How to Get Rid of Ants with Three Ingredients - The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management

How to Get Rid of Ants with Three Ingredients

With summer in full swing the ants are definitely having their way around the house. If you have some of those bugs that you can’t get rid of, here is my trick to get rid of ants using only three ingredients. 

Do you need to get rid of ants in your home. This simple solution is only 3 ingredients and will rid your house of ants.

When ants show up in your home, often your first reaction may be to grab the phone and call the exterminator.  (Or, perhaps that is your second reaction, as your first reaction may be to want to squish them all.)  Before calling the exterminator to get rid of ants in your home, save yourself money and chemicals by trying a simple, three ingredient solution that will get rid of ants in your home.

After adding a screened-in porch, we started getting ants in our home from time to time.  We tried ant solutions that we could buy at the store, as well as numerous exterminator visits (spending almost $300 one winter because of multiple visits).  This three ingredient solution was the cheapest method, using only items that I happened to have at home.

Borax ant killer, how to get rid of ants using only 3 ingredients

Supplies needed to get rid of ants

Ant Killer Instructions

1. Mix the Borax and sugar together until well combined.

2. Add the mixture to your warm water and mix constantly until the powder has been completely dissolved.

Borax ant killer, how to kid rid of ants using only three ingredients

3. Seal the mixture in a jar or container for future use, and use only what you need in the next steps (and save the rest).  It is important that you clearly label the jar, as it will just look like water.  Do not leave this where children can get to it.  (Because this is such an easy and inexpensive solution to make, however, I only kept what I made until after the ants had been gone for a week or more.)

4. Fill some jar lids, milk caps, or other shallow containers with cotton balls or a wad of paper towel.

5. Add the sugar-Borax solution to the prepared lids making sure to soak the cotton balls (or paper towel).

6. Wait.  It may take the ants a while to find the solution.  But, once they do, let them feast (and take the solution back to their home).  At our house, to speed up the finding process, I placed a couple of the soaked cotton balls directly on the ledge in my kitchen where most of the ants were.

Before calling the exterminator, save yourself money and avoid chemicals with this simple, three ingredient solution that will get rid of ants in your home.

Be prepared – more ants will probably show up once they find the solution.  However, within a day, you’ll probably see much fewer ants.  Over the course of just a few days, all of the ants should likely be gone.  Because we had watched the ants quite a bit, we noticed where they were coming from and made sure to use a sealant to seal the area to stop them from coming back in the future.

What other solutions have you taken to solve an ant problem in your home?

You could also try this method for how to get rid of black ants.


And, be sure to check out all of our Home Management Cleaning & Maintenance Tips!

More posts from Angie

photo credit

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. This is what we use all the time. Works like a charm! 🙂

    • I’m told by the experts at the county extension agent’s office that borax & sugar only work for ants who like sugar. For those ants that like fats, I guess you can try mixing the borax with an oil. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has tried that.

      • Margaret says:

        Borox with peanut butter works great for the ones seeking oil

        • do you put borax directly in peanut butter or do you have to desolve the borax? in water first?

          • boric acid can be mixed with sugar water or honey for ants and bugs who eat sweets. boric acid may be added to peanut butter I mix it with a spoon or fork, for bugs that are attracted to fats and proteins. i have made several different bug traps using card board match box style traps and plastic boxes like a juice box to trap ants and roaches. I have lived in Asia, Australia and central/south America all have bugs the size of small dogs.. most are “after me lucky charms” good luck..
            and you do not have to stick to anyone’s DIY “bug sauce” I have used honey, jam, sugar, fig, get creative bugs eat scraps off the floor don’t drive to the store to out smart them use an apple core I haven’t tried but I will now that I typed it.

      • Yes, mix borax with peanut butter, works like a charm

      • Joanne, I heard adding peanut butter may work for the ants that are not attracted to sugary stuff.

      • one drop of Fipronil mixed thoroughly with 1/4 cup beef mince meat.

      • Keith Wolfe says:

        I use a coke bottle, mix the sugar/ boxax/ water in bottle, drill hole in bottom of plastic bottle, them mix bacon grease/ butter, and boxax in the cap. this trap gets the ants into the bottle with the sugar eating ones loving it and the grease fat eaters come to the melted mixture that flow to the bottom of laying flat bottle.
        I put in enough that it does not dry up in a week. It does not get washed away by rain as I put hole on the angled side of the bottom of bottle. The smell draws them in less than 24 hours.

      • you can use peanut butter for ants that are more interested in protein then sugar.

  2. Cinnamon does not kill ants but it will prevent them from coming in and will make them go away. Ants don’t like cinnamon.

    • This is so true! We get small ants in my library office. I put a perimeter in doorways and around the edges of my desk. They will not cross. Reminds MIT the weather is getting warm and rainy…time to take the cinnamon to achool

      • hi my name is karin we have tiny black ants everywhere we put orange rind down but it is not helpping any suggestion what is the reciep because i am so sick of waking up to ants

        i also have a dog that well eat and lick everything so we can not put posion down cause of the dog!!!!!!!

        hope you can help

  3. When I lived in Japan we did this with the sugar & borax– but dry along the back of counters & on widow sills. Worked like a charm

  4. I wonder if this would work on roaches. With the rainy weather we’ve been having a problem. I’ll try it and let you know.

