ants borax recipe

How to Use Borax to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden

Killing Ants with Borax and Sugar

Borax is a powder that is traditionally used as a laundry additive and in soap-making. It’s also a top-notch ant killer. In fact, Borax is one of the most effective methods of organic ant control. No matter the type of ant, Borax will kill them.

As a bonus, Borax is relatively safe for humans and pets as long as it’s not eaten.

When using Borax for pest control, it’s important to know that ants won’t eat it plain. Borax is basically soap — it’s bitter and unappealing. To get the ants to take the bait you have to mix it in something sweet, like sugar.

You can make ant Borax bait as a paste or as a liquid. Which method you choose depends on where you want to put your ant Borax trap.

How to Make Ant Borax Bait (Paste)

  • Mix equal parts borax and sugar
  • Add water a little bit at a time until you make a sticky paste

Dab some of the paste near the entrance of the anthill. If you can find the anthill, then put the paste next to the ant trail. The ants will then pick up little paste balls and bring it back to the colony for the queen to eat. Once the queen is dead, the other ants will die too.

How to Make an Ant Borax Trap (Liquid)


Making an ant borax trap is a great solution if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain. As a Florida gardener, I’m not able to rely on borax paste during the wet parts of the year because the paste dissolves in rain.

  • Fill a 20-ounce plastic bottle a quarter of the way full of water
  • Add equal parts borax and sugar
  • Shake the bottle to mix the solution
  • Tip the bottle on its side and carefully cut a medium-sized hole at the top
  • Place the bottle hole side up in your garden bed or container

The ants will crawl inside the bottle and drown in the borax sugar solution.

Other Organic Ant Control Methods

kill ants borax and sugar
Photo Credit: Emily Neef

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Ants

Diatomaceous earth is an inexpensive, non-toxic way to kill ants and other hard-bodied pests like fleas, ticks, cockroaches, and bed bugs. It’s safe for both humans and pets.

Also known as silicon dioxide, diatomaceous earth is made of fossilized algae and diatoms that have been crushed into a fine powder. On a microscopic level, diatomaceous earth is very sharp. To us, it feels like ordinary powder and is totally fine to handle.

Dust a liberal amount of diatomaceous earth around the anthill. When the ants walk over the diatomaceous earth, it will poke holes into their exoskeleton which will cause them to dry out and die.

How to Flood Out Ants

One way to get rid of garden ants is by flooding. This method isn’t a good option for a raised garden bed or an in-ground garden bed that’s currently in use. But, if you have a spot in your garden that’s cleared out and also home to an ant colony, you can take a hose and flood the area.

Flooding will cause the anthill to collapse and will drown the ants. Then, you can level your soil and plant a new crop.

Using Cinnamon to Kill Ants

Cinnamon is said to kill ants in two different ways: by masking their pheromone trail and by suffocating them.

You can soak a cotton ball with cinnamon essential oil and put it on the trail near the anthill. In theory, the smell will confuse and repel the ants.

You can also dump a whole bunch of cinnamon onto the hill to suffocate the ants. Don’t be stingy – you might have to use the entire bottle for it to work.

Cinnamon is most effective when dealing with a smaller ant issue rather than a huge infestation. Some people say that cinnamon doesn’t work at all, and others claim that using cinnamon made things worse when used around fire ants. You may need to experiment with cinnamon to see if it works for you.

Starting an Ant War

Some people say if you get two different anthills to fight with each other, both will leave your garden bed or yard once the war is over. An ant war can be a fun project for your kids to learn more about ants and their colonies.

For more information, take a look at my article How to Control Ants in the Garden with Ant War.


First photo credit: Chandan Kumar

Disclaimer: At no extra cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

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