Poison Ants DIY

Ants are just nasty little buggers! I can’t stand having them in my house, they make my skin crawl. I can handle snakes and lizards  – they are kind of cool ( I had a pet chameleon when I was young). Spiders…just grab them in a paper towel and flush them down the toilet, no big deal. But ants, they drive me crazy! Seems like every couple of years they find their way into my house or garage. My usual routine was to grab the aerosol bottle of ant spray to get rid of them.  It took at least 2 sometimes 3 applications of the poison ant spray to keep them from coming back.

Poison Ants - I wish I had learned about this years ago! It's cheap, easy, fast and it WORKS!

This year they found their way in again, this time underneath my computer desk. As a blogger my computer desk and surrounding area are SACRED.  Talk about invading my personal and professional space! These guys were just begging for me to kill of them! I ran for the ant spray to stop them in their nasty little tracks……all I found was an empty can. I DID NOT have time for ants yesterday! I was knee deep trying to finish my posts for this week and stopping to run to the store was not an option. I sat at my desk with my feet up and searched Pinterest for a solution. Thank you, thank you to Patricia from My Patchwork Quilt for this pin! Patricia you are a ant killing lifesaver!

#Poison Ants - I wish I had learned about this years ago! It's cheap, easy, fast and it WORKS!

I love that this is so easy to make with common household ingredients and items. I mixed the warm water with the sugar and Borax until it dissolved. Next I soaked a cotton ball in the solution placed it in a lid to one of my old medicine bottles. I made sure the cotton ball was really soaked and filled the cap so a little would pour out to attract the little creepers. If you put out sweet poison they will come!

#Poison Ants - I wish I had learned about this years ago! It's cheap, easy, fast and it WORKS!

Waiting for these guys to crawl up into the medicine cap was taking too long. I decided to make it easier for them by placing the cotton ball directly on the floor. I was in such a hurry to see them eat the poison and head back to their colony to share with all their friends, that I didn’t think to grab some wax paper to put the cotton ball on.

#Poison Ants - I wish I had learned about this years ago! It's cheap, easy, fast and it WORKS!

I love the brave ant who crawled to the top of the cotton ball all by his lonesome! For awhile more ants kept coming out of the little spot in my baseboard to feast on the sweet poison.  Four hours later all the nasty little buggers were gone. I threw the cotton ball away in a zip loc bag. No need to attract them to the trash.  I had such a lovely grin on my face as I cleaned the sweet poison off the floor. There was no way I was going to let a bunch of ants slow down my day or get the better of me. Actually, I did slow down long enough to take pictures and write this post.

Just gotta say that…….

This Pin Rocks!


UPDATE: It is now Friday morning August 23rd and not an ant in site! There has been a big response to this post which has generated a lot of questions. Instead of answering each question in the comments I am listing them here for everyone’s benefit.

Did I use Borax or Boric acid? – My photo has a picture of a box of Borax but I listed boric acid in the recipe. I used Borax and have updated the recipe to 3 tbsp of Borax.
Is Borax and boric acid the same thing? – No. Borax is a combination of sodium, boron and oxygen and is mined from the soil. Boric acid is a crystalline material made from borax. While Borax and boric acid are not chemically identical, one can be substituted for the other to accomplish the same thing in regards to killing ants.
How does Borax kill ants? Borax works primarily as a stomach toxin on ants. The worker ants will carry the bait food, loaded with Borax, back to the nest. The the ants in the colony will ingest it and die.
Is Borax dangerous and or toxic to children and pets? Yes, you should keep both children and pets away from this bait solution, Borax and boric acid. Further information can be found on 20 Mule Team Material Safety Data Sheet

Poison Ants DIY
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of Borax
  • 3 cups warm water
  1. Mix sugar and Borax with water until it dissolves.
  2. Soak cotton ball with solution then place cotton ball on wax paper. Place the wax paper with the soaked cotton ball near ants.
  3. This makes a ton of ant poison, cut the recipe to ¼ and you will still have plenty!

Check out 10 more of our great cleaning tips and ideas! 

