A Guide to Selecting Boric Acid for Your Bug Problems
If you have a roach problem in your home, precautions like keeping your kitchen clean and not leaving food out overnight can help. But, roaches are very adept at finding sources of food anyway. (A roach can even live off the proteins left behind in sweat or a fingerprint!) Since they reproduce very quickly, you’ll have to be more proactive in getting rid of them. Insecticide sprays and bait traps can help. But powders like boric acid and diatomaceous earth are less of a risk to humans, and still lethal to roaches. (Boric acid disrupts their digestive and nervous system, while diatomaceous earth dries them out.) And one roach can bring these powders back to their lair, getting rid of even more of the pests!
We’ll see that there are a few variations among boric acid products against bugs. There are powders that are over 99% pure boric acid, and other products that combine boric acid with bait. We’ll go through the optimal method for applying these powders, and give some pointers on how they can work more effectively.
How does boric acid kill insects?
Boric acid (chemical formula H3BO3) is a highly effective insecticide that works by dehydrating insects. When ants, roaches, or other pests come into contact with boric acid powder or bait, the powder sticks to their bodies and legs. As the insects groom themselves, they inadvertently ingest the powdered acid. Once inside the insect's digestive system, boric acid reacts with stomach acids to form a highly toxic compound that destroys cell membranes and disrupts metabolic processes leading to the dehydration of their bodies. The dehydrated insects then die within days of ingesting the boric acid as they cannot hold onto water due to its ability to interfere with a bug's ability to absorb liquid from the food it eats or surroundings. Overall, boric acid provides an ecological and non-toxic alternative to more hazardous pesticides and insecticides available in commercial products.
Types of Boric Acid For Bugs
Looking at the Best Reviews Guide’s list of boric acid treatments against bugs, you’ll notice a few different boric acid products:
Boric Acid Powder: You can find packages of boric acid powder that are 99.9% pure, such as the Duda Energy Fine Powder Boric Acid. You apply the powder where cockroaches or palmetto bugs usually crawl, such as behind the refrigerator, along baseboards, or in cracks and crevices.
Duda Energy Fine Powder Boric Acid
Boric acid with a lure: Some products, such as the Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder include a lure that will tempt the roaches to ingest the powder. As long as the powder remains dry, it should still be effective against bugs, even for weeks after application.
Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder
Tablets: There are also products that use boric acid in tablet form. It’s not as concentrated as pure boric acid powder. But, the rationale is that a roach or ant will bring the tablet back to their nest, and thus eradicate the entire infestation of roaches or ants. One such product is the Harris Roach Tablets with Lure.
Harris Roach Tablets with Lure
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions about the boric acid product that they bought:
Getting rid of ants as well: If you want to solve an ant problem, one customer suggested the following fix: Mix the boric acid powder with powdered sugar and put the mixture in an old prescription bottle. Place the bottle along a typical ant trail in your house. The ants will be lured to take the sugar and inadvertently eat the boric acid. They should die within 72 hours. (That will take care of the present generation of ants. But you may have to apply it again for the next generation.)
Good against fleas: If your pet brings fleas into your home, flea larvae can end up in your carpeting, where they live off pet dander. But applying boric acid powder in your rug is effective against flea eggs and larvae (but not so much versus adult fleas, since they live off blood).
Prefer powder to tablets: One customer who bought the Harris boric acid tablets said that he saw roaches walk right past. He had the impression that the powder would work better since there is a greater chance that the roaches will walk in it and later ingest it.
Here are some features that are worth looking for when selecting boric acid for bugs:
How much to apply: If you use boric acid powder, it’s suggested to apply it with a bellows hand duster, which deposits a fine layer of the powder. By making it less noticeable, it increases the chances that roaches or ants will walk into it and carry it away with them. The Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder comes with its own powder duster.
Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder
Learning curve to apply powder properly: One customer who bought boric acid powder said that they had to practice a bit to know how much pressure to apply with the bellows to dust the surfaces with boric acid powder. In the end, they started using a paintbrush to apply the powder in a thin layer.
Where to apply boric acid: It’s recommended to apply boric acid behind your refrigerator and stove, in the corners of kitchen cabinets, around plumbing, and in any cracks or crevices in warm places, where roaches love to hide. But don’t apply boric acid in any locations where it might get into your food. If ingested, boric acid can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also cause skin rashes, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Safety precautions with boric acid powder: Packages of pure boric acid mention that boric acid is not usually dangerous when it only comes in contact with your skin. You should just rinse it off with water. However, you should apply the powder using an appropriate respirator. If you accidentally inhale the powder, you should go to a place where there is fresh air. If anyone ingests the powder, they should drink plenty of water and seek medical attention.
Other uses of boric acid: Although boric acid is effective in killing insect pests, there are other uses for it as well. For example, if you purchase pure boric acid, you can use it in your swimming pool, so that the pH of the water will not get too high from too much chlorine. Also, it inhibits algae growth in your pool and can prevent metals from corroding.
We went through some of the Best Reviews Guide’s offerings among boric acid products for eliminating roaches and other bug pests. Many people were pleased with the results, finding dead roaches after a couple of days, and eventually a roach-free house. Boric acid is a good alternative to the pungent-smelling bug sprays and the various roach traps. Try out one of the boric acid products. It may be so effective, you won’t have to buy another one!