    • Was told by a little old man in a 100 year old hardware store to pour a line of borax across all doorways and then sweep up (don’t vacuum) and it leaves a residue which they walk across and it kills them, too. Who knew?

    • They have plug inns for. Roaches that puts out a sound that they will not come around.
      Lowes or Walmart

  5. Does this work for roaches too???

    • Yes, yes! Roaches, palmetto bugs, whatever they are that we have in our military housing…will this kill them too? It’s awful to get up in the middle of the night to take a potty break and have these nasty creatures scuttle across the floor under your feet! Some of them are a long as my thumb! Eeek!

    • I’m so sorry – I don’t have experience with roaches. (Well, that’s not true. We lived for four days in a rental house that ended up being invested with roaches. Blech!)

      However, I just Googled it, and I saw several people suggesting the sugar-borax mix for roaches. I guess it’s worth a try. Good luck!

  6. Barbara says:

    Any ideas on getting rid of the fleas that are so prevalent here in Fl?

    • Borax! we rented a house a while back that had them bad.. sprinkle borax everywhere and let it sit (can’t remember how long.. just Google natural ways to get rid of fleas) then vacuum you will have to do it a few times.. good luck!

    • For fleas, we put out a few low lying pans (like pie pans) filled with water with a little bit of dish soap in the water. Soap in the water is essential! Above each pan, set a lamp beside it. At night, the fleas will jump towards the light and land in the soap-water. They can’t jump back out and are suffocated. Do this for a couple of nights and you’ll be rid of them in no time.

      • Kelly Evans says:

        I bought cheap peel & press tiles. I cut them up, peel off the back and place it sticky side up on the floors. Once they jump on, they can’t get off!

    • For fleas, I suggest Diotamacious Earth. There are 2 kinds, so be sure you buy FOOD GRADE. The other can hurt you and your pets. The food grade is made from the shells of sea creatures, that are ground to a fine powder. You can sprininkle it all over your yard, and it will kill the fleas, by drying them out. You can also mix this with wet food for your pet. Dogs or cats. If a flea bites, it gets the Diotamacious Earth, along with blood. Of course, you still have to do your Frontline plus, or Advantix. But this helps, too. It can be bought at any store that sells animal supplies, like for farm animals. Not sure if pet stores are selling it, but it’s probably cheaper at the farm type stores. We bought a 50 pound bag for 26 dollars and tax. Reapply to your yard after it rains. Google to find dosing amounts for your particular pet, by weight.

      • Ms. Eve says:

        diatomacious earth does not work at all…. either one of them. we heard great things but tried it over and over again and it never worked. finally I put an inch of it in a jar with some fleas I picked off the cats. those fleas lived 3 days in nothing but diotamacious earth….. don’t waste your time or money.

    • Troobeesez says:

      You can put diatomaceous earth (gardening kind, not pool filter kind) on your pet and kill them and the eggs at THE SOURCE! It slices the insects’ shell/body and they die from dehydration, they say. “They” also say it will not harm pets if they groom themselves. I would suggest not using it around their eyes though. Or bum.

      I love the idea of just sprinkling the Borax around, but would hesitate to use it in pet bedding or where children play, because ingesting Borax by kids/pets can’t be good for them. Just because it is “natural” does NOT mean it’s non-toxic, right?

      • Ehlane Yerex says:

        Hi! The nice thing about this borax solution is it only kills the ant colony that has found a way to “bug” you. Every ant in that one colony can follow one scent trail into your house. They take the borax and sugar home and feed it to their friends & relatives in the colony. That kills the whole colony in a few days. You are effectively killing thousands of ants with just a couple of teaspoons of borax solution. Then you stop getting ants getting into your house, since ants from other colonies cannot follow the scent trail in.

        Diatomaceous earth will kill any insect crawling through it. A line of it around an area is great until the while you are waiting for the whole ant colony to be killed off with the borax solution. (which takes a few days). Diatomaceous earth is the shells left from ancient microscopic shellfish. It clogs the breathing holes in insects’ exoskeletons and insects cannot build up an immunity to it. If they crawl through it they will die.

        Pyrethrum powder is dried powder from a special daisy and has a kick like a mule for insects.

        Both are usually available at the better gardening stores.

        I mixed the two powders,worked them into couches, carpets and sprinkled it against walls, baseboards, etc LIBERALLY. Then I let it sit for a day. Then I vacuumed it all up. Did that once a year, and used the borax solution, and never had another insect problem

        • Ehlane Yerex says:

          The sugar/borax solution can be used soaked in cotton balls and put into a jar with holes in the lid with a nail. Place it anywhere on any ant’s scent trail. Any ant can take it back to the colony. This “food source” will be communicated only to that specific colony. Pretty soon you’ll see a little crowd of ants drinking it up. They will take it back to the colony, and only the colony that has found its way into your house will die.

    • Works great sprinkle on carpet broom it in let set 20min and vac . No sugar . just the borax

    • a little late to the party but we had fleas in the house we moved into. Was told to sprinkle borax into the carpet and use a beater bar (not the vacuum) or do it the hard way with a broom. that works it down into the carpet and the vibrations cause the fleas to begin feasting. Vacuumed a few days later. Haven’t had a flea in 20 years since.

  7. Wow! Wish I had known about this last year. We endured months of ant “killing” only to have them return with a vengeance. It was terrible and I hope to never go through it again.

