Boric Acid vs. Borax for Roaches
When looking for a natural way to get rid of cockroaches, borax and boric acid are two solutions that you will find on many websites. Many people interchange the trade name “Borax” and boric acid, but they are two different things. The next question you probably have is which one is correct for getting rid of cockroaches, or will they both work? Let's take a look.
What Is Borax?
Borax and boric acid both originate from the fundamental element boron. This mineral is mined throughout Nevada and Utah. The largest producer of boron on earth is Turkey. Boron is not found naturally on earth, and what we do have was deposited by meteors. It typically occurs as a compound rather than in its pure form. Boron is also a trace mineral that our bodies need in small amounts.
Boric acid and borax are two of the forms in which boron can occur. Borax is a natural mineral mined from the ground or collected by evaporating deposits to leave it behind. It is made of oxygen, sodium, and boron. Borax is also known as sodium tetraborate and has the chemical formula Na2B4O7 • 10H2O. Boric acid is a by-product that occurs when borax is chemically processed.
Borax is used to boost the cleaning power of laundry detergent to provide better stain removal. Its most familiar form is in the brand 20 Mule Team Borax. Borax is also used in flame retardants, and it is an ingredient in making homemade slime. It is also an excellent natural cockroach killer.
The best part about using borax to get rid of cockroaches is that it is relatively harmless unless children and animals are sensitive to it. It is certainly less dangerous than some of the pesticides that pest control specialists use. When used properly, borax leaves no unpleasant odors around the home and no harmful residue.
What Is Boric Acid?
Boric acid is created when borax is processed into a usable form. It is a mixture of borax and other minerals that occur naturally in the deposit. It is also known as Hydrogen Borate (H3BO3).
The main difference between borax and boric acid is that borax occurs naturally, and boric acid results from a chemical process to purify borax. This purification process involves adding hydrochloric acid to the borax.
Like borax, boric acid can also be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Borax and boric acid are used in many products, including deodorizers, mold killers, disinfectants, and stain removers. It is also effective in killing cockroaches. Boric acid is slightly more acidic than borax.
Which Is Better to Kill Roaches Borax or Boric Acid?
The next question you probably want to know is which one is best to use for getting cockroaches out of your home. The answer is that both of them are effective when used properly.
When sprinkled along walls or on surfaces where the insects frequent, the insects will come into contact with it, and it will stick to their legs and feet. They will take this back to the nest and will ingest it as they clean themselves. Others around them will also ingest it and be poisoned.
Borax and boric acid also dehydrate the insects and will cause them to die that way, too. Boric acid has also been found to interrupt the reproductive cycle of female cockroaches. Borax is often sold for purposes other than killing cockroaches, but boric acid is often sold for the sole purpose of ridding yourself of cockroaches and other insects. Boric acid is available in dusts, pellets, powders, pastes, gels, and aerosols at most home improvement stores.
How to Use Borax and Boric Acid to Kill Cockroaches
To properly use boric acid or borax, you should apply only a fine dust that cannot be seen with the naked eye around baseboards, behind drawers, in cupboards, and under sinks. You should observe your insects and try to find out where they run when you turn on the lights. This will tell you where their nests are located and give you an idea of where to apply the dust.
When used in this manner, boric acid and borax rely on the insects inadvertently walking through them. If you have large piles of it and they can see it, they will go around it and avoid it. This method of using it relies on the insects accidentally coming into contact with it as they scurry about searching for food.
Many commercial bait products will contain either borax or boric acid with something to attract the insects. You can also make your own bait that works similarly to commercial ones with only a few ingredients that you probably already have around the home.
Making a bait uses something they are attracted to and lures them into consuming boric acid along with the food they prefer. Here are some ideas of how to use boric acid and borax to make bait.
Borax and Sugar
One popular method is to mix equal parts of borax and sugar and putting them into a squeezable bottle to dust areas where you have seen roaches. Powdered sugar is an excellent choice if you use this method.
Peanut Butter and Boric Acid
To use this method, leave a spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl or on a small plastic lid. Add a sprinkling of borax or boric acid on top, and leave it any place where you have seen roaches.
Cocoa Powder and Borax
The cocoa powder mixes well with borax, and cockroaches can't resist it. Another method is to leave the bait in a lid and sprinkle boric acid or borax around it so that the cockroaches have to walk through it to get to the treat.
You can make boric acid or borax balls by mixing in a little bit of the powder, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and onion powder. You can mix this into a dough and form little balls that you can place around your home.
You can mix up several of these at a time and store them in a plastic bag, but make sure to label them, so no one eats them! Also, make sure to place them where children and pets will not get to them.
In any of these recipes, you can substitute either borax or boric acid, which will have the same effect. One thing that does not work is mixing borax or boric acid with water. It will not kill them on contact, and it will eliminate the dehydrating effect of the product.
Boric acid can be used to get rid of several different kinds of pests, including mice and rats. It can also be used to rid yourself of fleas and flea eggs. To use it for fleas, you must sprinkle it on the carpet and other areas, leave it overnight, and vacuum it up in the morning.
It is also important to know that when you use borax and boric acid to control roaches, you will not see an immediate decline in the population, such as when you use bug bombs or have a professional exterminator.
You will notice a dramatic reduction in the population after about two weeks, and it will continue to decline until it is gone. Bug bombs and many other chemicals kill roaches immediately but only kill those that you can see.
Borax and boric acid will help you kill the ones you cannot see and tackle the problem at its root. It takes longer to see visible results, but it is more effective in the long run, and you do not have to rely on harmful chemicals. Many apartment dwellers use boric acid and borax dust as a preventative continually.