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Clean BBQ Grills - Guess what? You can clean your BBQ grills WITHOUT SCRUBBING! Follow the overnight cleaning method, the next morning hose off your BBQ grills and you are done! Now you are ready to paartaay! @Madefrompinterest.net

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  1. Heather Page says:

    You have used the words Borax and Boric Acid in this post. I know that they are not quite the same thing. Which one is it?

  2. Wow girl guess you got rid of Princess Atta and the entire ant colony huh? What I love about this method is that you don;t have that poison smell that spray poisons leave behind…I’m always afraid to use those around kids and pets! Thanks for sharing this great tip at the Fluster Buster Party! Can’t wait to see what you bring next week, Lizy Party co host

  3. I had some ants early in the summer, saw this idea on Pinterest, ran out and bought Borax, and when I got back…all the ants were gone! I never got a chance to try this out. So apparently, just having a sealed box of Borax in the house is enough to scare them away 😉 Good to know it works…and I’m ready if they come back!

    • If you have kids(or nieces/nephews) you can make slime with the borax.

      • Hey Bob,

        Hmmmm…. I’ve seen recipes for slime all over Pinterest. I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks for following us and commenting, we LOVE our readers comments, Tracy

    • Borax is great for laundry too-

      I always have borax in the house for it is one of the ingredients for my laundry detergent.

  4. Oh how I love this post. I especially like the little thought boxes in the pictures. I’ve done icing sugar and borax, but never mixed with warm water and cotton balls….thinking I might have to try that. The ants I tend to deal with are red and mostly stay around the vegetable garden, those little buggers will bit to protect “their” veggies. So I think I will be adding the warm water and cotton balls, 4 hours to death works great for me 😉

    Thanks for the post.

  5. I sit Borax or Boric acid? You named both.

  6. Just a little confused, your ingredients say Borax but your directions say boric acid??

  7. You are showing a box of Borax but in the instructions it says to use boric acid. There IS a difference. See here:

    Important to know because of children and pets!

    • Melanie,

      I used Borax not boric acid. Borax is also considered a toxic substance and should be kept away from children and pets. Thanks for commenting! Tracy – The Middle Sister

  8. How does it effect them though- the borax?

  9. Is this toxic to cats?

    • Yes it would be toxic to your cat. It would be best to keep your cat in another room or outside until the ants are gone and you can remove the Borax. Tracy – The Middle Sister

  10. I’m a little confused, in the instructions it says Boric acid. but in the ingredients it says Borax. Which did you use??

    • Donna,

      I used Borax not Boric acid, I’ve corrected the post to avoid further confusion. Thanks for commenting! Tracy – The Middle Sister

      • Jaimie Czeschin says:

        Boric Acid found in the pharmacy department also works. I have a recipe to kill ants that you mix mint jelly with Boric acid to make a paste. It is also an effective method. I would think the boric acid would work in this instance too.

        • Hey Jamie,

          I’ve never heard of purchasing Boric Acid from the pharmacy, nice to know of another resource. Thanks for sharing such a great tip, Tracy

  11. Put cotton ball in a small child proof pill bottle and drill a few small holes in it. and set on counter or Where you see the ants coming in. Just make sure the holes are big enough for the ants to get into it.

  12. Sue Watson says:

    I guess it would not be good around dogs either. My dog gets into everything.

  13. I don’t like any bugs. I haven’t really seen ants in the house in quite some time but that’s probably because we have a company come around to spray for them. Glad you got the upper hand on this one.

  14. This is a great idea. Will try outside as soon as it stops raining and the solution will remain undiluted. My ants find their way in by the kitchen sink backsplash no matter how sealed it is. I put a thin line of boric acid along the back of the backsplash with an old hair coloring bottle. Has stopped the invasion cold. This is NOT for households with kids or pets. I’d use the cotton ball idea, but they haven’t crossed the boric acid line, so I’ll get ’em at the source outside. I also put the boric acid in between the windows, that’s stopped the critters also. Thanks!