  8. diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle it on the ant hills if you can find them and wherever they will cross its path. It is ground up fossilized sea creatures, so totally safe for little people (just don’t breath in the dust). For bugs of all sorts, it cuts them up in ways they can not recover from, or become resistant too.

    We had major ant problems in our back yard, and then our house last year and this worked like a charm. $10 for a 5 or 10 lb bag at our local hardware store. The bag will last a decade

  9. I have always used Ant Block from lowes and it works for a good 8 weeks. I have used it for years and it always work. I will try this though.

  10. I hate killing animals, including bugs, without reason (I do eat meat). Plus, ants are a very important part of the ecosystem. If they aren’t harming anyone, you could try my method. We had ants coming in our kitchen through our windowsill (it was an old apartment). We put a small plate of honey right by where they were coming in, and they ate the honey and immediately left. It was a win win. The ants got to eat, and they stayed out of the rest of our house 🙂

    • riiiight.. feed the ants they will go away? lol.

    • For real Whitney…?????…..That is the most ridiculous comment I have ever heard.!!!! You don’t kill animals, or bugs..”But”…you eat meat..??? Guess what honey, somebody is killing these animals you eat, and probably in ways that would make you cringe!!! You for real want us to believe that you left honey on the window and the ants just ate and left..???(LOL)…..Like it was some kind of a peace offering you left for them, right…???? And then you want us to believe that they never returned, never thought “Hey, I know where there is free honey”…but you can only eat 1 time and can never return!!! So it is written, and so shall it be…!!! Wow, some people really scare me with their comments, and actually seem to believe themselves..???…SO SAD…!!!!

      • Troobeesez says:

        To be fair, she did say she “hates” killing animals, even bugs without good reason, not that she *didn’t* kill them. For the record, I “eat meat” too, but I also have a conscience and while I will kill ants, hoping the entire colony will go AWAY, I do so with a tinge of guilt. I teach my kids compassion by showing them how easy it is to re-locate a house spider to the garden, that spiders have a Job to do (killing the dam FLIES!!!), and that nature should remain in balance if the World is meant to survive.

        As for the honey, though, the real reason her ants did not return is because the rest of the colony were advised, “Don’t bother climbing six stories to Whitney’s apartment! All she has is HONEY!!!”. LOL, like when you were a kid on Halloween, and the word eventually got around to “not bother” knocking on Mr Jones’ door, he’s giving out APPLES!! In reality, Mr Jones doesnt like kids, and that was His trick for keeping them away on Halloween!

      • Good lord…. take it down a notch dude…

    • Earleen says:

      Only problem with that is, the Honey can invite other creatures to feast, when it is outside.

  11. JOYCE BURGOS says:


    • Ehlane Yerex says:

      Hi! The nice thing about this borax solution is it only kills the ant colony that has found a way to “bug” you. Every ant in that one colony can follow one scent trail into your house. They take the borax and sugar home and feed it to their friends & relatives in the colony. That kills the whole colony in a few days. You are effectively killing thousands of ants with just a couple of teaspoons of borax solution. Then you stop getting ants getting into your house, since ants from other colonies cannot follow the scent trail in.

      Diatomaceous earth will kill any insect crawling through it. A line of it around an area is great until the while you are waiting for the whole ant colony to be killed off with the borax solution. (which takes a few days). Diatomaceous earth is the shells left from ancient microscopic shellfish. It clogs the breathing holes in insects’ exoskeletons and insects cannot build up an immunity to it. If they crawl through it they will die.

      Pyrethrum powder is dried powder from a special daisy and has a kick like a mule for insects.

      Both are usually available at the better gardening stores.

      I mixed the two powders,worked them into couches, carpets and sprinkled it against walls, baseboards, etc LIBERALLY. Then I let it sit for a day. Then I vacuumed it all up. Did that once a year, and used the borax solution, and never had another insect problem

    • did the borax and sugar work for your ant problems?

  12. I always love solutions that don’t require me to go spend more money! I just set this out and look forward to watching it get rid of these annoying ants!

  13. Bernie Henrich says:

    I suggest Corn Meal. Ants love it so put it out doors. It’s harmless to people and pets. It’s death to ants because they… ummm… have no way to expell the gas like people and animals. Replace if it rains.
    It’s cheep, non toxic, and it definitely works! I also use it on those huge ant hills that show up in the lawn or garden. Today you see them, tomorrow you won’t.

  14. I have to admit I was skeptical but did not want to use chemicals since we are trying to be chemical free here (and honestly the ant traps we tried last year did not work at all). It worked perfectly! At first we got more ants and now it has been a week since I have seen any ants! I am so happy to have found such a simple solution. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Which solution worked for you, Lisa? Thank you

      • I used a equal mixture of dry sugar and Borax yesterday at the place where the ants were entering. This morning only a few were there eating the mixture, and this afternoon none are there. I am very hopeful! However, in the future I plan to try the cinnamon since it repels, but does not kill them.

    • okwhatever says:

      You, and everything you see, touch, smell, or eat is made of nothing but chemicals. Just saying. “Synthetic free” or “store-bought pesticide free” maybe but “chemical free” just doesn’t make sense.

      • Troobeesez says:

        Uh, Ahem–she did say “trying to be chemical free”… It’s a Process.

