware stores and at Amazon.com.  (affiliate link) I tried a different variety of it in Australia and it worked beautifully. 

Terro Ant Killer also uses Borax as a main ingredient

But every brand that I have tried here in the US gave me so so results at best. Terro was the one most mentioned as effective so I tried it.  Surprisingly, Terro has borax as a main ingredient too.  Terro was pretty good for attracting the ants but needed replacing daily so it is most expensive.

At this point I decided to try home made ant killer remedies.  Reading about all the remedies on the internet showed me one thing clearly.  The main ingredient for all the home made versions of the ant killer is Borax, as in 20 Mule Team Borax which can be found in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets, or if you cannot find it,  you can Buy Borax on Amazon here.  (affiliate link) Although Borax was used in each remedy, it was used differently in each idea.

Borax and Honey Mixture

The first home made recipe I tried was a combination of borax, honey, and water.   A friend with a wonderful gardening blog, called Tending My Garden, swears by the recipe.  It was made with 1/2 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of Borax and 2 tbsp of boiling water.  It made a gel which reminded me of my Australian concoction and I thought Eureka!

Borax and honey ant killerTo be honest, I’m not sure I gave it long enough, but there were literally HUNDREDS of ants nearby and other than one or two ants they ignored it totally.  (several hours of testing – at least 5 or more)  I decided that I had too much Borax in the mix and have read that they will not eat it if it is too strong, so I added more honey but they still had no interest in it.  I saved the mixture to test it against the other remedies in a longer test.

Problem Solvers
Apple Cider Vinegar as a Cleaner

At this point I was totally frustrated with the whole idea and my waste of a day and had the heebie jeebies from all the ants on my counters.  But I remembered reading that white vinegar is good for cleaning up after ants. “At least I will get the kitchen clean for a while” I thought. (patience is not a virtue of mine as you can see.)  I had no white vinegar but did have a big jar of apple cider vinegar.  I made a mix of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water, put it in a spray bottle, and went to work.

Apple cider vinegar makes a great household cleanerI scrubbed all the counters, the sink, appliances – even my spice jars. There is not an ant in sight right now but cleaning just removes the ant trail.  They’ll be back.  Of that I have no doubt.  Oh…and my kitchen smells like a salad now, which is not so bad, I guess.  (and I have a nice big jar of apple cider vinegar which I have discovered makes a great, and inexpensive, cleaner.)

Sugar and Borax Dry

Next on my list was a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and Borax in dry form.  I just mixed equal parts of it and place it in a condiment lid to try out tonight in my test.  First results showed the ants ignoring the bait completely but this is a strong  mixture of borax, so that could be why.

confectioner's sugar and Borax as an ant killerSugar and Borax Wet

My next attempt was a version of the honey mix. This time I tried granulated sugar, with  borax and boiling water.  I boiled it for 3 minutes and let it cool.  This time it was a weak mix: 1 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp of Borax and 1/2 cup of boiling water.  This test gave reasonable results (see below) compared to the Terro and is MUCH cheaper.

Borax and Granulated Sugar to kill antsPeanut Butter and Borax

Next on my list of remedies was a concoction of equal parts peanut butter and borax mixed into a paste.  Now the cook in my hopes this one works, since peanut butter is considered part of the food pyramid to me and I hope the ants will think so too.  It is also the easiest remedy to make.  I used low fat Jif peanut butter.  I just want to kill the ants, not make them fat! This test had so so results but did not need rebaiting as often.

Peanut butter and Borax as an ant killerHome made Ant killer test

My test now is to place my four home made mixtures, and the Terro Brand,  down on my clean counters near the site of the earlier ant trail side by side.  I was also a bit skeptical about the height of the condiment lids (only 1/4″ but the Terro was always put on a flat piece of cardboard.)  So I also place five pieces of card with the mixtures on them too. This will give me a chance to see four things:

  1. Do the ants reappear after the apple cider vinegar cleaning and
  2. Which of the four home made remedies works best at attracting the ants.
  3. Does the retail Terro brand work better/worse than the home made baits.
  4. Does the container make any difference.

I left these dishes down for 48 hours to give them a good test.  

One of the most interesting things about this test was the apple cider vinegar results.  I got two completely ant free days after wiping down the counters with it.  (there were hundreds of ants before I did this.)  I knew they would be back but was impressed with the length of time.  Just wiping the counters with the spray might be enough to deter ants in general.

But on to the actual results.  After 48 hours, the ants returned.  Because it had been a full two days, I replace the liquid baits since they had a “skin” over them and I wanted the test to be fair.  (The peanut butter and dry baits were fine.)  I also added some Terro to see how the home made baits compared to the retail brand. At this stage there were only a few ants, so all five baits are waiting to see which one the ants prefer.

The results of the Test:

The results are in.  This is the way my dishes looked after three days and the thorough vinegar cleaning.

Testing Five different ant killers - the resultsHere are a couple of close ups:

Borax with peanut butter and honey as ant baitsand this:

Borax with sugar, confectioner's sugar and also Terro ant baitThe results showed me many things:

  • None of the home made remedies were as effective as the Terro Ant Bait
  • Remedies in order of effectiveness in attracting the ants were
  1. Terro
  2. Sugar Water and Borax (close second)
  3. Peanut Butter and Borax
  4. Honey and Borax
  5. Confectioner’s Sugar and Borox (dry) – an abysmal failure!  It did not attract the ants at all!
  • All of the liquid baits (honey, sugar water and Terro) formed a film on the top which required rebaiting each day
  • Only the peanut butter and borax in the raised cups had any effect at attracting the ants. All of the flat traps performed better.
  • The peanut butter required less replacing of the bait since it did not form a film
  • Wiping down the counters with Apple Cider Vinegar and water repelled the ants for about 3 days before they reappeared.
  • NOTE:  The honey and powdered sugar traps had a larger concentration of borax in the mix than the others.  Obviously, the ants are not as attracted to it if there is too much borax.

Winners of the Test:

The winners of the test by a mile were #1 Terro and #2 (close second) Sugar water and Borax.  Because of the difference in cost, my choice for the future will be the Sugar water and Borax.  Even though it is a bit less effective, it costs so much less and that makes it worth it to me.

None of the baits, including the Terro had fantastic results.  After 5 days of testing the baits, the Terro (best at attracting the ants) still had ants feeding on it:

Terro worked the best but still had plenty of ants coming into the house after five days.

Be prepared – for any of these tests – once the ants find the solutions, more of them will probably show up.  However, within a day or so, there will definitely see less ants.  Over the course of just a several days, the majority of the ants will be gone (although as stated above, not completely in my exerpience.) Also, your results may vary depending on the type of ant that you have a problem with.  For me, it was the tiny black sugar ants.

Ant Killer Outdoor Spray

Now that I have the ants under some reasonable sort of control inside, I am making this mixture that I got from an Australian YouTube video.  I plan to spray outside where I see the ant trails on the windows, etc.  I hope that it will keep the majority of the ants OUT of the house.  For this mixture, I used the following which is a combination of two of the remedies above but more diluted:

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp borax
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup of boiling water

Combine the sugar, honey and borax in a cup. Fill the cup with boiling water and mix well.  Allow the mixture to cool and add to an old spray bottle. 

Spray ant killer for outdoorsUse the spray outside where you see the trails to keep ants from coming into the house in the first place.

Why does Borax work to Kill Ants?

The theory is that once eaten by the ants, the borax causes them to have gas build up in their systems. This is not something that an ant can get rid of like a human does. They die from the gas because they cannot expel it.  Additionally, and this is the main thing, the borax doesn’t work right away. The ants will take the bait back to their nest and it will be eaten by the other ants as well. Whichever method you use,  make sure that you put the bait directly in their path.

Testing 4 Homemade ant killers against Terro. Which one works best?  Find out at http://thegardeningcook.com/testing-borax-ant-killer-remedies/Have you tried any of these methods? What was your experience with the ant killer remedies  Perhaps you have another, better remedy that works for you. Please leave your comments below.

Thanks to one of our readers, Lou. Here is a YouTube video showing how to make borax/sugar bait traps for use outdoors. This ration is 6:1 (sugar/Borax)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  189 comments for “Testing 5 Borax Ant Killer Remedies – Which ones Work?

  1. Laura
    06/16/2014 at 11:38 pm

    I tried sugar, water and borax to great result.s The ants fed on it overnight (there was hundreds of them!!). That was 6 months ago and I havent seen another ant since!

    • Carrie
      05/17/2015 at 3:15 pm

      ALL of these methods are much easier if you use a mason jar with a lid and just shake it.

    • Sara
      05/18/2015 at 9:28 am

      I have used this method a couple of times now and it works really well. The only thing I do differently is I soak a cotton ball in the solution and set it out of a piece of foil or some other container. Doesn’t take anytime at all for the ants to surround it and then I am usually ant free for a while.

      • admin
        05/18/2015 at 9:33 am

        Glad to know this is working for you Sara. Carol

        • marilyn lawson
          04/25/2016 at 9:30 pm

          looking for ideas on ant killers,i had bought terro green plastic things with stakes and didn’t see very good results. last summer they were bad. they are everywhere now along the skirting of our mobile home. they climb up the trees,deck,steps. they were in the house a couple months ago. i tried borax with different sweeteners jam,syrup ect. i finally tried the peanut butter recipe last week and wow what a hit it was with them. i used plastic containers with lids to keep animals out(we have cats) i made holes on sides for them to get in and a popsickle stick ramp. i even put on pieces of bark and they were crawling all over. i will take photos when i make the next batch as it has been raining so they havn’t been out much. now that the sun has came out some i see them today along the base of the wood skirting and dirt. i am getting ready for battle again! i hate them and afraid whats under the house! nests???? wish me luck and thanks for that good recipe!

          • Carol
            04/25/2016 at 10:37 pm

            It’s great to hear the recipe is working for you. I’ve had a lot of people tell me the peanut butter works for them, too. Carol

          • Tony
            06/06/2016 at 10:17 pm

            Just a note on the peanut butter/sugar choices, depending on the stage of the life cycle of the ant colony, they will be foraging for either sugary or protein food sources. That is likely why peanut butter works sometimes, and sugar others. I have found the sugar works best in the spring for new colonies, then peanut butter or other protein rich foods later on. If one does not work, try the other.

          • Carol
            06/06/2016 at 10:25 pm

            Hi Tony. VERY good tip and it’s one I have not heard of. Thanks for sharing it! Carol

        • BARBARA
          03/27/2017 at 1:09 pm

          I am curious if the mixtures are harmful to animals if I place outside?

          • Carol
            03/27/2017 at 2:02 pm

            Hi Barbara. Borax is toxic if ingested by pets. Carol

    • nicholas schimick
      04/30/2016 at 9:22 pm

      A big endorsement for sugar, water and borax. I used 4 cotton balls per container also. This allows the ants to partake of the borax on the cotton ball and still be able to leave the container and go back to the nest instead of drowning. Killed ants by the hundreds. I used 8 oz. sour cream containers with the lids on and holes drilled into the sides, just below the lid.

      • Carol
        05/01/2016 at 9:24 am

        Good idea on the sour cream containers.