  15. wonder if this would work for earwigs to

    • I did some research and couldn’t fine any evidence that this and poison would work on earwigs. If you decide to give it a try we would love to hear how it turns out! Tracy – The Middle Sister

  16. You talk about treating ants inside the house, but what about ant mounds and trails outside? Can this mixture be put in a sprayer and used on mounds in the yard or would you suggest just dropping a cotton ball on top of mound?

    • Wands,

      I would drop the cotton ball on top of the mound. This strength of Borax can be harmful to plants. Let us know how it works! Tracy – The Middle Child

  17. Have you tried using this outdoors? I am interested in trying just need to figure out a way to keep it covered from the birds and other animals. I have a problem with those big red ants. OKAY. I just read your post on adding it to the top of the mound. I am going to try it. I will let you know how it works in a few days. =)

  18. I have used white vinegar and water, with luck, just spray around where they are at and they disappear and it doesn’t hurt your pets safe for kids also

    • Barbara,

      Thanks for the great tip on how to get rid of ants without using Borax! Have a great day, Tracy – The Middle Sister

    • Ants mark the trail for their buddies using formic acid (HCOOH). some species can actually spray it as a defense measure. The vinegar (.CH3COOH) is probably so close in composition that it confuses the ants and they get lost or otherwise just avoid the areas where they are blind.’- chemically speaking. I’ve used vinegar in the house and around the outside perimeter of the house as a general deterrent.

      I also use borax/sugar (sometimes a drop or 2 of honey) regularly.in a small bottle cap around the yard. Never thought about the cotton ball. Great idea. going to try it today.

      If anyone out there still smokes, I have had good success in controlling spiders by soaking butts in ethanol for a few days, filtering and then spraying areas popular with spiders using an old windex bottle. Seems to work for cockroaches as well. Probably a good idea not to smoke when you’re spraying though. Be careful not to spray anything that might get stained with tobacco juice.

    • I tried using the vinegar and water because I don’t have any borax and I use that for cleaning. It did kill the ones I have but more are coming in anyway. So that might work for short term.

      • Ali,

        I hope your vinegar and water will work for you long term! If not the ant poison works like charm. Thanks for following us, we love hearing from you! Tracy (the middle sister)

      • I use full strength vinegar in a spray bottle and it works very well.

        • Hi Christa,

          I’ve never heard of using vinegar before for killing ants. I always have some on hand so I’ll give it a try if any pesky ants show up again. Thanks for the great tip!

  19. Does this work for in side ants only or can it be used on them big ant piles out side?? Any one try to use this outside??

  20. Recently we moved into the home I have wanted for almost 20 years BUT IT HAD TERMITES! !! I was very nervous but we got the hose treated and continue to all year long. One day I noticed a large amount of ants on the exterior of the house near an area I knew termites had been. Worried I called our bug guy from Micks, (in St Louis Mo) our guy came out and looked and said that since the ants were only cleaning up the termite debris. He said termites and ants are enemy’s and that ants are scavengers. So why am I saying all this? It would seem to me that since the ants are coming from the wall you may have a bigger problem than you know and may need to call a professional. Ants can cause damage just like any other bug and your home is a huge investment that should not be ignored. Trust me I’m taking responsibility for the damage the previous owners chose to ignore. Thank you for your post I will be trying it if I have ants come in for the trash can or forgotten soda left in one of the kids rooms but please I beg you to get your home inspected before it’s too late and you have bad dammage. Respectfully Rachel from St Peters Mo.

    • Rachel,

      Thanks for your insights, I’ll look into having our home inspected. Although there is also a chance the ants were after the food my son dropped on the floor while he was eating at my desk! Thanks so much for following us and commenting. I appreciate your concern and advise. Tracy (the middle sister)

  21. amanda ellis-carroll says:

    I found this on another site a few years ago…. IT WORKS WONDERS! I have since then passed it on to many other people… everyone should try it, but KEEP IT AWAY FROM YOUR PETS PLEASE!!!- Amanda

  22. lonnie walton says:


    • Hey Lonnie!