        Start by not drinking diet sodas (literally 100% CHEMICALS!!!!). Drink “real” Coke, and just drink less of it; make it a treat, not a staple. Use real butter. Again, margarine=100% chemicals. READ THE LABEL!! Look up some homemade household cleaners (on Pinterest there’s a million of em) rather than petroleum based supermarket cleaning products. Elbow grease is free, non-chemical, and the more you use, the larger your supply of it. (!)

        In today’s world, it would be almost impossible to be completely chemical free (unless you join the Shakers/Quakers, etc), but improvements can be made one-by-one. It is an ongoing process that I think most anyone can try. Isn’t that why most of us are checking out this natural recipe on Happy Housewife?

        • Chemicalful says:

          You missed the point. Everything is made of chemicals. Being “chemical-free” is literally impossible. Being “chemical-free” is a “process” that nobody can try. That’s why the person stated being synthetic-free or not using store-bought pesticides.

          For your examples, butter, “real” Coke, or if you lay off the pop and just drink water, it’s all 100% chemicals. The only thing you mentioned that may actually be chemical-free is elbow grease, as long as your are thinking of it conceptually and not considering the different body tissues involved.

        • Hahahahaha. Wow! You must be the kind of person that goes for the gluten-free “diet”!

      • You are believing the chemical companies line. : )

  15. Trying this out! We didn’t need to deal with ants until we moved to our house. It doesn’t seem that they are interested in the cotton balls or the water bottle caps filled with the yummy solution… I’ll keep it out there and see if they take to it. Praying this works. I’ll try the corn meal next… Thank you!!

  16. Tried this yesterday – lots of ants were attracted to it – day 2 I have only seen 1 ant and that one has been eating all day – keep thinking he is dead but see him move every so often – other than that one ant, they seem gone – THAT WAS EASY!!!

  17. jackie says:

    we used this last year. Although, we placed the solution outside so that we didn’t have more ants come in. We placed it around the outside of the house. Also instead of using cotton balls and jar lids, I would place it in leaves that looked like it could hold some product. This way animals and children didn’t come up to the areat and wonder what it was. By placing it on leaves though i would go out every other day to replenish their food supply ;D

  18. Hi Angie and the rest of the folks.

    Does this work for carpenter ants? Would the sugar/borax solution or the cornmeal work on them? I assume you use cotton balls so they remain moist and the ants suck the liquid out of them or do they bring the cottonballs back to their nests? Thank you so much. I have seen my first carpenter ants of the season. Yuck!

    • did u find something to work on carpenter ants? they r invading my yard!

    • They are also very attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Aphids and scales feed on trees, shrubs, and other plants. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats and pet food, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood.

  19. Patrick says:

    I live in the country. I had black garden ants coming in and out of my house siding on to my deck. I sprayed and poisoned with only temporary results. Last Saturday morning, before heading out to play golf, I laid the borax/sugar solution. When I returned I couldn’t believe how many ants were feasting on the cotton balls and draging bits back to their colony. I have not seen one ant since…Thanks SO Much!


  20. Hi Angie,

    Used your borax ant recipe, saw you homeschool and thought I’d share my movement program for young children. You can download it FREE at

    Thanks, Mike

  21. Sabrina says:

    I tried the solution with cotton balls/lids and not 1 ant came to it and I put it in 3 different spots in my apartment. I still see a few here and a few there. Do you think just putting the dry sugar and borax mix together would work better? I can’t handle the ants any more!

    • You could try it dry, but I found that didn’t seem to work as well for us. What I did was move cotton balls with the mixture to the spots that the ants were at (like right in the way of their paths) when I noticed they were initially avoiding it. That did the trick.

    • This is 2 mf year …… Hello there back this year same spot… My landscaper said same thing since I mentioned boarx , put around oak trees permiter( boarax, OIL,water then spray under windiwSILLS I will try this! I’ve read all about ants wow they all have different jobs, workers guard ones, even if their hurt then come to their aid … Unreal but that is what he said to do let ya all know! Oh n clean gutters too!

  22. This worked great. I used a wide, fairly flat lid with a few bits of folded up paper towel. I put it right in their path and they went to town!
    I did that at about 6 pm last night, and this morning they were gone!
    Thanks for posting this!

  23. Could someone please tell me where to buy Borax? I have never seen it in a grocery store. Would I go to a hardware store? Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it for the ant problem in my kitchen.

    • It can usually be found with laundry detergent at grocery stores or places like Walmart. If you can’t find it in stores, you can order it from Amazon.

    • walmart phamacy – i ad to order -they said they were out because of ant .season
      $4.00 for 12 oz. Boric Acid PowderbyHumco.. Call other pharms to see.

  24. Picked some Borax at Walmart. My store had it with the bleach and laundry cleaning booster stuff.

  25. I use a similar recipe, except I also add syrup. A little extra treat for the ants before they die! Also, I make little homemade ant traps with this stuff inside. It works awesome! I place the traps outside around the perimeter of my house. Kill the little buggers before they have a chance to come inside.

  26. Ants like a sugar diet as well as a protein diet so if they don’t eat the sugar/Borax than mix Borax with peanut butter, I use both at the same time and some ate the sugar others went for the peanut butter. Did this last night so not sure of results yet.

  27. Make sure you don’t use Boraxo … that is a product that adds soap flakes to Borax. Will not work to attract/kill ants.