    • Bruce the plant guy
      08/23/2016 at 2:06 pm

      I turned over a vase with some flower food in it and did it bring on the ants. I took out my year old tube of Ant Killer (Maggie’s Farm). This is just the same as all the Ant Killers out in the stores (5% Borax 95% other stuff. Made a bate station (2″x2″ thick paper) and juced it up. 48 hrs. = gone. I could make some home made, but why. Two hours work to save $5. Not my idea of a good time and I can put my tube back in my work bench for the next time. (Borax never goes bad)
      Also, the test photos don’t show #2 a “close second”. It was the store stuff by a mile. Also the amount of Borax used in some of the tests was crazy.
      Time is money, mixing your own is a pain in the ____, and you can make a biger mess than the ants.

    • Brentschierts
      03/28/2017 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks for the tip. Worked overnight. Very great full again my wife and are very pleased. Ps did not use a cotton ball. The ants just came to eat and go home. 🐜🐜🐜. Brent and Diane

      • Carol
        03/28/2017 at 5:24 pm

        Glad to hear it worked for you Brent. Carol

  2. MOLLY
    06/17/2014 at 10:33 pm

    Powdered Cinnamon sprinkled on the ants trail worked for, ME; for, inside; and, then I found their ant-hill outside–in the grass; and, I, place crushed crackers there, to feed them, so they can live; but, not at, MY, house!!! πŸ˜‰

    • admin
      06/17/2014 at 10:51 pm

      I’ve heard that cinnamon works. Thanks for letting me know! Carol

      • Amy
        10/10/2014 at 9:37 am

        I tried cinnamon and the borax and sugar with water for my ants outside. They could have cared less about the cinnamon and the borax worked for a few but then they formed a barrier around it to ward off the other ants. Crafty little devils! None of my homemade remedies has worked as well as Terro. I also tried orange peels because they are smilers so the citrus would annoy them but that did not work.

        • admin
          10/10/2014 at 10:27 am

          Hi Amy. My results seem to vary with the time the ants come in too. One time, one will work great, another time something else seems to. Raid ant baits also work pretty well but I hate the idea of having them on the counter even at the back. Carol

        • Bug guy
          02/23/2017 at 11:13 pm

          Identification. Is key. To contol. Ant. Some. Eat protein
          Others eat sugar.
          Winter application. Is. The. True. Way to control. Ants
          They train us. To. Only. Use. 8 oz. Og granular. Bait in winter. So you get them. And sign up for pest service
          Ant block. Works. Wonders. Do application. When its cold and. Ants colonize in winter. Wait. Until. Spring. Hard. To. Control.

  3. 06/19/2014 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve use the Raid version of the ant killer, which sounds exactly like Terro. You do have to put up with them while they feed (yech) and then bingo, they’re gone. I sometimes have had a re infestation, presumably either a new nest or some that escaped the first round and started rebuilding their colony.

    One thing to be especially careful with is to protect the bait from dogs, because it’s extremely poisonous to them too.

    • 01/10/2015 at 12:47 pm

      My understanding is that these traps are not harmful to dogs. A friend’s dog ate one, she called poison control, since it’s labeled as harmful. Poison control said it contains a minute amount of the active ingredient of dog heart worm pills.

      • admin
        01/10/2015 at 12:48 pm

        That is good to know, Geoff. Thanks foe the info. Carol

      • Wendy
        06/18/2016 at 7:04 pm

        This is the info I got from a scientific site. It describes how both borax and boric acid can be used as an insecticide and that bprax is safe for humans and pets:
        Is borax the same as boric acid?
        Borax and boric acid are not the same compound; borax is a salt of boric acid. The less common chemical names of the substances make it clear that these are two entirely different chemical compounds; borax is sodium borate, while boric acid is hydrogen borate. Because both compounds share a use as relatively safe chemical insecticides, their names are often used interchangeably in layman’s terms.
        Boric acid and borax are both best known as low-toxicity pesticides used in homes. Neither chemical is toxic to humans nor pets when used as recommended, and neither chemical has been shown to contribute to cancer or other long-term illnesses. As a result, these compounds are used as natural and safe ways to combat ants and other pests.

        Borax is also used in soap and laundry detergent, welding flux, tooth bleach and water softeners, while boric acid is used in food preservation, tanning, industrial lubrication and as a medical antiseptic. Their disparate uses also make it clear that they are two separate chemicals. When shopping for one, do not accidentally buy the other, unless the only use is as an insecticide.

        • Carol
          06/20/2016 at 11:13 am

          Thanks for the info Wendy. Carol

  4. deb
    06/23/2014 at 7:50 am

    I use 1 part borax to 2 parts sugar add water and soak cotton balls in mix…then place around where you see ants…the ants feed at night bring home to nest so others feed to and really soon no more ants…..also just same mix without water and cotton balls placed in jar lid set on counter works too…I have done this forever it works great…No need to boil water- sugar mix….I did the cotton ball one 2 nights ago,, ants were all over my deck,, ants are all gone,,,,,,

    • admin
      06/23/2014 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for the tips Deb. Carol

    • Neptune Srimal
      04/11/2015 at 5:57 am

      if it works then why do you have to keep doing it “forever”?

      • admin
        04/11/2015 at 10:56 am

        LOL…good question.

        In my experience, no matter what you do to treat for ants, at some point, they will be back, so applications will need to be treated. Some just work better, and for longer than others.

        Carol

        • Jacques
          04/02/2016 at 8:40 am

          Eggs hatch after a while and they restart the process. You need to renew the process every 7 days for 3 to 4 sessions.

      • DP
        05/29/2015 at 1:32 pm

        The ants you see are 1/1,000,000,000 the amount that is out there watching you

        • admin
          05/29/2015 at 2:09 pm

          That is a sobering thought! Carol

    • Sharry
      07/20/2015 at 9:28 am

      Borax is a killer for ants, not humans and not animals. That said, if you’re worried, put your baits inside a sturdy box with holes for ants near the floor. I would also treat it carefully and out of the reach of very young children.

      The mixture must be carried back to the nest, per our exterminator, whom we called. They share it with other ants, and when they feed the queen and she dies, the community will fail. Done.

      Why are the ants in your home? Look for anything sweet, like empty soda cans, spilled bits of sugar or pastry crumbs, and WATER. They are after food or water. And, they are getting in somewhere! Find out if you can and seal it. Check for damp wood if the ants are large ones. These could be carpenter ants, and can do a lot of damage. Any spots where wood reaches soil is a no no. Do you have a leak in your roof? some will make a next in wet insulation! They can literally move in thousands strong so do check and repair.

      Ants breath thru vents in their sides (I heard) and just a sprinkle of baby powder over their trail will deter them. This is also your safest deterrent with kiddies and pets to deal with. You don’t need a lot and it s easy to clean up if company is coming.
      Yup, they’ll be back if you live in the woods, on sand,!

      • admin
        07/20/2015 at 11:54 pm

        Thanks for the tips Sharry. Carol

  5. Fred
    06/25/2014 at 9:11 am

    All of these mixtures are WAY too strong. If you look at the patents and all the scientific research, you need about a 1% solution of boric acid. Any more than about 1.5% and the ants know its there and avoid it or die before they can take the poison back to the nest. Use roach killer since it is 99% pure boric acid and makes the math easy. Use 1 part of boric acid to 99 parts by weight. Get a gram scale which is pretty necessary in the kitchen anyway. In a liquid solution, 10% sugar is fine.

    • admin
      06/25/2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks for your comments. I had a feeling that some of the stronger mixtures were too strong. The ants just stayed away from it. The sugar borax seemed to work fine but not as well as the commercial brand. I’ll try a weaker solution next time to see what happens. Carol

    • Sebedee
      01/19/2015 at 8:33 pm

      Most commercial ant baits are around 5%. They “can be effective at killing foragers in the home but […] foragers are killed before they can bring the bait back to the colony”, according to this page: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html
      (about 3/4 the way down the page.)
      If you want to kill the whole colony, you will probably have to use “Liquid borate products with a lower percentage of active ingredient (0.5 to 1.0% concentration in a sugar-water solution) […] although it may take several days to a week to see results and they need to be used in larger, refillable bait stations”.
      Well, I plan to make my own, ‘refillable bait stations’ out of plastic takeaway tubs, and my own aqueous solution of 1% borax. One could use more sugar though, to make it less runny if needed, or even add some flour or potato starch.

    • Ana
      04/22/2015 at 3:41 pm

      Borax is made from boric acid, but is not boric acid. You will get different results if you mix the two up. They are sold separately for a reason. Boric acid is used as a poison, Borax is a house hold cleaner.

      • admin
        04/22/2015 at 8:21 pm

        Thanks for the information Ana. Carol

  6. Karen
    06/25/2014 at 10:35 pm

    I have tried food-grade diatomaceous earth in the past…it is organic, and works on the ants’ exoskeletons rather than digestive tracts.

    I’ve found this to be fairly effective, but you do have to sprinkle it around a bit. Also, DE (food grade) is safe for humans and pets.

    • Catherine
      06/22/2015 at 7:37 pm

      Diatomaceous earth is naturally occurring and organic. However it is not entirely harmless –
      it is made up of the silica shells of diatoms and is harmful (like most powders) if inhaled.

      Diatomite produced for pool filters can be very harmful. If inhaled diatomite can cause the serious lung disease silicosis.
      Be sure you are using diatomaceous earth NOT diatomite which is made from DE.

  7. 06/26/2014 at 8:10 am

    We have those big black ants – one at at time coming into the house – I’m not sure how they get onto the second floor (probably up the outside wall and through a crack in the windows). Ugh! I’ve tried everything including the dreaded gel and still no luck. At least they are big and I can see them and they only seem to come in one at a time. But still…..

    • Peg
      07/08/2014 at 4:01 pm

      Those are carpenter ants! They’re as damaging as termites. You need an exterminator Heather.

  8. Peg
    07/08/2014 at 3:59 pm

    I use the sugar method with fantastic results. My recipe is 1 C water heat in the micro for 1&1/2 mins, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 TBs Borax. Mix well and let cool. I pour it into a dollar store ketchup container. In the early morning, I dropped saturated cotton balls all around my yard (they reminded me of the ice cream drips my kids left behind that attracted ants all summer). The ants were literally in a feeding frenzy all day long. The next day they were GONE. I put out a few fresh baits to make sure and didn’t see a single ant. About 2 weeks later, I found 2 tiny ants scouting my kitchen. I deduced the colony I annihilated had laid eggs and these were the first of the next generation hatching. I repeated the day long assault and attracted far fewer ants then the first time. I’m pleased to say it’s been almost 2 months now and I remain ant free! For me this out performed the Terra Baits at 1/100 the cost (and I have a laundry booster for the winter)!

    • admin
      07/08/2014 at 5:44 pm

      Great tips Peg. Carol

  9. Kzoo Kid
    08/28/2014 at 1:48 pm

    Wondering if anyone has tried using borax and corn syrup?

    • admin
      08/28/2014 at 11:49 pm

      Hi, I have read that any sugar combined with Borax gives some results. My experience with the thicker syrups is that they formed a skin so they had to be replaced more often.

