Boric Acid for Termites: Does It Work?

The best way to get rid of termite infestations is to call pest control professionals. But some homeowners like to try home remedies and natural solutions for their termite problem. One home remedy that is often talked about is boric acid. Can you really use boric acid for termites? And how effective is it?

What is boric acid and how does it kill termites?

Boric acid is a white powder that is commonly used as a pesticide against common household pests, including termites. It works by attacking the digestive system of termites. It disrupts the digestive processes of termites, causing the pests to not be able to absorb nutrients from wood. This eventually leads to their death.

Boric acid also damages the exoskeleton and nervous system of termites. Due to its abrasive nature, boric acid destroys the protective outer layer of termites, eventually burning, dehydrating, and killing them.

And once the home remedy penetrates through the body of the termites, it disrupts their nervous system, particularly the signals between their brain and muscles. This can eventually paralyze the muscles and kill the termites.

In short, boric acid is effective for termites because it attacks their digestive system, exoskeleton, and nervous system.

You can use boric acid for termites.

How do you use boric acid for termites?

1. Find the termite colony

You probably already know where the termite colony is. But in case you don’t, here are the common areas where they thrive — attics, basements, crawl spaces, electrical and plumbing areas, foundations, walls, and other spaces with wooden structures, especially those that also happen to be moist.

Another way to find the termite colony is to follow the mud tubes around your home. These are tunnels that connect termite colonies to food sources, so following them often leads to the colonies themselves. But please, don’t remove the mud tubes. You may have a difficult time looking for the colonies again if you remove the tunnels that lead to them.

2. Mix boric acid and water

Create a boric acid solution by mixing boric acid and water. There is no specific ratio of boric acid and water. But many people are finding success with one cup of boric acid and one gallon of water. Put the solution in a bucket or a spray bottle, depending on how you want to apply the boric acid solution to the colony.

3. Apply the boric acid solution to the colony

You can pour the boric acid solution into the termite colony using the bucket. This can be more effective because the solution will reach even the termites that are hiding deep inside the colony. But it’s not perfect because termite colonies are intricate. The solution may not be able to reach the termites in the deepest parts of the colony.

You can also spray the solution on the termite colony entrance. But this method won’t even touch the termites inside the colony, so it works better by complementing it with the bucket method.

4. Repeat for the next few days

Your boric acid solution is not the ultimate termite control product. It requires direct contact with the termites to work. This may mean that you have to apply the solution multiple times before you see results. Repeat the process once a day for the next three to five days to see if there is a significant decrease in termite activity.

If you don’t see any, you may want to start looking into pest control professionals.

Boric acid is effective in getting rid of termites.
Termite mud tubes. Image source: Mississippi State University Extension

Are there safety concerns in using boric acid for termite control?

  • Boric acid can be toxic to humans and pets. Boric acid is a low-toxicity pesticide, but it can still be dangerous if ingested in large quantities. It can be particularly dangerous to children and household pets like cats and dogs. Since they are smaller, they will need a smaller amount of the home remedy to experience symptoms. Some of the symptoms you should look out for are diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In worst cases, boric acid ingestion can even lead to kidney damage, seizures, and even death.
  • Try using ready-made boric acid pesticides instead of going DIY. You don’t have to make your own boric acid pesticide with raw boric acid and water. You can just buy commercially available boric acid pesticides instead. You will be able to buy them in pest control stores and other retailers. When using commercial pesticides, diligently follow the instructions on their packaging. This way, you are ensuring that you are using the product effectively and safely. They have toxic ingredients after all. And you don’t want to mishandle them, especially around children and household pets.
  • Store boric acid in an inaccessible area. Because boric acid can be dangerous to humans and animals, it’s best to make it inaccessible. Store it in an area where it can’t be reached by unsupervised children and curious pets. An elevated cabinet is an ideal storage location. Also, don’t put it near items that you consume, such as food and medication. You don’t want to accidentally ingest boric acid. People are known to die or experience complications because of such things.

You can try boric acid for termites

Boric acid can kill termites. It attacks the digestive system, nervous system, and exoskeleton of termites. However, for the boric acid to work, the termites have to ingest the pesticide. This can be difficult to pull off because termites hide deep within their colonies. You will have to think of a way to get the boric acid to them. Usually, you can do this by pouring a boric acid solution into the colony. But it’s possible that you won’t reach some of the termites because of how deep their colonies are.

Sure, you can try using boric acid for your termite problem. But termites are such complicated pests that you are better off hiring pest control professionals. Their methods, such as termite fumigation, are much more invasive and effective in killing termites. Boric acid may be useful as a complementary pesticide, not as a main pesticide that you expect to completely eliminate termite infestations.

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