Sweet Sugary Boric Acid Ant Bait

7 reviews, 4.7 star(s). 100% would make again

Ready in 5 minutes

Do not eat! Many types of home-invading ants will gather this sugary syrup and feed it to their nestmates and queen, killing their colony within 10 days.


1 cup Water
2 cup Sugar
boric acid powder; available from the hardware store

Original recipe makes 100



Boric acid is much safer than most pesticides, and nearly as safe as table salt, but the MSDS recommends "minimize exposure", so keep it away from food preparation surfaces and implements.

Special equipment:

A 1-pint or bigger jar with a tight-fitting lid.

A stirrer you never want to use in the kitchen again

A one-tablespoon measure for measuring poison.

Small (2-inch or so) pieces of cardboard or plastic.

In an outdoor work area, measure the boric acid powder into the jar. Label the jar.

In the kitchen, make a simple syrup: Mix 1 cup water with 2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves completely and you have a thick syrup.

Carry the saucepan out to your work area. Pour it into the jar and stir until the boric acid is thouroughly mixed with the syrup.

Prepare several small "bait trays" by cutting up cardboard, cutting the rims off plastic yogurt cups, etc. You may want to write "ant bait" on them with an permanent marker.

Use the stirrer to put several drops on each of the bait trays and put them where the ants are. Keep them off food preparation surfaces and be careful not to put them where children and pets can get to them.

If the ants keep coming back for more than 10 days, stir in more boric acid and try again.

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High-protein Peanut Butter Boric Acid Ant Bait

I recommend following it with this recipe

"If they don't take the bait, try a high-protein ant bait instead." — ReneeM ReneeM

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Since the solution is saturated, it tends to crystallize if not used in a week or two, so I've developed a scaled-down version: 1/4 teaspoon boric acid powder, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons hot distilled or reverse-osmosis filtered water. I heat the water in an oven-proof 1-cup measuring cup in the microwave oven, then add the sugar and boric acid powder, stirring until they dissolve. I store the solution in a 2-oz. dropper bottle. Bait dishes are easily made from the concave bottoms of aluminum soft drink or beer cans, readily available even if you don't drink the stuff. Place a vitamin bottle cap, about 1/2 inch high, on your counter top or cutting board, rest a paring knife blade on it, then rotate the can against the knife point to scribe a uniform mark all the way around it. Use sturdy scissors to cut the can bottom off at the scribed mark and remove the metal burrs by rubbing the cut edge on some smooth concrete, a piece of sandpaper or an emery board. Make as many dishes as you need. I get faster results by laying out two or three dishes side by side so more ants can get to the bait simultaneously: More dishes means more "beachfront" for them to drink for a given volume of liquid bait. One dish will wipe out a nest of Argentine ants in about four days, and multiple dishes will do the job in 2-3 days. I check dishes a couple of times a day and refill them from the dropper bottle. If one dish gets particularly sticky and filled with drowned ants, I can rinse it in hot tap water and get it back in service within a minute. Due to their ubiquitous nature, those tiny Argentine ants are nearly impossible to wipe out, and I typically suffer invasions in my bathrooms and the kitchen several times during the hot, dry summer months when they come indoors looking for water. Therefore, I always keep the ingredients and paraphernalia handy and whip up a batch in a couple of minutes when needed. One batch of solution is usually more than sufficient to handle each invasion.
SouthBayMan 6y ago

This was the best thing I have ever tried. Once the ants were gone I did not see them again for almost a year. Really works!!!!
avann628 6y ago

Also, most studies I've read say that a 1% w/v solution borate bait is best for most ants. Higher percentages of borate may cause the pest to "mark" your bait as a danger. The most common sugar solution I've seen is 25% w/v, with 42% being most favored by ants. To obtain the 42% ratio, with an effective lacing of 1% w/v borate (I'll use Timbor in my recipe), follow this recipe. 800 grams (3 1/2 c) of water 342 grams (1 3/4 c) of sugar 11 grams (2 tablespoons) of Timbor Mix them together until the sugar dissolves, There is no need to heat. Sugar will go into solution at room temp at this concentration. You can get small quantities of Timbor online. I have a 1.5 pound bag. I use a fair amount of this stuff keeping my KMantpro bait stations full year around. I'm developing a proprietary formula that will include other attractants. When I've finalized my recipe, I'll sell the recipe online for cheap. It's amazing what these companies are charging for their bait products. $63/gallon + shipping. For sugar water and a little boron!?!? Thanks for your recipe.
coppcar 6y ago

I would not be too concerned with mixing this product with utensils or using your kitchen counter. Borates are quite harmless to humans. According to the Timbor MSDS, adults can accidentally consume a teaspoon of the stuff without worries. http://www.bpbcorp.com/boratesht.html
coppcar 6y ago

[I made edits to this recipe.]
ReneeM 7y ago

[I made edits to this recipe.]
ReneeM 8y ago

ReneeM 8y ago

I'm trying to imagine what sort of "recipe photo" I can do for this. Dead Ants ?? I'll give this a try around the house.
promfh 8y ago

[I posted this recipe.]
ReneeM 8y ago

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