      Carol

      • Kzoo Kid
        08/29/2014 at 2:42 am

        Ah, thanks, I forgot it did that, it’s been a while since I used it for anything except taking up cupboard space.

        Good post, it’s the only one I’ve seen that does comparisons with actual products & photos. Thanks!

        • admin
          08/29/2014 at 10:00 am

          Thanks. There is so much out there on the internet and one never knows if it is just passed on or accurate. The test was fun to do and satisfied me as to the accuracy too. Carol

  10. feralkatz
    10/03/2014 at 10:25 pm

    Has anyone tried peppermint? I use a dilute solution of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap and clean the baseboards with that. It seems to work to keep spiders and ants away. The peppermint not only smells nice, but it works as a deterrent. A friend uses peppermint essential oil on cotton balls. We live in Texas, where we have a LOT of bugs!

    • admin
      10/03/2014 at 11:47 pm

      I love this idea. Right now my ants are under control, but I’ll try this the next time I see some. My house smells more like vinegar. It would be nice to have a prettier smell! Carol

  11. Bill
    11/22/2014 at 10:26 am

    This was wonderful! Thank you for the ideas. I think I’m going to try a brown sugar mix. I’m not sure if it will make a difference, but I think the brown sugar is more aromatic and might have better results. I’ll definitely let you know!

  12. Bill
    11/22/2014 at 10:34 am

    It’s already working!!! Five minutes later and the ants are swarming the mixture! I just hope it’s going to get rid of the little buggers (I lost all sympathy when I found them in my bedroom).

    • admin
      11/22/2014 at 11:54 am

      Hi Bill. Please do let me know. Will be interested to see if the ants are more into the brown sugar mix. Carol

  13. Rob
    01/22/2015 at 4:33 am

    Hi,

    I read all the comments and decided on using at mix of regular sugar, measuring out 100 grams, then weighed 1 gram of Borax, mind you when weighing the borax ( a small amount, my scales being digital jumped between 1 to 2 grams, so not sure how accurate it was) but I was trying to get 1% of Borax.

    I then added a small amount of water and heated it until the mix devolved into a clear liquid, I had to add a little more water to make it like a thick liquid, I then glued down a clean lid of pecks paste onto a old drink coaster, only to prevent the lid from tipping over by myself, I seem to get clumsy these days to prevent knocking it over.

    Results; Fantastic, I had this new caravan and had noticed quite a few tiny black ants althrougout the van, they were appearing for quite some time.

    The morning I went into the van (I have it parked in the paddock next to my place) there were no ants visible, I placed the coaster with the filled lid on the bench top and left, two hours later returning to find a trail of ants leading to the lid, they were all around the lid, a few floating in the fluid, I kid you not there were ants all drinking the stuff all along the lid, no standing room, and more coming down the trail.

    I left things as they were and returned the next morning, only to find not one trace of an ant, except the few dead ones that were in the lid.

    Going by on of the comments on your blog about there being too my Borax, and past experience of using Borax and sugar on a lemon tree with not a lot of success, I think it has worked this time, those ants that were all around the lid, head first into the liquid, I thought at first they were dead, but seeing the next morning they were gone, could mean they have taken the poison back to the nest, haven’t seen an ant the next day, I’m so pleased, if I’m wrong and they appear again, I’ll keep you informed.

    Thank you for your help and research.

    Regards Rob

    • admin
      01/22/2015 at 10:24 am

      Hi Rob. So glad to hear about your experience with the traps. Please do keep us informed if you see them returning. Carol

  14. Andre
    02/12/2015 at 2:35 am

    Hello

    I have tried the sugar recipe doesn’t seem to work in Perth Western Australia, however the peanut paste/butter mix works very well, they love it.

    I also have now experimented with cheese and borax equal parts, melt the cheese and then mix the borax into it the ants go crazy for it (its is the preference over all other mixes).

    I also read that bacon fat/grease mixed with borax worked. It didn’t work very well here with our ants.

    I think the ants here are protein ants rather than sugar ants. I also have mid size black ants that are not attracted to any mix whatsoever, any suggestions?

    • admin
      02/12/2015 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Andre. I lived in Perth for 15 years and remember those ants. I don’t know what to suggest for them. We have the tiny ones here around my house. Carol

    • sandy
      06/14/2015 at 1:13 pm

      Those may be “carpenter ants”. Try meat, etc. Keep trying different things. They’re nosing around your place for a reason.

    • Terry
      07/11/2015 at 9:33 am

      My poison of choice was Iams wet cat food. The ants kept coming in after the cat food. So I mixed a 1/4 teaspoon of borax with about 3 teaspoons of cat food and 5 days later I am down to 1 or 2 ants in the house. I used a cinnamon trail to confine the ants to the area where the cat food was so they didn’t go looking for my pantry. They don’t seem to like to cross the cinnamon. My daughter uses peppermint oil to repel them and that seems to work well too.

      • admin
        07/11/2015 at 9:56 am

        What a great idea Terry. Thanks for sharing it! Carol

      • bbsmummy
        03/30/2016 at 3:53 am

        the tiny ants we have love dog food(so much that if one crunchy bit is on the floor there will be a hundred ants around it within the hour)…and we have also discovered they love regergitated cat hair balls… πŸ™ I am trying the sugar solution tonight, but if I don’t have great results, i was planning on soaking some dog food in water to make a mush, then adding the borax.)

  15. Caite
    02/12/2015 at 11:56 am

    I just wanted to add that not all ants are attracted to the same thing. Trying multiple baits at once (ie one with peanut butter, one that is sugar based) like you did can be a good idea. We recently discovered and ant problem in our home. Tried terro on its own but there was no interest. Tried it mixed with peanut butter and bam! They love it. Researching different types of ants I saw that some are looking for sugary foods, some greasy, etc. It’s wonderful to see them all lining up to grab some of the bait! We have pavement ants. Can’t wait til they are gone! Your article was helpful. Thanks for the information!

    • admin
      02/12/2015 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Caite.Good point. I did find that it depended on the day (or the ants?) Some worked well one day and the others on other days. Carol

  16. 03/11/2015 at 7:41 pm

    I had a black ant bed (3) huge beds and i used one third cup of borax and one half cup granulated suger, put in sealed container, .shook well and sprinkled on and around ant bed, it took approximately 3 ttries. No more ants

    • admin
      03/11/2015 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks for the info Gary. I have heard that people have great success outside with borax and sugar too. Carol

  17. Bob
    03/22/2015 at 11:56 pm

    I live next to a Christmas tree farm, and there are ant hills in the trees. My problem is that they are coming on to my place. I have 6 mostly wooded acres. I have seen 4 ant hills already, I would like to find a to stop them for good. These ants I see are black, around 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long, the hills on my place are 2 ft. around 1 ft. high. The hills on the tree farm are as big as 4 ft. around 2 ft. high. I would like to find out if anyone has a spray solution I can use in a 3 gal. hand held spray can, that I can spray right on the ant hills to kill them. I don`t know if the borax, water, sugar mix will work in a spray can on that big of an area. Any help will be thankful.

    • admin
      03/23/2015 at 12:02 am

      HI Bob. I doubt this would work on something this size. It is more of an indoor remedy. My husband has used fire ant killer right on the mounds outside with good success.

      Carol

    • Maria
      09/07/2015 at 11:38 pm

      Bob, from personal experience with ants coming over from across property lines and neighbors wanting a “safe” treatment, I can totally recommend using food grade diatomaceous earth. You can often find it at farm feed stores. Make an enclosing line around the hill and “powder bomb” the hill from above and I promise those little monsters will not survive. It also works well if you have a trail coming in from an unknown location onto your property. Simply powder the trail and they will walk through it, they know nothing different. It cuts up their exoskeleton. We used it several times this summer since the heat here in Western WA seems to have caused an explosion in ant expansion!

  18. 03/25/2015 at 5:42 am

    Ants are unable to eat dry food, this is why the Terro and sugar water with borax worked best. Terro itself is only sugar water and borax, with an emulsifier to help maintain a syrupy consistency.

    Ants eat for themselves and other ants. They have two stomachs, one for themselves, and a second stomach called a ‘crop’. Whenever two ants pass each other, they signal with their antenna and then place their mandibles together to transfer whatever food they have found to each other. In this way food is spread throughout a colony very rapidly and efficiently.

    The worker ants feed the entire colony this way, including the queen, who never leaves her chamber once she is installed. Over a period of several days, the poisoned food eventually is spread to every member of a colony. Because the poison – boric acid in borax – is slow to kill, there is time for it to reach every ant.

    The ants begin to die as their capacity to digest food is destroyed. Additionally, they lose the ability to remain hydrated. The result is that they die of starvation and thirst even while they continue to gobble the sugary liquid poison. The food does not feed them, the water content does not slake their thirst. But it takes time.

    Because an ant colony can have tens of thousands (or more!) citizens inside it, it can take up to several weeks to kill them all, if the colony is large. A small colony can be slaughtered within a few days. The kill effectiveness is also complicated by how many other food sources the colony has access to. Optimally, you want them only eating from you alone. This is not always possible, and this can extend how long it takes to murder them all.

    The ant problem ultimately ends when the queen dies. The queen is the only ant that can reproduce – all other ants are sterile females… except for the ‘princes’, who only live for three days, and only exist to fly and mate with new queens. A colony can generally only tolerate one queen. When the queen dies, no more ants can be born: total genocide, and you win.

    This is how the process you described works, biologically.

    I find ants a fascinating species, but I do not tolerate them in my home.

    • admin
      03/25/2015 at 11:25 am

      Hi Jennifer. Thanks for all this info. It was very interesting to read. Carol

    • endless
      08/24/2016 at 11:22 pm

      I love it! Especially your descriptive verbiage: poisoned, kill, die, destroyed, starvation, slaughter, murder, genocide! You’re speaking my same anti-ant language and I feel the emotion and determination behind. each. and. every. word!
      Gonna go out and annihilate me some more ants RIGHT NOW!

  19. Brittany
    04/04/2015 at 6:15 pm

    I am going to try the peanut butter as well as the sugar water. It occurred to me just now.. This is a mixture of food, borax, and hot water. This is literal death warmed over.

    • admin
      04/04/2015 at 7:41 pm

      Let us know how it goes for you, Brittany! Carol

      • Brittany
        04/04/2015 at 9:19 pm

        So far, very well, Carol. I did a 100:1 mixture of peanut butter:borax, and 50:50:1 of white sugar:brown sugar:borax. The ants are coming in through two different spots. The first spot, they went right for the peanut butter. The second spot, they are split between the sugar water and peanut butter.
        Then, I mixed the pb and sugar water, about 4:1 so it’s still thick, but there is more sugar in the pb. Both spots gradually shifted over to the mix. We’ll see what the morning brings!

        • admin
          04/04/2015 at 9:26 pm

          Hi Brittany, I have not had a repeat of mine since last summer. Hope this lasts! Carol

  20. Alfred
    04/05/2015 at 12:07 am

    Every summer for the last 4 or 5 years, our condo bldg. has had these tiny ants inside several units. I tried baby powder last year and it worked but it is not safe if you have pets.