  28. Does it matter if whether you use powdered sugar or regular sugar?

  29. Been trying to get rid of ants for 30 yrs .this will bring an alot of ants at first but then all of a sudden they are all gone .I keep a butter lid w cotton balls on it ,in a back corner of my counter top.I replenish the balls when they dry up.I noticed after a month or so the use to come back.but not if u keep this method.

  30. Billy Guess says:

    I’ve had some success with borax this year. We had a bad infestation in our kitchen. My own mix included:

    1 spoonful of sugar
    1 spoonful of borax
    1/2/ spoonful of honey
    5-10 ML of water

    I stirred the mix and poured it into five or six plastic water bottlecaps and left them both inside where the ants were climbing on counters and outside near where they were coming in. In one day, there was a 99% reduction in the ants. They were completely gone for about 2 weeks, but we just had a few pop up again over the weekend.

    I’m now reapplying this to our returning ants to see if I can wipe out the colony this time. Been using more caps outside to get at their source. Replacing the mix daily seems to help since it hardens quickly.

    Had a bit more luck with my neighbor’s house. They had an infestation in a crawlspace under the stove. Using the same mixture and method, the entire colony was wiped out in about three days.

    Overall, I have to praise the borax!

    • Thank you for this, I had a problem with big black ants, and apparently this ratio worked to get rid of them.
      As somebody who has saved dozens of cute tiny ants from drowning whenever I washed the dishes, you can imagine how heart-broken I was when I had to make the decision to poison a colony.
      It was very sad for me, but those black ants are not like the regular ones, they attack, en masse, they spread in a semi-circle if they felt threatened, sending hundreds within seconds. I couldn’t even turn the washing machine on because they would get out and start invading whatever was near: trash can, plants, even the kitchen, and the dinning table.
      If I stepped on one, a dozen would appear in a snap.

      My formula was:
      1 tablespoon of sugar
      ¾ tablespoon of borax
      ½ a tablespoon of corn syrup
      About 2 spoonfuls of water

      The first time, either there were too many or it didn’t work because they ate the mix for 2 days with no visible losses. Then there was a storm and they withdrew.
      Two days later I left a new batch which they ate for a couple of hours, and then disappeared forever.
      I also tried using baking soda, but it may have been too strong because they didn’t touch it.

      Perhaps I’ll add a bit of the borax mix in a week, just in case, but if I don’t see thousands coming out of the drain again, I might just let them be.
      Oh, and interestingly enough, once the black ones were gone, the tiny little ones returned and reclaimed the kitchen 🙂

      Thanks to everybody who gave information on this method.

  31. michael norris says:

    ooh ooh wonder if it gets rid of camel crickets too? ugh. those things are ugly!

  32. John Lescovich says:

    I had a bad ant infestation last year and was very successful in eliminating all ant after 3 days . I used one ounce ,or 2-3 tablespoons of pancake syrup w/ one tablespoon borax . mix well until dissolved and add a few drops warm water if too thick .I then placed a small portion in the bottom of cheap cupcake papers and place around exterior of home every 10 to 15 feet apart with a small stone in it so the wind doesn`t blow them away . NO MORE ANTS . Process can be repeated if it rains . You can even give them a treat and spread a little on pancakes for them . Cheers .

  33. This really does work. Amazing use powder sugar I’ve heard it’s a little finer to the mix instead of regular sugar. Awesome stuff.

  34. Francine says:

    Thank you so much! I have been dealing with ants for years & could never figure out where they came from. It was disgusting while they were crawling all over my counter but less than 24 hours later & THEY’RE GONE!

  35. Quick question-I put out the Borax solution and the first day was awful-tons of ants but on Day 2, I may have seen 10! WIN! But I left the cotton balls out and on Day 3, there were TONS of ants again. Today is Day 4 and they are all gone-again. Should I take up the cotton balls? I thought they would go back and kill their friends, not bring them back for more!

    • You probably had multiple nests scrounging at your house. Leave them out until you are ant free for a week.

  36. Just wanted to pop in and say thanx! I was not having any luck with dry borax and powdered sugar but when I added a bit of water it was like opening night at the opera! We live in the country on about 6 acres of land so we will always have little critters but I would rather have them outside 😉

    If only this would work on stink bugs *sigh*

  37. I live in Southern California and we have Argentine ants. Unlike most other ants, hey don’t compete with other colonies so they are actually a “super colony” that extends 560 miles up the coast of California. So it’s every species for themselves… The borax and sugar water solution works great. It is the same active ingredient that Terro uses in their liquid ant bats. Theirs is much thicker — I wonder if they use corn syrup instead of sugar? But both work fine and, as insecticides go, is relatively non-toxic (or at least no more toxic than powered laundry soap or dishwasher soap). I used both the home brew mix and Terro traps. Home brew when I don’t mind having the bait out and Terro traps when I want the bait enclosed and not easily touched. I’ve actually used spent terro traps (washed them out with the garden hose) and refilled them with the homebrew solution. I’ve also use diatomaceous earth not as an ant killer but as a barrier to help keep the ants going to the bait and not wander off elsewhere in the house. I use an old plastic cup to pour out a small ridge around the bait leaving the entry hole (ususally in the wall) open. I also put some diatomaceous earth on my finger and run dust up the baseboard to discourage them from climbing. As long as you don’t close off the hole or interrupt the ant line then it work pretty good to “herd” the ants to the bait. Wow — I’ve turned into an ant wrangler. 😉 If you do use diatomaceous earth, remember that once it gets wet or moist, it stops working.

