The Truth About Borax and Boric Acid

When people look for ways to control bugs at home, borax and boric acid are often looked to for a solution. But are they useful? More importantly, are they safe?

If you have pests bugging you at home, you are probably desperate for anything that works. While some at-home remedies can be successful, the best thing to do is call a professional.

The experts at Environmental Pest Control have years of experience handling residential and commercial pest problems. Call us today for a free quote.

boric acid powder in spoon with boric powder topview

What is Borax?

Borax has been used for many years in America and throughout the world. It can be called several different things: sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. Borax is a boron compound. It is also a mineral and a salt from boric acid.

Typically, you will find borax in a white, powdered form that will dissolve in water. The most common places you will discover borax used is in laundry detergents, cosmetics, and enamel. It can also be a fire-retardant and an antifungal.

Interestingly, borax was used in gold mining as a flux, so miners did not have to use mercury in the extraction process. Mercury is toxic. However, it wasn’t as successful as mercury.

Borax was discovered in Tibet in the 700s. It was found in dried-up lake beds. Initially, it was transported along the Silk Road. It didn’t become common until the late 1800s.

What is Boric Acid?

Boric acid, on the other hand, is also known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, and orthoboric acid. It is a weak acid of boron.

You will find boric acid in insecticides, antiseptics, and as a flame-retardant and neutron absorber. You will find it as a colorless crystal or white powder, both of which dissolve in water. 

Boric acid is called sassolite when it is in mineral form. You will find it in volcanic areas. It is created from the steam in fissures in the ground. It can also be discovered as a constituent of other minerals, like borax, boracite, and colemanite, and found in sea salt and most fruits.

The first person to prepare boric acid was Wilhelm Homberg. He used borax and mineral acids to create boric acid. Borates, however, have been used since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Crystalline boric acid in test tube, on a blue background. It is used in many industries, including medicine, as a poison for the destruction of cockroaches.

Can I Use Borax and Boric Acid to Control Pests?

Boric acid and borax are similar. They are merely different formulations of one compound. Borax is a form of boron and is taken straight from the ground as a mineral; you will find it in cleaning products. Boric acid is more refined and processed and is used in chemical products.

Both borax and boric acid are toxic to people and animals when ingested. They are not necessarily dangerous to handle. Any product you find with either compound will be labeled only for external use.

It is essential you take extreme caution when using either of these products or any pesticides around children and pets. If used incorrectly or not monitored, kids or pets could get very sick.

When it comes to killing pests, your best bet is boric acid. Borax should not be used as a pesticide, though some people confuse the two or think they are the same. Borax can kill pests, though it is not nearly as effective as boric acid.

You will often find boric acid used in pesticides. You should be able to find it as a tablet, liquid, or powder or in a trap. Boric acid kills certain insects by absorbing into their bodies and poisoning them. Once absorbed, it will affect their metabolism and exoskeletons.

Traps or baits using boric acid rely on insects coming into contact with it. A bug will walk through the fine grain boric acid or be exposed to the liquid form. As a powder, it will stick to them.  A bug will attempt to clean themselves, ingesting the acid in the process.

It is important to note that too high of a percent of boric acid can actually repel bugs. Most commercially bought baits and traps will only use 5-10% boric acid in their formulas. If you buy powdered boric acid to spread out, it will likely be around 98% boric acid.

What Boric Acid Will Kill

While many think that boric acid will kill any pest in their home, the unfortunate truth is that it will not. Boric acid will only kill bugs and insects that groom themselves. The bug needs to ingest the acid after cleaning themselves.

The most common pests to use boric acid on are ants and cockroaches.

Domestic ants eat cooked poison from egg yolk and boric acid. Poison in the form of puny piece of in the form of globe. Around lie crumbs. A problem for life from pests. A way to get rid of parasites.

What Boric Acid Won’t Kill

Unfortunately, many pests get into homes that boric acid will not kill. If your pest problem is any of the following, skip the boric acid and call the professionals at Environmental Pest Management.

It is worth repeating, using boric acid in your home to control pests can be useful, but also dangerous. If humans ingest it, there can be dire consequences. Boric acid is hazardous to humans for the same reason it is hazardous to bugs.

If you choose to use boric acid in your home, please take extreme caution. It is wise to avoid using it altogether if any pets or children will be around boric acid traps or bait.

When storing either borax or boric acid, ensure they are kept high and out of the reach of anyone who shouldn’t come in contact with it. As with any chemical, caution must be taken.

Call Environmental Pest Management Today

If you have a pest problem and need professional help, call Environmental Pest Management today. We have years of experience protecting families and ensuring bugs do not pester them.

Environmental Pest Management only uses safe methods that will not harm your family. We understand how important it is to keep your family safe. We will exterminate any bugs in your home and make sure they don’t come.

Call us today for a free quote. We customize solutions for each client so you can rest easy knowing the best pest control plan for your home.

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