    This year the ants showed up earlier. Usually it’s not till mid-summer they appear, but this year they showed up late March, which is like 3 or 4 months earlier. The distilled white vinegar works but only temporarily. I discovered that spraying them with a lavender spray kills them instantly. Same with a grapefruit peppermint spray I had from Bath and Body Works. That killed them instantly. So did a mint spray. The problem is that’s just getting the ants crawling around your place. Since it kills them instantly, it doesn’t really help with getting rid of the ant colony. For that, I need to find a way for them to take the bait back to the colony and feed the others. Haven’t figured out what concoction works yet for that.

    The ants this year are more aggressive. They are coming out of my wall socket, which is freaky. So I’m worried about electrical issues now. This is the first year I’ve seen this. And I saw one of them flying around, so it’s a flying ant, at least some are. Not sure if all are.

    I’m going to the garden store to buy some Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. I’ve read on the internet that this kills them as well. But it’s important to buy the food grade type since that’s safer for humans and pets. There are 2 types I think. There’s a commercial grade of Diatomaceous Earth that is used in swimming pools. You DON’T want that one! That one is not food grade and can be harmful, I think, to your pets, maybe humans too. Just be sure to do your research of Diatomaceous Earth and if you decide to buy it, please make sure it says Food Grade on the box.

    I’ll let you all know if the Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth works. These ants are a pain in the #.

    • admin
      04/05/2015 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Alfred. Please do let us know how it works. Thanks for all your great comments. Carol

    • sandy
      06/14/2015 at 1:06 pm

      Don’t let an infestation like that go on long, especially if you see several flying ants inside your house and you know they didn’t fly in from outside. They may be breeding inside your walls. Decades ago we had an ant colony (“wood/carpenter ants”) set up home in a hollow-core door in our new house, which was constructed on what had recently been farm land. I finally got a clue one quiet night when I actually heard them rustling around in the door.

  21. lou
    04/05/2015 at 4:39 pm

    i think you mis understand how the borax works and the time frame for effective results.
    first, the terro result is best because it takes the most effort and by result of that effort you are keeping the bait moist and fresh, everyday.
    borax works because of flatulacide (my word). the borax causes gas inside the ant and it dies.

    so you want ease and effective?
    here’s how you do it. take that extra pickle jar or some quart size jar that has a metal lid. poke 4 small holes in the lid. fill the jar with whatever you think, or your research indicates what ratio of sugar to borax you choose. if it is not effective try a different ratio. put this liquid into the jar, boil or not boil, up to you. find a saucer or perhaps a terra cotta pot water reservoir. find 4 small similarly sized stones.

    now assembly.
    put sugar, water and borax into jar.
    place stones in reservoir arranged so the lid of the jar will rest somewhat evenly on them
    put jar on stones, lid down.

    the liquid will slowly leech out of jar until the level of the jar lid and the liquid in the reservoir are equal and then it will stop. evaporation and consumption by ants will do the rest.

  22. Lizz
    04/09/2015 at 6:54 pm

    Hi!
    I am working on getting rid of those pesky ants as we speak. I used a small glob of plain grape jelly on a piece of masking tape set within their trail. After several minutes, that little glob of jelly was covered in ants. Knowing that, I mixed some grape jelly with Borax into a ketchup bottle and placed another piece of tape on the counter with a “tainted” glob of jelly. Within seconds, ants were moving over to the new food source. I did not measure out the jelly, but I would guess that I used approximately half cup with approximately half cup borax. I’m hoping this helps since I have to deal with these little pests all Spring, Summer & Fall. Give it a try

    • admin
      04/09/2015 at 7:27 pm

      What a great tip Lizz. Thanks for sharing it with us! Carol

      • admin
        04/12/2015 at 10:39 am

        Thanks Lou. Shared this video directly in the post. It’s a good one! Carol

    • Jim
      06/07/2015 at 10:07 am

      I made the same concoction of jelly and borax last year and it worked great. I am beginning to see ants again this year and still have some of the solution from last year. Will it still work or does the borax lose potency over time?

      • admin
        06/07/2015 at 1:42 pm

        Hi Jim,

        To be honest, I am not sure. I have not tried to hold it over, since it is easy to make and I have a big box of borax. My guess is that it would lose some potency, but it can’t hurt to try. Let us know what you find if you do, please!
        Carol

  23. zsuzsanna
    04/12/2015 at 10:24 am

    Lou you’re a genius! No matter how good the solution recipe you guys have to understand you’ll never completely get rid of them just like any other bugs outside. They’ll keep coming and they’ll keep finding your house. Lou’s idea works like your pet’s watering container, the kind you fill and flip upside down to last for days without refilling… or like a hummingbird feeder, it works on gravity. Tho something I buy will be way more sturdy and won’t spill that sticky stuff (I’ll find a way trust me, or my kids will) vs something I make so I’ll be looking to buy a similar contraption, I love the idea! Thanks Lou, you solved my “forever” problem!

  24. Deb
    04/14/2015 at 8:30 am

    Can I use the borax sugar mix in my garden? My small garden is always overrun with ants!

    • admin
      04/14/2015 at 9:32 am

      Hi Deb. Yes it is okay to use outside. The video at the bottom shows a way to use it there.
      Carol

  25. Deb
    04/15/2015 at 8:28 am

    This would be my vegetable garden….

  26. Deb
    04/15/2015 at 8:33 am

    I used the cotton ball soaking trick and it worked here in my kitchen, no ants this morning even with a spill of some red juice on my counter( grr who did that?!)

  27. Austin
    04/18/2015 at 10:56 pm

    My sister-in-law had success for several years with the sugar/water/borax combination, and for the protein ants, she mixed egg yolk and borax with success… however, now that about 4 years have passed, I was just talking to her today and she said NOTHING is working. I’ve read through all of the comments, and it seems that maybe they want a greasy alternative? I’m going to make up the sugar water mix, the peanut butter mix and go from there… πŸ™‚ I’ve had success with the sugar water mix in previous years…

    • admin
      04/19/2015 at 9:42 pm

      Hi Austin, let us know how you go with it. Carol

      • 04/28/2015 at 10:07 pm

        Okay, here’s what I used…

        Sugar-based

        1 C water (heat in the micro for 1&1/2 mins)
        1/2 cup granulated sugar
        2 T. Borax

        Protein-based

        1/4 cup peanut butter
        1 T Borax

        I soaked an old, cut-up sock in the liquid mixture (it was almost a syrup, having put in less water than I have before) and set that out… and I put out a teaspoon of peanut butter. Ants went NUTS over both mixtures and after a few DAYS, were gone. I think the most helpful comments I read were the protein/sugar-to-borax ratio– I was careful to make it the right amount of borax so that the poison was spread to the entire family. πŸ™‚

        Thanks so much for your research- I learned a lot from you, and from the insightful comments!
        austin

        • admin
          04/29/2015 at 12:09 am

          Thanks for the recipe Austin. Glad you found my article useful.
          Carol

    • D.Murray
      06/09/2015 at 7:26 pm

      Colonies sustain on sugar and protein based diet. When the queen senses they need more protein she sends out the signal to the rovers to find that kind of diet for the colony. Have her try protein based traps instead. You can use Jello powder as it is protein based and will work in lieu of sugar.

  28. Kev
    04/20/2015 at 10:03 am

    Gettting our house ready to sell and in came the spring parade of sugar ants. I tried two combinations myself. Honey/borax and light corn syrup/borax. I didn’t mix it very well either, just blobbed a little honey or syrup on a card and sprinkled borax in it and smooshed it in with a spoon. The ants absolutely went to town on the honey solution. The blob of honey on the index card looked like an island harbor, and the ants were like little boats docked there probably over 75 at a time. A few went for the corn syrup, but not many. I set this out yesterday, in the afternoon they peaked in volume, and this morning I haven’t seen a single ant!

    Thanks for the comparison tests, very interesting. It seems that one conclusion we can all walk away with is that ants have varying tastes, and that if one formulation doesn’t work for you, try a different type. But unquestionably the borax is an efffective ant killer if you can find a food that appeals to the palate of your particular ant colony! Bon apetit!

  29. 04/25/2015 at 9:57 am

    I’m a chronic label reader. So I remember from long ago that ant poison in the USA had used to contain arsenic as its active ingredient. Maybe in Australia they still do. That would certainly make a huge difference.

  30. Lucy Lastik
    05/15/2015 at 6:41 am

    The Terro bait traps work better than the drops. Takes a week to 10 days, and the ants are gone. Patience is key. Borax doesn’t work like a bug spray – the ants don’t die immediately, but if enough of them feed on it, it will kill the entire nest.

    I was at the hardware store last night, and the cost was $6.00 for six traps. I replaced the ones I had from last year – two were empty, the others still had liquid in them. I say that be cause they don’t seem to dry up or skin over.

    Borax has also worked incredibly well for the millipede infestation that occurs every year in our garage come fall. There would be hundreds of the crunchy little critters under foot. Bug spray worked – sort of, but some of always ended up in the basement. Spreading a handful of borax on the garage floor, just inside the overhead door, and some more around the perimeter of the garage, worked wonders. Still have to sweep them off the garage floor, but it totally stopped them from getting into the basement.

    • admin
      05/15/2015 at 8:57 am

      Thanks for all the tips Lucy. I also have found the baits better than the drops for Terro. Carol

  31. tim
    05/20/2015 at 10:39 pm

    Concrete pavement ants. Sugar or protein based? Mine are entering wall and feeding on orchids that has micro honey dew on stems, the kind that attracts aphids. Sounds like sugar ants but others may know more details on tiny black pavement ants.

    • admin
      05/21/2015 at 8:43 am

      HI Tim. When I researched this, I found that the Pavement Ant diet consists of honeydew, insects, sweets, fruit, and greasy foods. They will also eat pet foods. Carol

  32. Mark
    05/26/2015 at 11:51 am

    If you just want to keep them out of a particular area or cupboard, ants don’t like bay leaves. Simply leave a few lying around and you won’t find ants there even if they are elsewhere.

    • admin
      05/26/2015 at 12:12 pm

      Great tip Mark. Thanks for sharing it! I’ll try that next time. Carol

  33. Bernadette
    05/26/2015 at 5:56 pm

    Last year I woke to a trail of ants going into my kitchen for the first time!! After searching the web I found that Austrailian utube video with the borax and honey and went to work mixing sugar, honey and borax with water. The first time the mixture wouldn’t spray because it was too think but I was able to put it out around the trail of ants. Then I thinned the mixture and sprayed outside near windows, door and anyplace that looked like the ants were gathered. After a few days no more ants!!! I remained ant free for the rest of the season. Yesterday I notice a few ants on my stairs when I was arriving home and checked in the same spot as last year and they are BAAAACCCKK! left borax mixture out yesterday and making more fresh today cause it’s not raining and will be spraying and crossing my fingers that I get the same results. I didn’t measure exactly when making the mixture but made sure there was lots of the sweet stuff.