  38. I’ve been using Amdro for many years with great success. Any time I see ants in the house I will put down a few granules of Amdro, and they are all gone within a day. It’s cheap, non-toxic to pets and people and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. A few crystals around an anthill will take care of that problem too. It doesn’t take much, so a big bottle of it lasted me 5 years or so.

  39. Tootie Welker says:

    For borax to completely dissolve the water needs to reach 140-150 degrees-about 5 min in a small microwave

  40. windrose says:

    To attract both sweet and oil ants at the same time, mix the borax with pancake syrup.

  41. I live in the UK but get bothered by the small black ants each year. Our house is built on very sandy soil so is a haven for them. I will try your tips. Ant traps which I buy are useless. The pest control man only puts very toxic powder all around the house. That might be toxic for my dog. What I really wanted to say was that reading all this ant advice and also the other nasty bug stories, has put me off living in the US!! My son lives in Chicago, but I’ve never seen ants when staying there.

  42. Well Im living on Panay, in Iloilo Philippines. There are very small black and red ants here. By the millions. Conventional sprays, chalk lines, and other bright ideas, work for a day or two at best. Stink the place up, and leave a toxic residue. A watse of cash.
    For sugar eating ants you can mix baking soda…not baking powder baking soda, and sugar, with water . That makes the ants explode. But they take it to the nest , and kills the queens.
    You want to kill the nests!!!!

    Boric acid powder or borax and sugar and water work well to kill the nest just like baking soda. Borax eats the stomach lining.
    NEVER mix borax and baking soda. They react together, and weaken each other.
    Baking soda is not toxic …… has no effect on pets or children. Both are very cheap.
    Borax is in almost every ant killer. This will kill roaches too. Both.

    For protien /oil loving ants, use peanut butter instead of sugar. Use much less borax than sugar, or they will not touch the mixture. For baking soda, 50/50 is great. They cant tell the difference between the sugar particles and the sugar, when mixed in water. They have no dislike to the baking soda, untill its in the stomach. They cannot fart. It blows their stomachs out. The carbon dioxide gas……mixed with stomach acid.

    Once you put it out, they will come by the thousands for a couple days. Keep feeding them!!!! Sooner or later they will begin to stop coming based on how many are around.
    Once the queens are gone, YOU will know!!! They will stop coming…..
    Next time around it will be fast and easy to get them gone. But with a huge infestation, it takes about 2-3 lbs of sugar mix……average house size…..surounded with sand…and more ant hills than you can count, or even find.
    What makes this method great is the colony killing bennefit!!! Its a huge money saver!!!

    Earl Wienke

  43. A little note to add, to my first post.
    Put the mixtures outside your home not inside. Why attract them inside? Arent there enough inside allready?
    Place it on window ledges, all around cement cracks, near doorways, along the fence line.
    Where ever you see them coming in, place it there OUTSIDE!!
    I learned the hard way, drawing thousands inside in thick ranks…..he he he.

  44. How much boric acid pancake syrup an cornmeal to kill cockroaches

  45. I live in southern California where we have lots of little black sugar loving ants and lots of other bug pests. I live in a condo which makes the problems even worse. What I’ve read and used that kills all kinds of ants, fleas and other nasty bugs is 20 Mule Team Borax. I buy 20 Mule Team Borax at Walmart in the laundry department. I put it in an old used plastic spice or salt shaker and lightly shake it all over my carpets and my floors. I leave it for a few days and then vacuum it up.
    CAUTION…Don’t do this if you have pets unless you keep them in 1 tiny area or children who play on the floor or you go barefoot!
    If the problem is not gone, I do it again. I do this every 3 months. I also sprinkle it around the premier of my condo. I do this every every time it rains or every 3 months.
    For sugar loving ants, I mix a bit of any kind of syrup (1 or 2 table spoons is plenty) or sugar water with the Borax (1 tablespoon is enough) and then I take everything out of my bathroom medicine cabinet and pour some of the mixture on the shelves and some in little plastic bottle caps and close the cabinet door so it’s dark in there and turn off the bathroom lights. When check a few hrs later, even in the day time, the ants are all over the mixture and within a day most of the ants are gone and I’m pretty sure they have taken the borax back to the nests in the walls and killed the ants. BTW I just just sprinkled borax in the kitchen and sprayed with Alcohol, but all the ants did was move to the bathroom, so now I think (hope) I’ve killed the nests…..anyway…so far, no more ants in the kitchen and way fewer than yesterday in the medicine cabinet. So from all my reading here and on other sites, I’m sure I’m making great progress.

  46. MaryAnne says:

    I am having a tiny black ants problem now, the guy came into my apartment yesterday to spray some bait stuff around the base boards and told me not to kill them if I see them. Well I have a 9 month old granddaughter that likes to crawl on the floor, & if she sees them she likes to play with them. Which I take her away from them right away. Now that this bait stuff is around the base boards i see more of them and I hate not being able to kill them

  47. Borax to kill ants is amazing. Wow!

  48. Why didn’t u say borax is safe for pets. My dachshund got into a borax and sugar trap she was fine not deadly for pets or Hum’s but to ants it deadly like dope medley.

  49. Twinkie says:

    This worked like magic! My husband told me to stop obsessing over them bc a few were inside the house near our sliding door, he says it happens every year in the summer(this is our first yr in the house).I went outside and I can see lines and lines of ants.i refuse to accept this. Off to google I went n found this fab website.thank you so much! I put soaked cotton balls out in the evening and they immediately took to it. I went to bed,went to work got home at noon to check and they r gone!

