Are Borax and Boric Acid Really Effective?

Borax and boric acid are two of the internet’s best solutions for pest control if you can’t afford an exterminator. But are they really effective? And are they safe?

These are common pesticides that come from chemical compounds found in nature. Borax is used for a variety of purposes, including as an insecticide, herbicide, fungicide, antiseptic, and flame retardant. Its varied use and the idea that borax is “natural” are the reasons so many people buy them. Borax can work on some pests, but not all. There are both positive and negative consequences of its use.

A Short History of Borax and Boric Acid

Originally, this chemical compound was found in lake beds throughout Tibet and since ancient times. Borax began being transported out in the late 700s. Trade routes throughout Asia began to see it sold in markets as a cleaning product, pottery glaze, and tanning of skins. It was notable in its use throughout ancient Greece. Due to scarcity of supply, it wasn’t commonplace everywhere. But over the centuries, borax began to gain popularity in Europe, India, and northern Africa.

Boric acid is a different compound of the same chemicals. Borax is the original mineral that is taken straight from the ground. When collected, borax looks like a crystal. Powdered, it dissolves in water. Boric acid is the processed and refined form of borax.

Borax began being used commercially in the late 1800s. Francis Marion Smith was an entrepreneur and owner of the Pacific Coast Borax Company. They were the first company to popularize the use of boric acid as a cleaning agent, as well as the multiple uses it is known for today.

Does Boric Acid Work as a Pesticide?

Boric acid is the compound used in pesticides and comes in powder or tablet form. Boric acid is toxic when ingested by anyone, including pets. Insects walk through the powder, which sticks to their exoskeleton. They then ingest the boric acid while grooming themselves. The boric acid affects their metabolism and exoskeleton, eventually killing them.

Boric acid can also work as a deterrent as studies have shown that insects will avoid large deposits of this solution. They can sniff it out and understand its effects, however, they do not detect it in small amounts.

Boric acid only kills pests that groom themselves, however. It is mostly used as an effective treatment for ants and cockroaches. It will not be as effective on most other insects.

Is Boric Acid Safe?

The problem with boric acid is that it is toxic. It won’t kill you, but it does cause digestive tract problems and will cause you to be sick. Pets, children, and humans should stay away from boric acid as it can continue to poison you.

Boric acid is not recommended for people or pets - which is why you should avoid spreading it all over your house. In an attempt to poison bugs, you may end up hurting yourself or others.

It’s best to call in a professional exterminator if you have a pest problem. At Eagle Pest Services, we can locate the source of the problem, get rid of pests, and keep them from coming back. Call us at 888-616-8739 or schedule an appointment online to get rid of your pest problem once and for all.