    • admin
      05/26/2015 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Bernadette. My ants stayed away all season too, after I did it. There were a few back this year after a rainy day but they disappeared the next day and have not come back. Carol

  34. Lorna
    06/04/2015 at 6:51 pm

    I use a mixture of 2/3 icing sugar to 1/3 borax. I mix it all together really well and then if they are in the house i place the mix right in their pathway. outside I put it on their hills so they cannot miss it.. they take the stuff in to the queen. you might not see any results for a week but then you will see less and less ants around.. when I first moved into this house, the place was full of ants and the yard was nothing but one big ant hill. I had already tried the exterminators at huge prices for very little results and most of the other ant eliminators on the market. I fought these ants for 2 years before someone gave me this recipe for borax and icing sugar. that was 13 years ago and I have had an ant free home and yard ever since.. I always keep a jar of the mix handy just in case. have passed it on to friends who are very happy with the results as well.. the ants will not go after the mix if there is too much borax but they cannot resist the icing sugar so a bit more sugar than borax is the trick.

    • admin
      06/05/2015 at 10:29 am

      thanks for posting your experiences Lorna. Carol

  35. sandy
    06/14/2015 at 12:59 pm

    (1) Your bait attempts generally contained WAY too much borax. See the many other “experiments” and recipes on the web.

    To answer some other questions/comments:

    (2) There are different varieties of ants that eat different things, and ants also seem to evolve to avoid what killed ’em “last year” (or decade). Notice what seems to attract your “ants du jour” (certain food bits on your counter) and mix that with some properly proportioned borax + water, enough to make a “slurry”. A slightly sweetened peanut butter is probably nearly universal. In Texas in the last few years we have new varieties called “crazy ants” (they are very fast, very “clever”, and run around “like crazy”): coming to a counter near you, soon.

    (3) It takes several days to a week for this to “work” completely because what happens is that the worker ants, bless their little hearts, take some back to feed to the queen, who can produce several thousands of ants/eggs a day. The colony contains up to tens of thousands of individuals or even more, and only when the queen gets sick and dies does the process come to an end … several days to a week, in part because unborn eggs will hatch for several days with a new supply as the queen fades away.

    My experience for success is to put out “the picnic” in the spring when you see your first few ants, and where you see them. It’s usually a small crowd because you get a head start, and in a week or so they’re gone. This may repeat several times in a season. Trouble? A little, but you’ve solved a very disturbing problem with virtually no harm to the environment, and in a way hugely preferred over any other means … you only kill the specific ants that are causing YOU problems.

    Ants, like everything else (including mice, wasps, scorpions, snakes, and so on: even bacteria and other “microbes”) in the environment, are an essential part of this thing we call Earth. They, and we, make up a “system”. Gasoline and oil are definitely not the most pleasant aspect of owning and using an automobile, but they are a necessary part of that “system”.

    We are close to destroying our own “space capsule” earth for our own “comfort” and sustenance. Your “trouble” using this instead of ANY commercial poison product (needing “production” and broadcasting a “poison”) is a small step to stop and reverse that trend.

    Now try some others, like recycling EVERYTHING you can and using as little of everything as you can. Excess is NOT success.

  36. Marvin
    06/29/2015 at 2:03 am

    There is a lot of good information here. The comparisons, very impressive. There was a lot people made comments / statements that had good info in them. There are food and non food plants that can be planted to ward off ants and critters. To ring your house with these plants and mix them in among the food plants is another way to fight them. I went to Wikipedia, typed in: List of companion Plants ( I don’t know how to high light or link “Wikipedia” ) I don’t know how many of the people making comments have seen this information that I speak of, but some of it is working for me already. Thanks to our host and all of those that told of their troubles and solutions. Marvin

    • admin
      06/29/2015 at 2:32 pm

      Glad you liked the article Marvin and thanks for the companion plants tip. Carol

  37. Elizabeth
    07/01/2015 at 4:28 pm

    I’m using 1 teaspoon borax to 9 teaspoons of karo syrup and they are eating it up! I had a canteloup out in the yard for my chickens and it was covered in ants so I poured a bunch of the canteloup and then put a laundry basket with a brick on top so the chickens can’t get to it and 24 hours later the ants are gone. I’m not sure if they are hiding out because it’s over 100 degrees outside right now or if this was really that effective… can’t wait to see if they come back in the next day or so.

    • admin
      07/01/2015 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for letting us know about your results! Carol

  38. boatboy
    07/08/2015 at 5:21 pm

    You people seem to have your ant problem under control, but we cannot win our battle. We bought a new doublewide in 94, lived in it for 6 years, then inherited the house next door. In those 6 years we had no problem with ants. Fast forward about 5 years. We rented it out to family members. About a year later, they complained about ants in the kitchen area. I have witnessed how they left food on the counter, so it was no wonder. We never had a problem but they did. Basically told them to use spray and bait traps. Seems to have gotten better and we heard nothing else.

    Fast forward a few more years. Family moves out, we clean everything up, and another tenant moves in a few months later. In the time it was vacant after we cleaned it, no sign of ants anywhere. A month after tenant moves in, she mentioned finding ants in kitchen from time to time so she sat out bait traps too. Nothing else said. Few months later, they move out because they didn’t pay their bills. We clean it up and it sat empty for over 6 months.

    In April of this year, we had a fire at the house we had been living in. House was totalled so we had to move back into doublewide. Been over here for a week and started seeing occasional ants on countertop. Wife kept everything clean, but they started coming out from cabinets, kitchen window sill and from pantry area. She ended up having to throw away flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc and sprayed ant spray all in pantry. I bought Terro bait traps and put in pantry, on window sill, and on kitchen counter. About the same time, son had taken a box of doughnuts to his room late 1 night. The next morning when he got up, he called us to his room. He literally had a parade of ants crawling 6′ from inside of his window, along wall, and across floor to the box. She goes crazy spraying and kills them out. I put a couple Terro traps in his window. Later that day, we had wads of ants in all bait traps except for ones I put in pantry. We had an ant path in kitchen coming up from side of cabinet at refrigerator over near sink where traps were. Directions on trap said to allow 10-14 days to kill out colony.

    A few days later, we did notice a dramatic reduction in the number of ants. We were finding several dead in various areas. Even read on internet about treating the outside for them so I got 2 bags of ant granules that you sprinkle around the foundation, then mist lightly with water to let it soak in. Never really noticed a problem outside, but wanted to cover all bases.

    Probably 3 weeks after putting traps out, we still had the problem. It had dropped, but there would be a spike for a couple days, then drop back down. He still had wads of them moving to/from the traps in his window sill.

    Since we were well over the 10-14 days Terro claimed to kill the colony, I started looking for other alternatives. Mixed confectionary sugar and borax, put it out dry, and still a few days afterward, they would not touch it so we pulled it. After reading on here, I possibly mixed it too strong. Bought a couple other brands of bait traps and set them up but couldn’t tell it helped. Found a so called “miracle” ant killer on Amazon called Advion Ant Gel and ordered it.

    It came in 1 ounce syringes and you squirt it out onto areas where they are seen. We used small 1.5″ x 3″ strips of wax paper because after it would start drying up, it didn’t want to come off any surface. Simply squeeze out a bead of this stuff about 1/4″ diameter and 1″ long. Within a few hours, they were lined up side to side all around this stuff eating it up. I got excited over their appetite and quickly put more out the next morning.

    To make a story that has become too long, shorter, been using the Advion for almost 2 months and have seen literally hundreds dead in each window sill, but they keep coming back. The window sills are the only problems. We never see them on the counters anymore or anywhere else in the house. I checked kitchen sill this morning and only saw 1 or 2 eating. A couple hours, I looked and there was probably between 50-100. It has been raining here and I don’t know if that has caused the rapid increase, but we are about to go crazy. I am going to mix up more of the borax/sugar mixture at a lower ratio, but add water to it since they don’t seem to want anything that is dry. From what I have read, these ants are called Pharoh ants. They are all the small ones and we have never seen any large carpenter ants or any other variety in here. I am at a loss for what else to do. The Advion gel is like the Terro where they take it back to the queen and the whole colony is killed out. You would think after this long, they would all be gone.

    • admin
      07/08/2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks for your experiences. It might be good to try and treat the colony outside? Carol

      • boatboy
        07/08/2015 at 6:42 pm

        Already done that Carol. It was buried somewhere in the middle of that post. I see absolutely no ant mounds anywhere around the house. I used 2 bags of the granules for ant control in the yard and spread it from the foundation to 4 feet away, all the way around the perimeter. I think 1 bag treated 5,000 sq ft so I more than double dosed it anyway. I think the colony (or colonies) are inside a wall somewhere.

        • admin
          07/08/2015 at 6:47 pm

          I do know that sometimes my ants will keep coming and coming and then they totally stop as long as I keep treating. Having a colony inside the wall makes it harder. It may be that you will need professional treatment to get rid of them. But I do know that I had a horrible infestation for a long time and now I rarely see them. Sometimes when it has been very rainy they will show up again.

          Carol

  39. Carol
    07/15/2015 at 8:47 am

    I just tried the 1-6 borax and granulated sugar mixture.
    It attracts the little ants but it seems to be killing them while they are eating it
    ( they are not moving ) or do they feed for several minutes?
    I want them to take it back to their queen.
    Should I try a different ratio or something else?

    • admin
      07/15/2015 at 10:47 am

      Hi Carol, Mine did not die but it does sound as though it is too strong for your test. I’d make it less strong and see how it works. Carol

      • Carol
        07/16/2015 at 9:17 am

        Sorry, my mistake! They weren’t dead – just feeding for a long time. πŸ™‚

        • admin
          07/16/2015 at 10:17 am

          HI Carol. They will probably be taking it back to the nest now then. Hope it works for you. Carol

  40. Jim
    07/21/2015 at 8:35 am

    Your ant baits were not working very effectively because you were using WAY too much borax.
    This is a tried and true recipe that I have used for years to control Argentine ants and other sugar feeding ants:

    2 cups of sugar
    1 cup of water
    8 teaspoons of boric acid powder (or borax)

    Boil water.
    Dissolve boric adic powder in water.
    Remove from heat and stir in sugar until completely dissovled.

    This recipe makes a rather large quantity, but the amounts can be reduced if the ratios are kept the same. I store mine in a glass jar and use as required.
    To bait the ants, completely soak some cotton balls in the bait solution and place them on small 2″x2″ squares of aluminium foil or in a shallow container lid.
    Place the baits outside where ant activity can be seen. Baiting indoors only attracts more ants into your home.
    These bait will stay good for upto 1 week before needing to be replaced.
    A general rule for baiting ants, is to keep the amount of boric acid powder/Borax, between 0.5% and 2% of the total bait mixture. Any less and it won’t kill the ants, any more and they will know it’s poison and refuse it.

    • endless
      08/25/2016 at 12:37 am

      I’m getting the impression the reason it’s so hard to find a real answer for the best sugar/borax mix is because people are talking about percentages and it’s not making sense. It would SO helpful if everyone would please provide the best RATIOS instead of percentages.
      For example, if I wanted to try the percentage range you’re recommending, “.5 to 2%,” that’s only 1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of borax with 2 cups of sugar (96 teaspoons=2 cups). This sounds in line with what many others have said about trying to stay around 1%. But, in your post you described using 8 teaspoons of borax with 2 cups of sugar. That’s 8%! That’s 4 to 16 times more than your suggested percentage range.
      I hesitate to use that high an amount of borax because I need these ants to go for the bait. I’ve got to find something that works to get rid of these ants! It’s driving me insane to keep coming home to these relentless invaders every night. HELP!