  50. Thank you so much for sharing this. My porches were plagued by ants that bite and I was allergic to them. Within 10 minutes of placing the cotton balls & solution there was a steady stream of ants from 3 different nests, none of which had formed a hill, so I never would have known where the nests were. Within 45 minutes there were no signs of life and I did not see another ant until about 6 months later!! When the ants reappeared I did the same treatment again. These were different ants because they did not bite so I wasn’t sure if it would work again but once again, the ants were gone in under an hour. I love tricks that actually work.

  51. you can buy borax in walmart its called 20 mule team for about 4 dollars theres tons of things you can use it for

  52. Kerwin Maude says:

    Neither an entomologist or bug hobbyist I want to share an idea that works for weeks to temporarily eradicate these pesky scavenger pests. Use 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup icing sugar and mix well. Do not put this mixture on grass but sprinkle around your house perimeter or inside your home where ants are seen amassing like in your kitchen pantry but tell your kids about it so they are safe, and if youngsters are around put it in a childproof container with a few holes so the ants will still smell it and be drawn to their death. Ants are one of earth’s most resilient creatures, and soon you’ll see them disappear as they’ll be attracted to the icing sugar to take morsels to their hidden nest to set off a chain reaction time bomb for their buddies. The borax is the secret killer, and soon you will see no signs of them for 3-5 weeks, but re-apply later to keep them out as new antlings will emerge from their eggs.
    Remember, if you sprinkle it along garden paths or flower beds rain will wash it away or lawn watering so reapply accordingly but if you have no rain for 2-3 days, that should be enough time for ants to take it down to their nests. I even sprinkle ant hills in my neighborhood and they get whacked n no time often in less than 24 hours. This idea is far better and a cheaper than harmful chemical costly sprays that are dangerous to pets, children, water sources, shrubbery and our global environment. Bug extreminators are not cheap either so try this out before making that call. Good luck and enjoy the summer.

  53. Kelly Evans says:

    To kill fleas, I buy cheap peel & stick tile. Break it into 3 or 4 pieces. After peeling, place on the floor sticky side up. Once they jump on, they can’t get off! Replace when the stickiness is gone.

  54. I sprinkled straight up borax around the perimeter of my house will I need to to replenish that after the rain

  55. Will ants be on the cotton ball or around it?

  56. I have an ant problem above and beyond a little problem. Inspecting around my home, I found over a half dozen ant trails on the foundation or deck support legs all trying to make it into the house..

    They trail out into the grass and I loose them and can’t find the actual nest / mound. So I have tried several different recipes; Borax & powdered sugar, (dry and sprinkle around and / or mixed with water). Both seem to work equally as well. Baking Soda & powdered sugar, (the same mixtures). Still with the same results. Even tried both mixed with corn syrup instead of using powdered sugar, again about the same results.

    I did, however find that the paste mixture seems to stay around a little longer, so it may be more effective.

    I have since ran out of corn syrup and powdered sugar and have no reason to repurchase except for this purpose. So I noticed that my can recycle can had ants on any soda cans, (yes I drink sodas), but assume any sweet juice or liquid will work.

    I now place about a half teaspoon of either Borax or Baking soda in an empty can and toss it into my recycle can, easy peasy. Plus if needed, I do the same and place the soda can where I see a new ant trail outside. Easy to find and dispose of later.

    If you are worried about your little ones finding a soda can and trying to drink it, just use Baking Soda. But I would be more concerned about a parent allowing their child to crawl around the house where ants are.

  57. Chelsey H. says:

    I bought borax ant and rock killer stuff instead of the borax in your amazon link….it got rid of the ants but as soon as I threw away the cotton balls it’s like they were everywhere again. Is it because I used the kind of borax I bought????

    • Chelsey H. I think what you got is fine. These little buggers are relentless. At least in my situation, I stop one ant trail/entry and soon after they find another. Besides spraying down the whole house and yard with poison, this safe way to get rid of them takes time and patience.

      Biggest problem being when you place out the bait, you attract them to that spot until they die off. Many people will be turned off by that, especially if it is in a kitchen. They soon learn that is not a good spot and move. Often just a couple feet away.

      I bought the Borax and the Baking Soda that both are good for laundry or other purposes just in case. They both have about the same effect. Within a day or two, the ants are gone from that area.

      Again, my situation only, I have two dogs; a 4 pound Chihuahua that only eats inside and a 80+ pound German Shepherd that eats outside. The ants love the dog food, and once I looked at the outside water bowl, looked like a dirty tub ring, but it was ants lined up all around the bowl drinking water.

      I only mention that because the food bowls are easy to take care of, but the water bowls must remain there. Ants need water too, so try to remove all water sources you can. Central HVAC systems have a dehumidifier that pumps water to the outside, look there and place some of your mixture.

      I know I am long winded, but I am trying to figure this out myself. If I post my findings, maybe others will post theirs. I must use safe remedies because no matter how hard I try to stop them, the birds seem to think my house is a good place to nest. Then the babies come back and do their nest. I lost that fight, so I cannot spray poison on bugs they might eat.

  58. Arodina says:

    I was having an ant invasion inside my house, I have tried many natural homemade ant killer but they are not effective. Then I have tried a toxic ant killer and my dog almost get poisoned with that toxic ant killer, so not using anymore!!

