You can kill off ant infestations with borax and sugar.

Borax & Icing Sugar as an Ant Killer

by Lee Tea

Having ants in your garden can be frustrating. Sometimes, it seems no matter what you do, the ants keep coming back. Spending lots of money on pesticides and ant bait traps may seem inevitable, but it doesn't have to be. You can get rid of ants with borax and icing sugar.


Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that when consumed by ants, impairs their digestive systems and eventually kills them. You will usually find borax in boxes in the laundry aisle at the supermarket. It is a white powder that looks like flour or powdered sugar. While borax is less toxic than other insecticides, it is still important to keep it away from children and pets, as it could potentially make them sick if they eat it.

Icing Sugar

To get the ants eat the borax, you need to mix it with a food the ants like. The tiny black ants you find in your garden are usually attracted to sugary substances, so using icing sugar, or powdered sugar, is a good choice. Icing sugar is a light, fluffy, white powder, so it mixes well with borax and makes a tasty looking and tasting treat the ants will want to eat.

Powdered Ant Killer

You can use a powdered ant bait to apply in your garden where you see a lot of ant activity. Mix 1 tablespoon of borax with 1 cup of icing sugar and stir well to evenly mix the borax throughout the sugar. The ants will be enticed by the sugar, and will also get the mixture stuck all over their bodies when they walk through it. When they groom themselves later, they'll eat the borax that is stuck to their bodies and it will kill them. The sugar mixture that they've brought back to the colony to share will be eaten by other ants, which will help to eliminate the remainder of the colony. If it rains, replace the mixture once the ground has dried.

Wait until you haven't seen any ant activity to wipe up any remaining powder mixture. Don't let children disturb or touch the borax. If you have smaller children or pets, take extra care to keep the borax mixture out of their reach and supervise them to make sure they don't touch it.

Store any extra borax powder in a sealed container or heavy duty zip-top bag. Label the bag to alert your family members and older children of the contents and that they are potentially poisonous. Store the container in an area not accessible to small children or pets.

Borax Syrup

Instead of a powder, you can dissolve the borax and icing sugar in warm water to create a syrup that ants will readily gobble up and take back to share with the rest of the ant colony, including the queen. Mix 2 tablespoons of borax with 2 cups of icing sugar or granulated sugar and then pour in 1 cup of warm water and stir well until the sugar and borax are completely dissolved. You can also use table sugar to make the syrup.

Pour the sweet syrup into a jar with a tight lid. Label the jar so those who read it understand it is ant killer and could potentially make them sick. Store the jar in a place where small children and pets do not have access to it.

Leave small amounts of the syrup where it cannot be disturbed but where you have seen ant activity. Try soaking a cotton ball in it and leaving it out on a paper plate or pouring a small amount into a soda bottle or milk jug lid. Replace the baits after it rains.

You may notice an increased number of ants for a day or two while the ants scope out the borax bait, collect it and take it back to the colony. As the ants in the colony eat the bait, they will begin to die, and you will see fewer ants. Leave the bait out for a week or so, or until it has been several days since you've seen ants in the garden.

About the Author

Leeann Teagno has been writing professionally since 2006. An English major, she continues to study information systems management at American Public University. Teagno is an organic gardener, cook and technology buff with past employment in mobile communications. She also volunteers at an animal shelter and operates a home bakery.

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