Whether you search the internet or ask a friend, there are countless DIY tips and home remedies out there for pest control, including using boric acid and sugar to kill ants. But here's the thing: Most don't really work as long-term solutions … if they work at all.


When it comes to sugar and boric acid, ants may seem like they're going away once you've used the mixture for a while. However, they'll soon come back, which is why it's crucial to work with a pest control professional if you want the infestation taken care of once and for all.

Learn the principles of sugar and boric acid DIYs and why they don't really work.

Does Boric Acid And Sugar Kill Ants?

The short answer to this question is “yes." There's a little more to the process, though. In DIY ant baits that combine sugar and boric acid, the sugar attracts the ants to the boric acid. The ants must eat the boric acid because it is what actually kills the ants by damaging their nervous systems, digestive systems and exoskeletons. The principle behind this type of ant control method is that the ants are attracted to the sugar — a food source — so they carry the sugar and boric acid mixture back to their colonies.

The idea here is that the boric acid that ants ingest kills them, including the queen ant. As with any DIY, however, the use of boric acid and sugar has its problems, so it rarely, if ever, works as effectively as you might hope. It's important that the ants actually eat the boric acid and take it back with them to the nest.

Is Boric Acid and Sugar a Safe Way to Kill Ants?

If boric acid is not applied properly, it can be dangerous to humans. The symptoms of boric acid poisoning can vary, depending on whether the boric acid comes into contact with the skin, is swallowed or is inhaled. Additionally, children and infants may have more severe reactions to boric acid exposure than adults. Likewise, pets, especially smaller animals, could experience hazardous effects if they come into contact with your DIY boric acid and sugar ant baits.

Common Problems With Boric Acid And Sugar Ant Baits

Here are a few reasons boric acid and sugar baits don't always work:

Improper mixtures can cause poor results

If you add too much boric acid to your ant bait, then the ants may not eat the bait at all. Or, if they do, then the ants may die before they get a chance to carry the bait back to their colonies. On the other hand, too little boric acid in the mixture means the bait won't be effective enough to kill the ants.

It might not work on all species of ants

There are more than 12,000 different species of ants in the world, a few of which are known to commonly invade homes. That means the ants you have in your house might take longer to respond to the effects of boric acid and sugar mixtures. In some cases, depending on the type of ants in your home, they might not respond at all.

Ants are attracted to different things

It's true that some ants are attracted to sugary substances. However, not all species have a sweet tooth. In fact, ants have a very diverse diet. For example, carpenter ants are also attracted to meats and food with fats, and pavement ants will eat bread, cheese and more. And some ants are attracted to different kinds of food depending on the time of year, or time of day. Your house is filled with potential food sources for ants. Since there are so many food sources in your home for ants to choose from, there's no guarantee that the insects will be attracted to your boric acid and sugar baits.

What Should You Do If You Think You Have an Ant Problem?

If you suspect an ant infestation in your home, it's best to skip the DIYs and internet-sourced home remedies and call a professional pest control company, like Terminix®.

An expertly trained technician can evaluate the inside and outside of your home, identify the types of ants causing the problem and work with you to create the customized plan that best suits the needs of your family and home.

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