    Then I was looking for safe ant killer that are safe around kids and pets. Then I found some ant killer at which are safe around kids and pets and also very effective….after using those I have seen so much reduction of ants inside my house. and after 2 week they are completely gone.

  59. Simpler still. Squash a grape. Put it on the ant trail. sprinkle some borax on and around the squashed grape. Done.

  60. This looks interesting, a home made remedy for ants. I consult for a pest control and extermination company in the UK. My internship was couple of months ago thus most of the info is still fresh in my head. What I know about ants is that they shouldn’t be killed or fend off with a repellent type of solution. Ants are survivors and adapt quickly. When they detect something threatening the ant colony will split in to smaller ones. Further, they will start breeding even more, hence the deficit in numbers. These are some of the precautions ants take to ensure their queen has enough food and the colony has supplies. Meaning that you won’t know until they infest your residence. The best way to deal with ants is using bait. The mentioned solution does work since it both attracts the ants and its effect is delayed/prolonged. Meaning the ants will have time to infest newborns, the queen and the eggs.
    Good recipe!

    Timmy Griffin, Pest Control London

  61. This worked great & so much faster than store bought ant traps. Thank you!

  62. Arthur Conley says:

    Thank you for the much needed remedies. Keep your home clean. Take out the trash, do not let it stay in your home for pests to find and consume. Keep floors free of dirt and debris that pests can live and breed in. Put dirty laundry in containers, off of the floor. Keep windowsills and doorway entrances clean. Check for signs of cockroaches, ants and rat activity. Pest control services let you keep on top of the problem by providing preventative maintenance for a reasonable cost. They usually have a spring and fall control cycle where they come and spray the outside foundation to create a barrier against pests entering your home.

  63. Why…go through all that trouble to make poison where kids and animals or pets can be in danger. The best solution to getting rid of ants.
    Take unpopped corn kernels and put some in your coffee grinder. I used 1/8 cup and still have plenty left after 2 yrs. Grind the kernels fine… put a pinch in corners under Cabinets and especially where water sources are..
    I have only had to put theses pinches out twice.after 9 years of constant invasion even after extermination. They build a resistance to poison by the 3rd generation. Can’t build a resistance to a food they love and it kills the whole colony.

  64. Uh!! I’ve got ants, little tiny black ants. I made a batch of sweet, 3 hrs later – no ants eating it. Now I’ve had the PB out for 3 hrs and nothing! The ants in my pantry are walking right by it.
    Any suggestions?

  65. Hi all…
    I found the best solution is to put out an ant Smorgasbord – youkdon’t know if they want sugar, oil or protein – I find that if the nest is making winged ants or the queen is laying generally they will look for more protein. Other times of year they’re going more for sugar.

    So I put out 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixed with borax. 1 honey solution with borax, 1 icing sugar with baking soda, and one dry grated parmesan cheese with baking soda. They will always choose at least one, sometimes two. I put them on a plastic ruler in little heaps – the kind with bevelled edges, so they can get up and down – near the point of entry.

    Literal smorgasboard of death, poor little bµggers.
    But ants are always gone in a day or two.

  66. Thank you for your contribution to getting rid of ants from your home.

    I have tried the honey and borax with moderate success. The best solution is what I call the commando response. Simply kill or make the ants is their tracks. Leave these carcasses in the tracks as a deadly reminder to the rest that this is a dangerous place to come. Within hours they usually do not return.

  67. I’m intrigued by this, but what about safety to pets doing this, isn’t there a risk cat or dog would try to drink or eat if on the floor? I assume Borax is toxic, I do use it for laundry.

  68. This seems to work well for us!

  69. I don’t use borax to kill ants. Borax is toxic to the pets. I prefer to use only pet safe ant killers.

  70. Valerie says:

    This recipe is incredibly effective! I am so happy to be rid of sugar ants in my kitchen. Thank you!

  71. Brenda Nelson says:

    I’m looking for a no kill method that keeps them out of my house. They have the right to live and are an important part of the ecosystem. I’m trying Kato syrup spread on printer paper tonight. See if they get stuck on it. Then I can put them far from the house and allow the rain to release them.

  72. Had tried many other natural remedies -vinegars,messy cayenne pepper all over countertops, etc., etc.Nothing worked. I was about to go chemical when I tried the borax. No more ants. I used both the soaking method (on wads of napkins because I didn’t have cotton balls) and small globs of the mixture here and there. I leave a few of both in inconspicuous spots for persevering. Thank you so much for the info.

  73. I made this mixture before and it worked well but when I used the left over solution a few weeks later, the ants were not interested. I mixed the solution well but they ignored it. I thought the leftover liquid was supposed to still be effective but it didn’t work again for me.

  74. Ron Richards says:

    We’d only been in our new home a few weeks. We noticed little ants in our sink. Couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. Read about the borax. We made the mix, soaked cotton balls and placed them around and in the sink. Within a few minutes ants came out of a seam on the side of the counter. I moved all the cotton balls over to the opening. Those little guys came pouring out. My wife and I sat in total amazement as the counter was loaded with them. We fought the urge to stop them and just let them come and go. It lasted all day. By the next morning there were no more. We cleaned the counters and waited till the end of the day. When it was still clear, I caulked the seam and so far it’s all good.

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