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Eliminating Fire Ants With Boric Acid

April 26, 2016 - Ants

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Fire ants can be incredibly tenacious pests if they detect food or water inside your home. Ant populations can be massive, and can consist of many millions of individuals. Likewise, their tiny size means that they can enter through even the smallest cracks and crevices of your home’s foundation.

When faced with an infestation of ants, some homeowners might desire to take care of the problem on their own; if that’s the case, it’s important to know the difference between commercially available insecticides, as well as how they can impact both humans and pets that may come into contact with these toxins.

Boric acid is one popular choice for homeowners wanting to eliminate pests from their own homes, as it’s considered safe enough to use in kitchens. This particular chemical compound was initially registered as an insecticide during the mid-twentieth century for use against cockroaches, termites, fire ants, and a variety of other pests.

When ants consume boric acid, the delicate chemical balance in their stomachs is disrupted, and their metabolism is likewise affected. Although boric acid compounds are commercially available by the average consumer and have proven to be reasonably effective against fire ants, it’s a risky proposition for homeowners to attempt to make their own mixture.

The concentration of the boric acid to be used is very important. If it’s too weak, the bait will fail to kill the ants; if it’s too strong, the acid will kill the ants before they can share the food with the queen and other workers at the hive. Likewise, an over-concentration of boric acid will simply cause the ants to ignore the bait, as they’ll detect something unsafe to consume.

It’s also important to note that, while boric acid is safe for use in kitchens in small, diluted quantities, it should be handled with extreme care around children and pets. Mixing containers and plastics should be washed and sanitized accordingly.

One of the main drawbacks of using boric acid as a pesticide is that it usually takes around two or three months to notice significant results. In order to achieve ideal results, the bait should be changed every two to four weeks. The trade-off, of course, is its convenience, ease of use, and its ability to be used in a home environment with less risk. A word of warning for those homeowners trying to deal with soil-infesting ants: boric acid baits should not be applied directly to the soil that’s currently yielding plant life, because heavy doses of boric acid will sterilize the soil, rendering it barren.

It’s a tricky business all around, trying to deal with ants. While boric acid baits are sometimes a viable option when dealing with small-scale infestations, your author recommends contacting your local pest control expert in order to determine what kind of pesticide is right for your specific infestation.

If ants have made unsightly appearances around your home or business, call Cantu Pest & Termite and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.