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Diatomaceous Earth vs Borax for Ants

Diatomaceous Earth vs Borax for Ants
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    Ants are a nuisance. Certain species may do structural damage to your home, and others may get into your food. Some of them will even bite you and your family. Let’s explore how you can use diatomaceous earth or borax to kill these annoying pests. 

    What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

    Diatomaceous earth consists of sediment from fossilized algae — organisms with skeletons comprised of silica. In the 1960s, it was first used as a natural pesticide and is currently still in use. In particular, it has been shown to prevent and kill pests, such as bed bugs, spiders, roaches, and fleas.

    When you get diatomaceous earth, you’ll notice it looks like a powder. It, however, contains many shards that you can’t see. These shards aren’t dangerous to humans or pets but will wreak havoc on certain varieties of insects.

    This substance works in two ways. It has a drying effect that absorbs the moisture inside the insect. As a result, the insect will dry out and perish.

    On the other hand, those shards will stick to the insect’s exoskeletal, especially in between their joints. It’ll cause tiny cuts, and the insect will bleed to death.

    How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Ants

    You can use this substance to kill ants. However, be aware that not all ants species are killed easily by this substance. It effectively gets rid of both black ants and carpenter ants, though.

    When you’re using it to get rid of ants in your home, you can apply it at the entryway where you notice most of the ants are entering. Then, as they invade your home, they’ll come in contact with the substance.

    You could also leave out bait to attract the ants, such as honey or sugar. Anything sweet will work. Then, you mix the substance with diatomaceous earth. It’ll attract the ants, and they won’t know a harmful substance is in it until it’s too late.

    Another option for getting rid of ants is to apply the diatomaceous earth directly to them. This can get messy and time-consuming if you don’t target a large group of them at once.

    If you have an anthill outside of your home, you could address the problem there. You sprinkle the substance on the hill.

    Creating a spray consisting of diatomaceous earth and water can effectively rid your home of these pests. It doesn’t work when it’s wet, but if you spray it, the substance will dry and regain its effectiveness as an insecticide.

    How Fast Does Diatomaceous Earth Work on Ants?

    As a general rule, it depends on how you use the substance. For instance, sprinkling it directly on the ants takes between two and three days to kill them.

    If you add it to bait and they ingest it, diatomaceous earth usually takes less than a day to kill them.

    It takes the longest to kill them by just sprinkling or spraying it.

    What Is Borax?

    The technical name for borax is sodium tetraborate or the salt of boric acid. It’s used for laundry and other household cleaning purposes. It comes in a powdered form and is found naturally in dry lake beds, such as Death Valley in California.

    Borax has also been known to kill certain insects, including spiders, ants, bed bugs, and cockroaches. It can work by attaching to their exoskeletons or when they ingest it. When it comes in contact with their exoskeleton, it causes it to wear away, which leaves them unprotected and unable to live. On the other hand, when they ingest it, the substance will poison them and alter their metabolism, rendering them unable to survive.

    How to Use Borax for Ants

    You may use borax for ants similar to how you use diatomaceous earth.

    For one, you can create a bait using the borax and some sweet food that will attract the ants, such as honey or peanut butter. They won’t sense the borax in it and will ingest the concoction. This is when the borax will destroy their digestive tract.

    Once an ant ingests the borax, it takes 24 to 48 hours for them to die. Remember that it’ll take several days to eradicate an entire colony since you’ll need to wait for each one to consume the bait.

    You can also sprinkle it on their entryways or them. Borax could be given directly to the colony by applying it to their nest.

    Is Diatomaceous Earth or Borax Better for Ants?

    As a general rule, both substances can kill ants. However, it all depends on the specifics of the situation.

    Type of Ant

    Some ants may be resistant to diatomaceous earth, making borax a better solution.

    Certain ants respond better to the diatomaceous earth than borax, including carpenter ants.

    Size of Infestation

    Borax tends to work better at addressing a large ant infestation than diatomaceous earth.

    Location

    Diatomaceous earth is a powder, making it more difficult to work with than borax — a granular substance. However, you may find that you can place diatomaceous earth in places where you can get borax.

    General Recommendation

    You may want to try the diatomaceous earth first as a general rule. And if it’s not successful, then use the borax.

    Safety Precautions

    In terms of safety, the diatomaceous earth wins. This substance is actually used in cosmetics and substances. Therefore, if you choose the food-grade diatomaceous earth, which will work the same as the stuff intended for other purposes, it’s extremely safe for you, your children, and pets to be around.

    food grade diatomaceous earth for ants

    You should, however, avoid inhaling the substance as much as possible because it could cause respiratory and nasal irritation.

    Borox, on the other hand, while also a naturally occurring substance, can cause skin irritation and be dangerous if ingested. It’s been associated with reproductive harm. If a child consumes borax, it could be deadly, even in an amount as small as five to 10 grams.

    Overall, diatomaceous earth is a natural way to get rid of ants effectively. However, not all varieties of ants respond to it, and in cases where you have a large colony, it may not work as well.

    Sources:

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-diatomaceous-earth#toxins

    https://www.healthline.com/health/is-borax-safe

    https://www.orkin.com/pests/ants/carpenter-ants/boric-acid-and-carpenter-ants

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324167

    https://www.diatomaceousearth.com/blogs/learning-center/diatomaceous-earth-wet-vs-dry-application

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