Boric Acid. More specifically boric acid in powder form.
Living in the top end (Darwin) of Australia, I’ve always been told that ants and geckos are just a way of life. No problems I thought, I can live with that.
In fact I love geckos, I am always amazed at their ability to stick to any surface, and I find them rather cute. Ants, never desirable, but even down south in Melbourne our home kitchen always had a problem with ants so I learnt to live with it. Cockroaches… well that’s where I draw the line. They are simply ugly to look at and if you ever kill one, they sure smell. Unfortunately for the ones that reside in my home there is not one ounce of pity for them, neither from me nor my partner… I’m sure you can understand. This post is essentially for all those cockroach haters.
About 4 months ago I experienced a spike in ant numbers that coincided with a spike in cockroach sightings, it got so bad at one stage that even our bedrooms had them. I put it down to our bin, the lid doesn’t quite close properly and because we cook a fair bit at home, inevitably there are more enticing crumbs lying around. The cockroaches came in all different sizes, some no bigger than a fly and some as big as a small house mouse.
My first plan of attack included the following –
- Getting a bin that had a close fitting lid;
- Cleaning kitchen surfaces more often and never leaving unwashed dished or food lying around too long
- Mortein Bug Spray
…my first plan of attack made not one bit of difference. This got me thinking if there were other alternative ways in getting rid of this problem.
I confided in Dr Google as you do, and lo and behold I found a number of remedies, one which included the use of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which I describe as death by a thousand cuts. It’s not chemical but mechanical. This alternative sounded like it had legs as it was also backed up by other sources that I trusted, the only problem was finding the stuff and it wasn’t cheap. The other negative of DE is that it loses its effect once wet.
Another remedy I found of interest was the use of boric acid. In particular boric acid powder, this point is important because if you get the granular version it’s not as effective and Borax is not the same as boric acid. It works as a desiccant drying the ant or cockroach from the inside out when ingested. I did some further reading and realized that boric acid has a number of multiple uses, many in fact, including termite treatment for timber. When I realized how relatively cheap it was I was sold. There are essentially 2 ways you can use it, as a solution or as a dry powder. If used as a solution you will need to add bait, generally sugar. If used dry you just dust the powder where you think the ants or roach will pass by. When it walks over the powder they inevitable pick it up and because ants and cockroaches groom they will ingest it. I tried it both ways and I find using it dry the most effective and convenient. It does take a little while for it to show results, especially if you have a large colony, but usually about a week will do. I bought my boric acid on ebay for about $5 for 50 grams and that’s plenty and will last a long time. You can also buy a special duster on ebay for ease of application, but I just flick the powder with my finger. In the 4 months since I first tried it, I have only had to apply it again once and that was recently. This works and I’d recommend it over all other methods. It’s effectiveness, cheap cost, and durability makes this a worthy frugalmanhack.
For more info and to buy Boric Acid check out this site – http://www.boricacid.net.au/