  41. wayne
    08/04/2015 at 11:31 am

    I mixed pork fat and borax at one by one ratio. The ants love it and empty a bottle cap in a matter of one day. but they do not die.

    • admin
      08/04/2015 at 11:43 am

      HI Wayne, I bet they love it! I can’t figure out why they won’t die though. Sometimes it takes a few days for them all to disappear. Carol

  42. Tc
    08/10/2015 at 12:53 pm

    Ants at my house won’t touch anything sweet, but love chicken. They nibble at peanut butter, but prefer the grease spots on paper instead of peanut butter. I tried mashing up chicken with few drops of water and boric acid. They have thinned out a lot but not all gone yet. I’m trying terro mixed with chicken bouillon powder now. They are all over it now. I can’t find a direct trail into the house, so they must be coming through a hole in the slab. I cornered them with diatomaceous earth (ants wont cross over it) to where they are coming through the electric plug socket and after i cleaned counters with vinegar. At least they leave the rest of my kitchen alone while I try to kill the rest of them with different bait combinations.

    • admin
      08/10/2015 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks for the Tips Tracy. Carol

  43. Jim
    08/13/2015 at 5:11 am

    Tc,

    Seeing as your ants are obviously seeking a protein based food source, you might want to try mixing some borax (not too much) with tinned cat food (fish or chicken) or with tinned tuna in oil.
    Mix up a batch (mash it all up into a pulp) and place it on small pieces of grease-proof paper or al-foil, or in soft drink lids etc.
    Keep left over bait in a air tight container and replace the baits often, so they stay moist and attractive to the ants. Keeping the bait moist is very important ime, as soon as it dries out, the ants generally lose interest.
    I have had good results with both these food sources and they can be purchased in very small can sizes quite cheaply.
    Peanut butter and jelly has also worked well for me and covers both protein and sugar in the one product.
    Once well mixed, the consistancy is more runny than plain peanut butter, making it more palatable and easier for smaller ants to eat.

    Goodluck!

    • admin
      08/13/2015 at 9:39 am

      Hi Jim. Thanks for the tips. I have had other readers comment on mixing it with protein instead of something sweet as well. Well worth a try. Carol

  44. Steve
    09/14/2015 at 6:43 pm

    If you really want to rid yourself of ants you have to eliminate all access to your home except the front door and that 1 access you treat with an irritant strip and a couple of baits on each side and a rubber gasket that seals most of the door. If you have 19 entry ways to your home all it takes is 1 ant through 1 crack to spread the good news. All pipes coming or going need to be sealed ie under the sinks, preferably from both inside and outside the house. A foam spray can or two gets the job done with larger holes pre filled with steel wool or mostly sealed with small cut to shape pieces of board stuck on the wall with contact cement. Electrical boxes can be sealed as well by removing the plate and squirting a bead of foam where the wire exits the box and in any cracks where the box meets the sheet rock. New ants will show you where you missed. What ants really want is a dinning table set with both food and water. There is plenty of food outside but no water when it is hot and dry. Make sure you have no leaky pipes or leaky toilet seals or puddling drains or hoses that need a new washer drawing ants to your abode. Now you did not have to destroy a single ant life that performs many useful services to our web of life. Or at most only a couple of ants who tried the front door.

  45. Bender
    09/17/2015 at 5:34 pm

    +1 for 1:5 Borax:Super+Water

    Originally I baited the ants with the powdered form, but the ants didn’t jump on it. I quickly dissolved it in some hot water and they couldn’t resist. Liquid is by far the better delivery mechanism.

    Thanks for you tip!

    • admin
      09/17/2015 at 6:36 pm

      Glad to know it worked for you, and thanks for the suggestion. Carol

  46. Ken
    01/17/2016 at 7:33 am

    I have had good success with sugar water and borax though I add orange or lemon juice which seems to get them going. Adding Bickfords lemon barley to the mix works with my ants but I suspect it depends on the type of ants some eat nectar and some eat fats and meat so perhaps sugar works with the nectar eaters and peanut butter with fat eaters.

    • Carol
      01/17/2016 at 10:24 am

      Hi Ken. Yes, I have read that it does depend on the type of ant, which you should use.

  47. Elisha
    03/17/2016 at 1:43 pm

    I have used the sugar/water/borax combo for a few years and it has been amazing. The film on the top doesn’t matter. I had actually sat a soda lid full of this mix in my window seal last year and I still had dead ants starting to fall in the floor in front of that window this year so the mixture had sat out for several months and was really dry but still worked! Usually in two days the ants are completely gone but I made a new batch, that has more water and it doesn’t seem to work as well so I will be trying your recipe out. πŸ™‚

    • Carol
      03/17/2016 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Elisha. Glad to hear that you had such good results with this. Very interesting to hear that the film does not matter to the ants! Carol

  48. Gene
    03/21/2016 at 12:31 pm

    The terro won because it had the least amount of borax in it it was the sweetest .comercial stuff is tested for yrs every day tweeking the formula. where i live i have the big black carpenter ants hard to kill terro wouldn’t kill them . I make 2/3 corn syrpe to 1/3rd borax and water to make a liquid . Remember the trick is to let as many as possible drink dont step on them , then take it back to the collony and share it with all . if its working properly it should take 4 to 5 days . Ants like moist wood and messy house keepers . Keep the counter clean .make the kids wipe up if they spill or make a sandwhich leaving food crumbs on the counter exsplain the ants come in to get the food . Also read up on diatomaceous earth . i used my leave blower and blew a cup full into my attic our house is bug free .its non toxic its, what farmers put in grain to kill the bugs .google it .

  49. 03/21/2016 at 1:50 pm

    You put a lot of effort into your experiment! Nasty ants! I guess the Borax does the best job!

  50. Lee
    03/21/2016 at 2:11 pm

    There are some great tips here. Thanks for sharing!

  51. Marty
    03/29/2016 at 10:21 pm

    While the Terro was certainly not the most cost-effective method, the convenience and the “scorched earth” effect it had on the colony was impressive. They will be back. Looking forward to partying with them again lol…

  52. J
    04/07/2016 at 3:38 am

    Here’s some science on the topic from your friends at University of California, Riverside:

    http://urban.ucr.edu/docs/Argentine%20Ant/2000%20Klotz%20et%20al.%20Toxicity%20and%20Repellency%20of%20Borate-Sucrose%20.pdf

    Short version: 25% sugar to water, and 1% or less borax. At 2%, 4%, and 5% tested concentrations of borax, the ants showed distinct aversion to it. There was no substantial difference between 0.5% and 1% concentration. Per the researchers, Terro uses about 5.4% concentration.

    For a 100ml batch, that means 100ml (3.3 oz) water, 25g (5 tsp) sugar, and 1g borax (1/5 tsp)

    • endless
      08/25/2016 at 12:46 am

      Perfect! That’s the kind of data I’m looking for. Thank you

  53. Cindy
    04/16/2016 at 9:53 am

    I had an infestation around my butter dish. So I used peanut butter, honey and borax. Ants are going for it. I will be wiping my counters down with vinegar each night.

  54. Douglas C Trant
    05/02/2016 at 4:59 am

    In Canada the products have 5.4% borax. 1 / 19 = 5.26% 1 measure borax + 19 measures of sugar

    Borax/Molar mass 1.114 381.37 / 342.2965 = 1.114
    381.37 g/mol

    Table sugar/Molar mass 1.0
    342.2965 g/mol

    1 measure borax + 19 measures of sugar should be close enough.

    • Carol
      05/02/2016 at 10:37 am

      Thanks for the measurements!

  55. Malicity
    05/14/2016 at 2:24 am

    (The super short version of this is found way down at the bottom, under the *****, in case you wish to edit/skip/ my effusive comments, inspired by the excitement of finding such a trove of information!)

    Thank you for a wonderful post and the incredible input from all your readers. I read almost all of the comments, but due to the lateness of the hour, wanted to add my experience to the mix before I fell into disturbing dreams of ants joining me in my bedroom.

    Eighteen years ago, a friend and I bought a brownstone built in the late 1800s in Philadelphia PA. There has been a significant gentrification of our area (sniffles), which, as we’re visual artists, our moving in probably was the human version of the Scout Ants. Properties like ours are now four to five condos, with each selling for many times the price of ours. Lots have also been filled with quickly built “Townhouses” and more condo buildings, businesses have been torn down to make way for said builds, or are made into….condos!

    The result has been, in terms of all sorts of wild life, from ants, Racoons and Possums being seen far more frequently (I saw four – yes 4! – Possums up a massive tree freaking out on each other one night), to older long term residents being displaced due to lack of space, a good market to sell, the rising taxes that new residents have abatements from and so forth. I am, as you may have guessed, a tad disgruntled! The things we loved about the neighbourhood have been tidied away, as this is a fact of the Imitation Bloomsberg Effect. Sometimes, you would swear we are actually in some hipster NYC area!

    Not all of it is negative. I’m just fond of having locals and businesses that you know and people who are invested in the sort of things our past neighbours would do. Back when, only a couple of decades ago, you could tell who kept a clean house by the stoop….! The trick was to scrub them with Ajax, or a similar product. My house is a disaster, but I make sure the grime our dirty dogs bring up those all important steps is removed…maybe not weekly, but definitely bi-weekly. So, when people don’t pick up their dog poop, wait for the random visit of a condo company to clean in front of their house and so forth, I get a little bitter!

    I digress. So, I was listening to an ant specialist on NPR some years back and he said some things that may be of help/interest. Ants are territorial. If a colony has to move, due to construction or some force of nature, they have to battle for their next place. Obviously, finding an area with a Borax/other killed colony will have nesting appeal to them. Which is why this, like picking up dog poop, doing the dishes and other home and hearth chores, will go on “forever” as stated above.

    I am not fond of animals I haven’t invited moving into my house. Heck, I’ve made it pretty clear I am not super thrilled about the neighbourhood being invaded! Actually, I’ve met some lovely people, but I’m turning into a grumpy old gal! We started seeing ants in our yard when our neighbours did some intense, comprehensive and beautiful work on their house. By the end of the year or so of their construction, the tiny back yard I had coaxed from a yellow clay and weed choked mess into a vibrant oasis of plants, bushes and a couple of trees was showing some serious ant infestations. If I moved a container of plants, they would swarm out, to my complete shudders of horror!

    Inevitably, they decided to explore our incredibly available house. Our place has loads of access areas, due to its age and the reality of our not being close to rich enough to fix everything at once. It was a “habitable shell” when we bought it. My neighbour on the other side had it far worse with ants, poor man and I spent quality time looking for options beyond poisons, exterminators or winning the lottery to resolve our mutually unwanted guests. My dedication to this was seriously inspired by the little blighters deciding to enter the bathroom on the second floor. A room we had remodelled, it was clean, relaxing and suddenly, bathing was a group activity! Then, the greedy little cretins got a whiff of wet cat food and the next thing; they are doing the I Love Lucy grape crushing scene all over it, as my cats wailed at the unfairness and my dog tried to sneak this delicious, writhing treat. High on the repulsive scale, to my mind.

