My Experience Using Boric Acid For Termites – Tested By A Pest Control Technician

Termites are some of the most feared pests for homeowners because of the potential damage they can cause to your home. With over 20 years of pest control experience, I spent most of my career identifying and treating termite infestations. Traditional professional termite treatments can be relatively expensive, but they are effective. That being said, I know a lot of homeowners aren’t able to afford a professional treatment, so I decided to test out using boric acid for termites and see how effective it is!

Key Takeaways on Boric Acid for Termites

  • Boric acid, derived from boron, is an effective pest control agent with low toxicity to humans and pets, and can be used against termites by disrupting their digestive process, but it can be difficult to apply.
  • Direct application of boric acid or its use in bait stations can be effective against termites, particularly dry wood termites, but with varying results on subterranean species and limited effect in inaccessible areas.
  • While boric acid is valuable for termite control, significant infestations may require professional pest control services, and safety precautions must be observed to prevent human and pet toxicity. Because the majority of termites in a colony are either underground or hidden, it can be difficult to kill the entire colony with boric acid.

Understanding Boric Acid

boric acid and termites

Boric acid, a compound derived from boron, is a marvel of nature with an array of uses. In its pure form, it presents itself as colorless crystals or a white powder, such as borax powder, with no distinctive odor. The compound is derived from boron, an element found in the environment in soil, water, and plants.

Commonly known for its role in eliminating household pests, boric acid also has antiseptic and antifungal applications. It’s an active ingredient in many commercial products, from laundry boosters to eye washes. But it’s the compound’s effectiveness against termites that makes it a valuable tool for homeowners.

Composition and Properties

The chemical formula of boric acid, H3BO3, represents its composition including boron, oxygen, and hydrogen. It’s classified as a weak acid and is water-soluble, which means it can be easily mixed with water for various applications.

This compound harms insects by acting as a stomach toxin, disrupting their digestive system and leading to their death. Despite its lethal effect on pests, boric acid has low toxicity to humans and pets due to its relatively milder impact on their physiological systems.

Common Uses

The versatility of boric acid, with its wide range of uses, makes it a valuable addition to any household. For instance, it’s effective in eliminating insects, spiders, and mites. Furthermore, it can combat algae, molds, fungi, and even weeds.

Besides its role in pest control, boric acid is used to combat mold and fungus by creating a barrier on porous materials and modifying the pH levels to create an unfavorable environment for the growth of mold spores. Additionally, it’s utilized topically as an antiseptic for minor wounds like cuts and burns.

Boric Acid as a Termite Treatment

termite treatment

Boric acid emerges as a potential treatment in the battle against termites. Its mechanism of action disrupts termites’ ability to extract nutrients from their food, leading to their death. Boric acid can be applied to exposed wood surfaces or used in conjunction with cellulose-based bait stations for effective termite control.

The biggest issue I found with boric acid is that it doesn’t offer immediate results, and you really have to make it into a bait treatment so that the termites bring it back to the rest of the colony.

Application Methods

Various methods exist for applying boric acid in termite treatment. For indoor use, a solution can be prepared by mixing one teaspoon of boric acid with one cup of warm water in a clean spray bottle. This solution can then be applied to exposed, untreated wood surfaces using a paintbrush or by spraying boric acid directly onto the surface. This will kill the termites that physically walk through this treated area, but it won’t kill the rest of the colony!

The most effective method is using boric acid bait stations. These devices lure termites to the bait, which contains boric acid. As termites consume the bait, they ingest the boric acid, causing disruption to their digestive systems and ultimately leading to their demise.

Effectiveness Against Different Termite Species

Boric acid has proven effective against various species of termites. It’s particularly effective in combating dry wood termites by disrupting their digestive process upon contact with treated wood or dust.

However, its effectiveness can vary with subterranean termites. While boric acid can eliminate these termites when they come into contact with it or ingest it while grooming, it’s less effective due to the termites’ tendency to reside in soil and construct mud tubes, making them less susceptible to the treatment.

Limitations and Precautions

Despite its potency in termite control, boric acid comes with its share of limitations and risks. The compound’s effectiveness may be constrained when addressing significant termite infestations, necessitating frequent maintenance and application, particularly in outdoor settings where it is more susceptible to environmental factors.

Observing safety precautions is paramount when using boric acid. Adherence to specified quantities, use of protective gear such as gloves and eye protection, and avoidance of direct skin contact with the pure substance are some of the safety measures that should be taken.

Safety Concerns

Even though boric acid has low toxicity to humans and pets, careful handling is still required. Ingestion of boric acid can lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and prolonged exposure can lead to chronic poisoning.

Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution when using boric acid, and to wear appropriate protective gear such as masks and goggles. This is especially important when working around others, children, and pets to avoid accidental ingestion or inhalation.

When to Call a Professional

Despite the value of boric acid in termite control, situations may arise warranting professional intervention. Indicators of advanced termite infestations that necessitate professional assistance include buckling or blisters in wood flooring, hollowed or damaged wood, and the presence of termite swarmers.

When dealing with complex infestations or when boric acid treatment proves to be insufficient, it’s important to seek the help of a professional pest control company. These professionals employ a comprehensive approach tailored to the specific requirements of your home, providing services including:

  • Quarterly pest control
  • Thorough interior and exterior inspection
  • Continuous exterior treatments
  • Termite plans

Final Thoughts On Boric Acid For Termites

In conclusion, boric acid, with its unique properties, can serve as a potential treatment in the fight against termites. However, like any other method, it has its limitations and requires careful handling. Recognizing the signs of a termite infestation and taking prompt action is crucial. In cases of severe infestations, professional help will probably be necessary. While boric acid is a powerful tool, it’s also important to explore other termite control methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take borax to kill termites?

Borax can take 10-21 days to show significant results in killing termites, but it requires regular repeat applications for preventative and control measures.

What is the best chemical to kill termites?

The best chemical to kill termites is fipronil, which is the active ingredient in many liquid termiticides and can kill termites on contact if used in high enough concentrations.

Is boric acid poisonous to termites?

Yes, boric acid is poisonous to termites as it disrupts their digestive system and eventually kills them. Pest control professionals often use boric acid to target termite colonies.

How does boric acid kill termites?

Boric acid kills termites by disrupting their ability to extract nutrients from their food, ultimately causing their demise. This method is effective in killing termites.