Plenty of insecticides claim to kill termites quickly and efficiently, but what if you don’t want to use harsh toxic chemicals around your home?
Borax – or sodium borate – is an environmentally friendly alternative that also happens to be the main ingredient of many of the best termite poisons.
Borax is one of the most popular and efficient termite poisons out there. To use Borax as a termiticide, you can inject it directly into colonies or spray it onto wood surfaces around your home.
How to Use Borax to Kill Termites
Borax is a naturally occurring salt made from sodium, oxygen, and boron. It’s primarily sold as a powder and is commonly used as a cleaner or laundry booster.
Borax is one of the safest and most environmentally-friendly insecticide options.
Exposing termites to borax causes their digestive organs to malfunction, eventually resulting in death.
Termites ingest the borax in one of two ways: they either consume wood containing the poison or get poison on their bodies and eat it while grooming themselves.
Because of this, when using borax for termites, you won’t be able to use a poisoned piece of bait the way you can with cockroaches or ants.
To control termites with borax, you can apply a borax solution to the wood surfaces around your home.
Borate solutions are not only a great way to protect and preserve the wood structures in your home, but they also deter or kill termites when they eat that wood.
Spray or foam solutions can be applied anytime, from construction to maintenance. You can alternatively spray a diluted borate solution on surfaces during an infestation to get similar results.
Just note that applying a solution to existing wood furniture and other structures may not allow the solution to seep deeply or evenly into the wood, leaving parts vulnerable to termites.
The other way to kill termites with borax is to inject a solution into their colony.
Ideally, you’ll want a professional to use a liquid solution rather than powdered borax. The powder is much more difficult to use, as it’s harder to spread throughout the nooks and crannies of a termite nest.
Using a professional is important because they will use the proper ratio of borax in their solution.
If the borax concentration is too high, the termites will simply vacate the nest and rebuild somewhere else. If it’s too weak, it won’t kill them.
A 1% concentration tends to be around the right strength for killing termites.
Things to Keep in Mind
Killing termites with borax solutions is effective, but it is not fast.
It can take 10 to 20 days before you see any results from borax treatments, even when applied directly to a colony.
You also have to wait for the termite to ingest the poison and for it to spread through a colony.
Both of these take time.
You’ll also need to apply borax multiple times to find success, especially if you use it for preventative maintenance. Moreover, the solutions may not seep into the wood enough to stay for long periods.
Wood that is too dry won’t allow the solutions to seep into it effectively, making it a less effective treatment.
A lot of rain or extremely wet wood will also limit the amount of borax that gets absorbed or may wash it away quickly.
Poisoning termites with borax is a slow-acting control method, best used in combination with other methods.
Other Treatment Methods
Since borax treatment is best used with other termite control methods, it’s worth describing what those methods should be.
Liquid treatments can also be placed in the soil around your home to form a barrier to termites.
These liquid treatments are some of the most popular and well-known forms of termite control, and many of them use a borate solution (along with other chemicals).
A liquid treatment can last anywhere from five to ten years in the ground, but this can vary greatly depending on rainfall, yard work, or even the proficiency of your technician.
Any termite that comes into contact with the barrier will die, but any gaps will allow termites to reach your home.
External liquid treatment should be used in addition to borax injections or treatments inside your home.
Bait stations are also slow-acting but can be incredibly effective ways to kill termites.
They can use borax or other poisons, which are brought back to the nest by the termites. It’s a very good way to infect the entire colony and works both indoors and outside.
To quickly eliminate an infestation, you’ll usually want to use a harsher chemical treatment.
Some can kill termites instantly, while others are more slow-acting to allow time to spread through colonies.
You should also be working to eliminate as many places for termites to hide as you can. Remove their food sources like stacks of paper, cardboard, or firewood piles.
Any repairs you make should be done with pressure-treated timber.
Termites won’t eat pressure-treated wood, making it an ideal material for termite repairs or for use when framing a new building.
How Long Do Borax Treatments Last
Liquid treatments in the ground can last anywhere from five to ten years, though they may last for a shorter time if they get washed away.
Spraying borax solutions can have a much shorter lifespan.
If it cannot seep deep into the wood, the treatment stays on the surface for a few days. If it can seep into the wood, the borate salts will remain there indefinitely.
Treatments directly to a termite nest last as long as the nest does, though liquid treatments will do a much better job getting deep into the nest.
How to Apply a Borax Solution to Wood
Applying a borax solution to wood is usually as simple as spraying the surfaces of the wood and ensuring it has time to seep in.
For any wood you can pick up, spray each side individually. For pieces too large or nailed into place, you want to spray them as best you can.
A simple borax and water solution is the best way to do this at home on your own.
One teaspoon (1 tsp) of borax for every 8 ounces of hot water should give you the right concentration for killing termites.
Not only will borax kill termites, but it is the main ingredient in many of the best termite treatments.
Borax is safer than harsh chemical pesticides and is environmentally friendly, only killing off the insects that ingest it.
You should always use multiple treatment methods to eliminate termites, combining them with borax treatments to their nest and the wood surfaces of your home.
Borax treatments work slowly, so if you need more immediate results, it’s best to call a professional.