    Ultimately, the Terro failed the following year, for whatever reason. Wet cat food is now housed in a slightly larger bowl of water, like hospital bed legs in the tropics of yore, when they return. I threw half a massive container of bay leaves on the window sill today, on finding this years party crashers entering via and that didn’t faze them one bit. I hopped onto the web, as I’d cleaned up those I could and wanted to refresh my mind to the options.

    One product that I’ve used, which is nasty, poisonous and sooo much fun, is Raid Max Bug Barrier. The basic one can be found in many stores for around nine bucks. I see it has poor ratings (three out of five), but here’s why I like it: First, being a grumpy old gal, my hands are not in the best of shape. This bottle has a trigger a bit like an automatic gun. Instead of pumping, pressing hard or repeatedly, you hold it down and it makes a satisfying sound I’d definitely imitate on Click and Clack if that great show was still on air! I spray it along all the window ledges, on the flashing as internally, I am screaming with joy at my mass murder. I also keep my cats and dogs out of the room I’m applying it to, as suggested; the spray has to dry into crystals in order to become the barrier. I lost my environmental cred with that stuff, but I am so busy picking up other peoples dogs poop with my expensive biodegradable bags; I manage to minimise/rationalise my horrific actions!

    I also make silly little tents out of tin foil, to house the little Death Warmed Over (as one person so nicely coined it!) offerings when placing it around the foundation lines of our really big house: I just don’t have an endless supply of plastic containers on hand in general and recycling was yesterday! I have tossed Cinnamon, along with some other suggestions, such as salt, various herbs, etc., just because I’ve read about them and variety is the spice of life. And maybe death, in this case!

    One gentleman mentioned pavement/concrete ants above. OMG. I had thought, but didn’t want to believe that the holes I had seen in a brick threshold and path I laid from the side door down the alley to the yard was probably the work of ants and now I know….(thanks, she says, grimly, considering the massive Underground Facilities being created, expanded upon and…!) In terms of such discoveries, I have read elsewhere that boiling a big ole pot of water and pouring directly into the nest (with, I believe) extreme caution if Fire Ants are the residents, is effective. In my case, I would never make it from our temporary second floor kitchen (yes, endless projects chez moi) and down the stairs without slopping it out on one of the welcomed beasties, tripping and adding me into that equation, or, having made it without disaster; the water being too cool, as me old grumpy gal moves are not as swift as back when.

    I am sorry to have unleashed such a torrent upon you and your readers and of course, will bear no ill will, should you edit this down to the very basics! I have been alone and stewing on this all day and read so many comments that I rather wound myself up into a frenzy of verbosity. Here is the Hemmingway version of my ramble:

    ********

    Borax Mix Protein and Sweet Mixes until the crowd favourite is discovered. Then specialise!

    A fun time with Raid Barrier Max, with a cocktail to dull any guilt for those who cannot ask for forgiveness from themselves/Higher Power, as needed. All animals need to be out of the room you are treating until the spray dries to crystals. (Borax mix?!)

    Keeping as much as possible clean, even if those pesky co-inhabitants drop the ball/food now and then, with vinegar, the mint or lavender soap by Dr. Bronner as suggested above.

    Putting wet pet food bowls in a slightly larger container of water, as a moat for stopping marauders.

    Gratitude that this is the sort of irritating thing that we can discuss here, instead of being in some awful, war-torn place where just trying to get firewood is a life threatening act and invasive ants seem like a vision of a life to be envied!

    Thank you and I’ll be back to read more and write less!

    The Terro was one I used to great effect the first year and I was happy happy happy.

    • Carol
      05/14/2016 at 10:13 am

      I would not dream of editing this comment after the time it took you to write it! Thanks for sharing! Carol

      • endless
        08/25/2016 at 12:57 am

        Hahaahahaa!! πŸ˜€

    • endless
      08/25/2016 at 12:56 am

      ..
      Awesome post!
      ..

  56. R Jaye
    06/08/2016 at 11:34 pm

    Tried borax + sugar water; borax +butter; borax +hummingbird sugar water+ pancake syrup. No interest by the ants in any mixture. So, put out plain butter with plain jelly nearby with no borax as a test. No interest by the yard ants in either. What base food could they possibly prefer since they don’t like even pure foods that others have used??

    • Carol
      06/09/2016 at 12:01 am

      I have heard that some ants like sweet and some like protein. If neither work, then I would try the Terro. I prefer a natural remedy but the Terro does aways work for me if I do use it. Carol

  57. glen
    06/22/2016 at 11:42 am

    Two years ago when we moved into our home, the Terro baits worked great – obviously the ants were having sugar withdrawals.

    This year they are back (mostly stray scouting carpenter ants, who I obviously don’t want in the house) but are trying to fit into their swimsuits and are on the high protein diets. They won’t even look at the Terro syrup, so PB&B I guess it is. (There are commercial protein pastes, but I’ll look through the comments here for good mix ratios.)

    Great article πŸ™‚

    • Carol
      06/22/2016 at 11:59 am

      Thanks Glen. Glad you found it useful. Good luck getting rid of them. This year has been pretty good for me. (fingers crossed) Carol

  58. Carl
    06/25/2016 at 4:59 am

    For the borax mix, I found that brown sugar works better than white. In particular, fire ants and black ants prefer it. I put the two baits (white and brown) side by side, and the ants ignored the white mix and but consumed the brown mix.

    • Carol
      06/25/2016 at 10:38 am

      That is interesting to hear Carl. I’ll try the brown sugar next time to test it too. Carol

  59. Fred
    07/23/2016 at 5:57 am

    I’d wished he would have used regular peanut butter instead of low fat. Is it possible they don’t like low fat? I don’t eat low fat. Its not the way nature intended us to eat it so maybe they used some type of chemical to remove the fat from the peanut butter that the ants don’t like.

  60. Bud McGure
    07/27/2016 at 4:03 pm

    Terro liquid ant bait is about 5.4% sodium borate (boric acid) along with liquid sucrose. That’s it and is the reason it dries out so quickly. Their secret formula folks, right there. The same solution can be used to attract and kill carpenter ants with the inclusion of a fat such as coconut oil added to the mixture.

  61. JC
    07/28/2016 at 10:35 pm

    Sugar ants prefer sugar based bait, the Argentinian ants prefer the protein based baits.
    That is why sometimes one will work and sometimes the other bait will work… they are for different types of ants.

  62. Jennifer
    07/30/2016 at 12:09 pm

    I live in Salt Lake City. This is the recipe that finally worked after more than two months of systematically testing all the various baits suggested here and being particular about the percentage quantities:

    1 T Boysenberry Jam + 1/16 t boric acid powder. That makes the poison about 2.0% of the total.
    Drop a dollop on a ΒΌ cut section of a cottage cheese container lid and place under a large stone or paver to prevent dogs from being attracted. I imagine any berry jam would work.

    This worked within about 4-5 days. I refreshed the bait each morning. They swarmed the bait for about 2-3 days and then was an isolated ant here and there; finally all gone!

    They were mostly just the small common garden ants, probably what some have called pavement ants. There were a few larger varieties mixed in here and there.

    Note: Peanut butter and sugar solution was tempting, but they either didn’t eat it or it wasn’t strong enough to kill. Tried both of these with borax and alternately with boric acid without success.

  63. Jennifer
    07/30/2016 at 12:34 pm

    To be clear, the winning formula was 1 Tablespoon berry jam + 1/16 teaspoon boric acid powder mixed thoroughly together.

    This was a large colony living underneath my dry-laid Belgard paver patio, which wreaks havoc with the stability of the stones, so I was anxious to get the queen. However, I was just about to give up in frustration and pull out the Spectracide or Home Defense spray since none of the previous attempts had worked. So thankful this one did.

    • endless
      08/25/2016 at 1:04 am

      Thank you! I’m going to try 1/16 of a teaspoon with 1 tablespoon of strawberry preserves in my worst area right now. I’ll be sure to report back on the progress.

  64. diego
    07/30/2016 at 3:58 pm

    I was having an ant invasion inside my house, I have tried many natural homemade ant killer but they are not effective. Then I have tried a toxic ant killer and my dog almost get poisoned with that toxic ant killer, so not using anymore!!

    Then I was looking for safe ant killer that are safe around kids and pets. Then I found some ant killer at http://petsafeantkiller.org which are safe around kids and pets and also very effective….after using those I have seen so much reduction of ants inside my house. And after 2 week they are completely gone.
    The site have very good information about pet safe ant killers..I guess it may help you.

  65. John R
    07/30/2016 at 11:24 pm

    I just tried a mixture with ‘Brown Cane Sugar’, and in just a few minutes, the ants are all over it. While the white granulated table sugar seems to work reasonably well, my early observations indicate that the brown sugar looks to be much better at attracting the ants. My recipe is as follows:

    1 part (1 tsp) Borax (20 mule team Borax)
    5 parts (5 tsp) Brown Sugar
    1.5 parts (1 1/2 tsp) Pancake Syrup (can substitute honey or other syrup)
    .75 parts (3/4 tsp) Water (can probably be adjusted to your liking)

    After mixing, I apply a small amount (about an inch in diameter) to a small piece of cardboard (2x2in), and place within the active ant trail.

  66. John R
    08/01/2016 at 3:17 am

    I have a couple of questions/thoughts regarding dosing of Borax vs Boric Acid.
    Most recipes that call for Borax seem to call for an average of about 5:1 Sugar (or other bait) to Borax (ranging from about 2:1 to about 7:1), but for Boric Acid the mix ratio is typically much weaker, in the range of 1 – 5 percent (between 100:1 and 20:1 Bait to Boric Acid ratio). I see many posts, where the terms Borax and Boric Acid are used interchangeably, which can be confusing.
    This leads me to believe that there is significantly more active (ant killing) ingredient in Boric Acid, than in Borax per a given quantity of powder, would this assumption be correct?