      Add about 1/4 cup to each load of laundry, it works great! Check out this post: 30 Little Know Uses For Borax (http://goo.gl/ivH8q1), from One Good Thing by Jillee. Oh, and save a little of that Borax just in case any of those pesky ants come back! Have a great day, Tracy (the middle sister)

  23. Once you have them out of your house, a line of chalk around the windows and any cracks in the foundation will stop them from getting back in. Or coffee grounds (used, of course) will drive them away from the house and your plants will like the grounds too. Plant peonies away from the house to give them somewhere else to go, they love peonies.

    • Sibu,

      Thanks for letting me know about the chalk and coffee grinds, both are easy solutions for keeping the ants from returning. I just happen to love, love, love peonies, this is a win, win situation for ants and humans! Thank you for following us and leaving your comment. Have a great day – Tracy (the middle sister)

  24. Will this work for fire ants in the yard?

    • Hi Kay!

      It is harder to get rid of ants outside than inside. But yes, this should work with the fire ants in your yard, you may have to do it more than once. Best of luck, Tracy

  25. Julie Bowling says:

    This worked for me to get rid of big, black ants. I didn’t have cotton balls, so I soaked a paper towel. I’m glad I read this, though. I had been wondering about my cats. I locked them out of the room while I had it on the floor, but the idea on here of cutting holes in a medicine bottle so the ants could crawl in, but cats not being able to get it is great! Thank goodness we are all trying to use fewer chemicals!

    • Hey Julie!

      I’m so happy your big black ants are gone! Great to know that paper towels work just as well if you are in a pinch. Thanks for following us and leaving a comment, Tracy

    • Shelta Ivins says:


      Big black ants are probably Wood Ants and do a ton of damage to wood. You need to have your house inspected for Wood Ant damage. They are as bad as termites. They were already at a house we purchased and they killed the BIG oak trees in the yard.I never had them in our house, so the trees probably saved it. Anyway, a wind storm came through and the trees broke, one on top of our house. The trees were full of the damage these ants had caused. We had to take all the trees down. It was so heart wrenching to have to get rid of these giant shade beast. I am telling you this because if they are in your home, or outside, you have a big problem. Just thought I would tell you this so you can decided to have your foundation and trees checked out before it is too late. Wish the previous owners of our home had taken the initiative to stop the damage and I might still have a shady back yard!

      • Hi Shelta,

        Wow, I was not aware that black ants are actually wood ants that can cause so much damage. I’ll be sure to check into this! Thanks for the great information, Tracy

  26. Well, I hope this works, I have everything I need and am getting ready to try it. I just have one question. Is the poison storable? I think I’m going to make a lot more than I need, but can I store it or should I throw it out?

    • Alisha,

      I stored mine for a month just in case the ants came back. I ended up with some ants in the garage and it worked just as well after having been stored for a month. We would love to hear how it works for you! Good luck, Tracy

  27. I’m so glad I found this post. I have very sandy soil in my yard and every year, despite my efforts, there are ant colonies dotted all over the yard. I’m really looking forward to trying this out and have high hopes that it will work. Short of hiring a professional I’ve tried numerous store bought solutions that either weren’t very effective, were costly, or required time and effort to distribute properly. This seems so much faster, easier and cheaper! I’m really excited (isn’t that pathetic?) to try this and am hoping it will be a simpler solution that works.

    Thanks for the information!

    • Hi Sandra!

      NO, it is not pathetic to be excited and hopeful that this method will work for you! I was thrilled when it worked for me. Outside ants are a little harder to get rid of so don’t get discouraged if you have to try it a couple of times. Good luck and let us know how it works for you :) Thanks for your comment, they make our day! Tracy

  28. I share a room with my cat , food and all, and the ants found her food, coming in through the casing in the window. I sprinkled cinnamon on the sill. This stopped most of them…but every once in awhile a scout will make it through. So I have a spray bottle of Shaklee’s Basic H cleaning mixture…which strips the oils off their body and they drown. So all non-toxic and clean walls, lol

    • Hi Anne!

