When ants show up in your house, the first thing you're likely to do is squish them. While that will kill the ants you see, it won't help much with the ant infestation itself. Using borax as a pesticide mixed with a sweet, alluring snack, you'll kill the ants in the colony and get rid of your problem for good.
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that is often used to boost the effectiveness of laundry detergent, but it also can be used to kill ants. A white powder that looks similar to powdered sugar or flour, you can usually find boxes of borax in your supermarket or discount store's laundry aisle.
How It Works
Borax is poisonous to ants and other insects. It is a slow-working poison that, when ingested, kills the ant by impairing its digestive system. To attract ants to the borax bait, you will need to mix it with something sweet, such as jelly or jam. When the ants find the bait, they will alert other ants in the colony to collect it and bring it back for the others to eat. The ants in the colony eat the bait and will begin to die off within a day or two. Over several days, you will notice a decrease in the amount of ants in your home, and eventually you won't notice them at all as the borax will have killed off the whole colony. Many formulations of borax-jelly ant killer exist, but Texas A&M; University recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of borax with 1 cup of mint-apple jelly. Other types of sugar-containing jelly will also work effectively to lure the ants, but the amount of borax should be limited so that the ants still find the jelly alluring and will eat it. If you add too much borax, it may no longer be appetizing to the ants and won't work.
Mix the jelly and borax together, pour small amounts of it inside pop or milk lids, or other small open containers, and place them in the areas where you see a lot of ants. Put the containers in an area where ants can easily access them but where they will be undisturbed by people or pets. You may notice an increase in ant traffic for a few days, but resist the urge to squish the ants. As the ants begin to discover your bait, they will send more ants to carry the goods back to the colony. If you kill those ants, less bait will be carried back to the colony and you may not kill off all of the ants. Replace the borax baits as necessary until you haven't seen any ants for several days.
For exceptionally large ant infestations, you may need to call a professional exterminator. If after several weeks you haven't noticed a decrease in ant activity, you should call an exterminator to get rid of the ants and prevent damage to your home.