    • Carol
      08/02/2016 at 10:48 pm

      Hi John. Yes, I would say your assumption would be correct. I used Borax to test my baits since this is a product that is common in many households. Carol

  67. Rob
    08/02/2016 at 12:53 pm

    Hi again,
    It’s been quite some time since I posted a comment on your blog, I said I’d get back to you letting you know my long term results, I pleased to say I have enjoyed success as its been Just over a year and if you read my input on the 01/22/2015 at 4:33 am, you will see that by using a mixture of 1 part borax to 100 parts sugar along with water to make a consistently like thick syrup works well, I found that after some time the mix dose go hard, I simply add some water and let it soften by itself, yes at times a few ants reappeared but that’s exspected as I believe ants will always be there I’m talking maybe quite a few months later, but they are doomed as they too disappear, I now leave that coaster with the pecks paste lid half filled with my mix there most of the time, regular treatment

    The main thing it that I feel going by my results is that the original nest was eventually destroyed, but after some time you can exspect for a new scouts from a different colony to venture into the same area seeking food, life goes on, lm confident in my mix that I’ve got it right for those tiny black ants anyway. I have to thank you all, reading most of the comments I’ve settled on this mix and it has proven both successful and very economical
    Regards Rob

  68. Rob
    08/02/2016 at 12:57 pm

    Hi again,
    It’s been quite some time since I posted a comment on your blog, I said I’d get back to you letting you know my long term results, I pleased to say I have enjoyed success as its been Just over a year and if you read my input on the 01/22/2015 at 4:33 am, you will see that by using a mixture of 1 part borax to 100 parts sugar along with water to make a consistently like thick syrup works well, I found that after some time the mix dose go hard, I simply add some water and let it soften by itself, yes at times a few ants reappeared but that’s exspected as I believe ants will always be there I’m talking maybe quite a few months later, but they are doomed as they too disappear, I now leave that coaster with the pecks paste lid half filled with my mix there most of the time, regular treatment

    The main thing it that I feel going by my results is that the original nest was eventually destroyed, but after some time you can exspect for a new scouts from a different colony to venture into the same area seeking food, life goes on, lm confident in my mix that I’ve got it right for those tiny black ants anyway. I have to thank you all, reading most of the comments I’ve settled on this mix and it has proven both successful and very economical

  69. John R
    08/11/2016 at 12:08 am

    OK…After two weeks of dealing with these little black ants, and with only moderate success in attracting them with various sweets, and even peanut butter (which they showed absolutely no interest), I decided to try something new!

    On several occasions I have had large numbers of them show up in the house after eating lunch meat (roasted turkey breast in my case), which left a slight residue of the meat on the plate, which was left in the kitchen sink. I used to flush them with hot water, but as we all know, this is only a short term solution!

    Today, after seeing the majority of my bait traps of various sweet goodies nearly vacant, but with many ants on the prowl, I decided to try using cold cuts with Borax. I used between 5-10 percent (by weight) Borax to 90-95 percent meat.

    For my initial test, I used about 1/6 of a slice of turkey, or about 5.3 grams (1 slice is 32g), and 1/8tsp of Borax, or about 0.48 grams (1 TBS of Borax is about 11.5g), this (about 8.3 percent borax by weight). I would recommend making only a small batch like this at first to see how it works, you can always make a larger batch later if you need it. With the ingredients in hand, I performed the following steps:
    1. Chop the lunch meat into tiny pieces (as small as possible)
    2. Place lunch meat in a microwave safe dish
    3. Sprinkle the borax over the meat
    4. Add a small amount of water (I added about 1/2tsp for this)
    5. Mix everything together well
    6. Place dish in microwave. Try about 10 seconds at a time (for this small amount), inspect, if liquid is still present, stir just a bit, and repeat until liquid has either evaporated or soaked into the meat (along with the borax).
    7. Let it cool for a bit (you can refrigerate the leftovers for the next day or two if needed).
    8. Place bait on a small piece of cardboard, and place bait tray in location that is well traveled by the ants.

    My Observations:
    Upon placing the first bait tray, ants were coming in large numbers, and fast. I set out a few more, and every one of these also were very popular (no less than 50 ants at any one station), while leaving the bait trays with the sweets (honey, sugar, syrup) nearly untouched.

    To date, while I have had some moderate success with various mixtures, this has been by far the most impressive.

    This is only a one day observation, but I will see over the next few days if the population decreases, and most important, if permanently eliminates the colony.

    • Carol
      08/11/2016 at 11:18 am

      Very interesting test John. Please do let us know if the ant population decreases. Carol

  70. g. baggott
    08/19/2016 at 4:04 pm

    I leave in tx. and we have problems with fire ants . we didn’t want to use chemicals so I heard about grits which works . it doesn’t take long and has the same effect as the borax. they feed it to the queen and she dies.

    • Carol
      08/19/2016 at 10:20 pm

      Great info to know. Thanks for sharing this! Carol

    • endless
      08/25/2016 at 1:08 am

      That’s so great to hear someone has finally found a use for grits!

      • endless
        08/25/2016 at 1:13 am

        ..
        (β—‘β€Ώ-)

        ..

  71. Greg
    08/20/2016 at 10:29 pm

    I only have ant problems when the ground is saturated with heavy rains, which happens rarely in north Texas. The ants find their way upstairs to where I feed the cats. I will try the various borax + sugar + water mixes on the trails outdoors, mainly across my driveway and front porch. Indoors I have found that filling a common pump spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol and spraying it on the ants stops them dead in their tracks. It won’t keep them away but I’m planning on the b+s+w mix to do that. The alcohol spray is an immediate short term solution inside the house. The alcohol evaporates quickly and doesn’t stain or mar floors or cabinets.

    • Carol
      08/20/2016 at 10:51 pm

      I have a similar problem here in NC when it rains. I use vinegar and water 50/50 to treat them immediately and then follow up with baits. Carol

  72. Daniel Collette
    09/10/2016 at 2:14 pm

    It was interesting to see the different concoctions of borax for killing ants. None of them however have the MAGIC ingredient for really killing ants. I am sure that it would beat even your terro bait. The MAGIC ingredient if FAT. Ants love sugar but they love FAT even more.

    Here is the BEST ant bait with NO mess. Mix equal parts of granular sugar and borax. All oil, shortening or olive oil to moisten the mix to a paste.

    Just put a little pile of the paste on any ant trail. They will be so all over it and dead within 24 hours. Totally.

    Dan Collette Albuquerque

  73. Daniel Collette
    09/10/2016 at 2:16 pm

    It was interesting to see the different concoctions of borax for killing ants. None of them however have the MAGIC ingredient for really killing ants. I am sure that it would beat even your terro bait. The MAGIC ingredient is FAT. Ants love sugar but they love FAT even more.

    Here is the BEST ant bait with NO mess. Mix equal parts of granular sugar and borax. Add oil, shortening or olive oil to moisten the mix to a paste.

    Just put a little pile of the paste on any ant trail. They will be so all over it and dead within 24 hours. Totally.

    Dan Collette Albuquerque

  74. Deb Puerini
    01/20/2017 at 12:18 pm

    Daniel Collette

    I am going to try your mixture with oil. I do think that that might be too much Borax, but it worked for you, right? I also am going to try the 1 Tablespoon berry jam + 1/16 teaspoon boric acid powder only replacing the jam with dog food too.

    After reading this whole page, I got a “light bulb” moment (for me that is, maybe it’s obvious to you but not to me) which was that whatever YOUR ants are attracted to and chomping on in your home, use THAT as an attractant base. Apparently my little ants are carb lovers especially dog food lovers, so it came to me that of COURSE I should base my kill sauce on that. And seeing Daniel’s post above convinced me even more. I am going to do that RIGHT NOW and we shall see.

    Isopropyl alcohol is my weapon of choice for immediate termination of ants and also fruit flies (sprayed of course with a super-fine shower, not a straight line spray). They at the very least appear drunk and stagger around so you can smoosh them.

    I also get those big black flies in armies in the windows for unknown reasons every once in a while. I discovered by sheer frustration that a vacuum to vacuum up those horrible things worked GREAT and sucked them all in. I am so fortunate to have a Dyson cordless vacuum with that long neck extension and that worked perfectly.

    Funny how the ad to the side of this post is for the SimpliSafe thingie “Stop Intruders” it’s so appropriate for this site, isn’t it?

    Gawd I love this site…Thank you SO much Carol!

    • Carol
      01/20/2017 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Deb. What a wealth of information your comment has! Thanks so much for sharing. Glad you are enjoying my site! Carol

  75. Chris
    02/01/2017 at 4:39 pm

    Watch risks to bees. Only use sweet mixtures where bees won’t feast on them. Avoid honey mixtures outside for sure. The bees have enough hurdles. Careful about impacting other animals too. Cats, dogs and various wildlife will eat beanut butter. The amount of borax isn’t likely toxic but may make them sick. We’re going to try the liquid sugar and borax mixture inside though it may not be ants we’re dealing with. Perhaps termites?

  76. Tracy
    02/15/2017 at 9:48 pm

    I use 1 cup granulated sugar 3 Tablespoons of Borax. It works amazing. Better than the Terro. I just place little piles around the room and right now I have a couple piles that are almost half black from ants that have died on the hill. That was one combination I was surprized was not tried in the testing.

  77. Colen Burt
    02/18/2017 at 6:06 pm

    Best ‘container ‘ for any of the ant bait mixtures is an aluminium foil tart baking cup of the sort found on supermarket mince pies. Turned upside down and with a depression made by thumbs so that the top is now concave it resembles a ‘volcano in shape. They can easily climb up and down the outer slope to reach the treat in the depression, and out again. Eating the mince pies to obtain the cups is a bonus.

    • Carol
      02/19/2017 at 9:03 am

      Great tip Colen. Thanks for sharing it. Carol

  78. Colleen Marie Cash
    02/22/2017 at 11:18 am

    FIREANT . I add grits (tried rice but thought I should’ve used food processor to make it smaller) to powdered sugar and borax. haphazardly try equal parts. My friend suggested rice would expand in belly, no idea if true. I put it in an old powdered dry commercial bait bottle, has a removal cap with holes and plastic so I can squeeze it. I got rid of more than a dozen mounds, 1-3 feet round size last year. We discovered them all on one day.

    The biggest mounds I used a quick Exterminating product that I bought at the hardware store to quickly kill (vs bait for queen) first rid the majority of adults. I sprinkle borax bait On and Around mounds (roughly dimension of the mounds, example, 3 foot mounds gets about 3 feet so becomes a 9 foot circle, 1 foot mounds becomes a 3 for circle etc). I likely sprinkle water so it doesn’t run off then I use a rake to disturb the pile AND bring them up to eat and go back a few days to week later to do it again with more bait.

    I did not treat the whole yard over the NC temp winter. This February I found active 1 foot mound, and a small barely active mound. Just started process of bait again. I do this totally haphazardly but it worked last year on more than a dozen. I don’t use the yard much, small – 40 x 60 feet- so a high percentage of ants per grass- my son complained about ants cutting the grass, I had no idea I sent him into an infestation of the aggressive biters and marked the mounds with sticks and mowed around piles very carefully in very tall boots. Looked ridiculous, but in backyard thank goodness. The new mounds would pop up in lines several feet from old (so it looked like extraterrestrial phenomenon activity)

    Then I go back a few days later and do it again. This year I will treat whole yard with exterminator too.

    • Carol
      02/22/2017 at 11:35 am

      Thanks for the report of your experiences Colleen. Carol

  79. Geoff
    03/21/2017 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you for your contribution to getting rid of ants from your home.

    I have tried the honey and borax with moderate success. The best solution is what I call the commando response. Simply kill or make the ants is their tracks. Leave these carcasses in the tracks as a deadly reminder to the rest that this is a dangerous place to come. Within hours they usually do not return.

    • Carol
      03/21/2017 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Geoff. That is interesting. I hate to see them and wipe them all up, so I never got a chance to see this work! Carol

  80. Joan P.
    03/25/2017 at 11:43 am

    Tried the cotton ball method but the balls turned hard as rocks! What did I do wrong?

    • Carol
      03/25/2017 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Joan.. None of my tests involved cotton balls. they were mentioned in other comments but I have not tried this method so I don’t know what went wrong for you. Carol

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