      Wow, a product that is non-toxic and helps with multitasking, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for letting me know! Tracy

  29. You could always take an empty disposable water bottle, remove the lid, push the cotton ball into the bottle, and place the open bottle wherever the ants can access it…. yet pets & children would be less likely to come into contact with the Borax. (Or alternately, place the Borax soaks cotton ball inside the empty water bottle, SuperGlue the lid onto it, & cut a small hole in the bottle to lessen the access to the Borax even further, yet still allow the ants an open invitation to your poisonous feast!)

  30. All you need is to soak ONE cotton ball…………………i.e. just a 1/2 TSP of sugar and 1/2 TSP of Borax and a few drops of water to moist in it………….no need for “buckets” of the mixture. Dry mix without water works as well. Just keep it even sugar/Borax and not too diluted. This recipe must have been “invented” by makers of Borax :)) If you don’t have Borax at home, use whole wheat flour or cream of wheat – no need for sugar. It works.

    • Hey Jay!

      Thanks for letting us know that we can make smaller amounts of this awesome ant poison! No more storing the extra poison in the fridge :) Have a great day! Tracy

  31. We use Borax and Sugar every spring around the outside of the house to kill the ants before they enter. Just mix a 5lb bag of sugar and a box of Borax into a pail and walk around your home sprinkling the mixture where the foundation starts. No more ants!!!! Just make sure you do it BEFORE it rains otherwise you will be doing it again. We usually do it in the spring and maybe once in the summer.

    • Hi Pat,

      I’ve had quite a few people ask if this ant poison will work outdoors. I will definitely be using your ant poison next year before it rains. Thanks for sharing such a great tip with us! Have a great weekend, Tracy

  32. I had to laugh at the “cut the recipe to 1/4″ comment! Are you trying to send all those folks with math anxiety into a fatal fraction frenzy? Look at the original recipe and then think thirds… am I right…or am I right!

  33. I was wondering if there is something other than borax I could use with this? I cant seem to find any around my area.


    • Hi Brenda!

      The following statement is included my post: Is Borax dangerous and or toxic to children and pets? Yes, you should keep both children and pets away from this bait solution. Further information can be found on 20 Mule Team Material Safety Data Sheet.

      You can never be too careful when using chemicals around children and pets. Thanks for following us, Tracy

  35. Sprinkling Borax along cracks, crevices, and in likely hiding places is a long-time-used, non-toxic way of getting rid of cockroaches & such as well. The boric acid in the Borax coats the insect’s outsides. They carry it away on their bodies because it sticks to them, and they spread it around their nests, and soon all the bugs die… from suffocation, not from poisoning.. An added bonus to using Borax instead of poisons: because it is NOT a poison, they do not (cannot) develop resistance like they can (and do) to poison. This method takes longer to work than poisoning. People with instant gratification issues might not like it as much. But it works, is not dangerous for pets, and it keeps on being effective from one generation of bugs to the next.

  36. This Borax treatment sounds great for inside. I’ve used corn meal (white or yellow) sprinkle on ant mound outside,
    1 Tbsp. will do the trick. It may take a week but they can’t digest it and take to the queen and the whole nest is
    wiped out. Super non- toxic. Learned this when feeding feral cats and didn’t want poison near their food. Not
    harmful to birds or other critters. Also Sweet & Low will poison them. Wonder what it does to us over the long

    • Hey Jojo,

      Great tip about the corn meal, we have two cats and each year I end up with ants around their food. Can’t wait to give this a try, thanks again, Tracy

  37. Hi
    I love your blog and read it every week. However l am really interested in getting rid of ants. I too cannot stand them and this year again they have found there way into my house. I am from the UK and so just wanted to know what the Borac would be for me in the UK as we dont have this. Many thanks and keep up the good work xxx

  38. Bev Wallace says:

    I’ve used the Borax,sugar and water before, with a lot of success. My way is putting said ingredients into sour cream or cream cheese containers with holes punched into the lids. This way, I don’t have to worry about my cat getting into them. Works great.

  39. If a dog or cat were to get a hold of this would it hurt them?

    • Hi Shelly,

      Yes, this could harm your cat or dog if they ingest it. I always lock my cats in the garage until all the ants are gone and them I am very careful about cleaning any residue left behind. Hope this helps, Tracy


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