If you have pests around your home, it’s time to turn to science to eradicate them. Many pesticide products are designed to eliminate ticks, fleas, roaches, and other parasites from your home. But have you ever heard of people using boric acid to keep bugs away? Boric acid (BA) has been used in the US as a household pesticide since around 1948. Is it safe to sprinkle boric acid around your house? Is there a reason why no one does it anymore?

Is it Safe to Sprinkle Boric Acid Around the House?

Boric Acid – How It Works

After registration with the EPA in 1948, boric acid quickly gained a reputation as the go-to agent for removing bugs from around the home. Boric acid was initially classified as an insecticide for household pest control, including eliminating cockroaches, fleas, fire ants, termites, silverfish, and other nuisance pests and bugs.

BA is an effective pesticide to control bugs. After ingesting the toxin, the chemical stops the bug from feeding by upsetting its digestive system. Insects can also perish from boric acid poisoning if they walk through areas where it’s sprinkled on the floor.

The acid enters its exterior, causing cellular damage, dehydration, and death. The insects will also walk the boric acid back to their nest, where they spread it to the next generation, killing the infestation at the source.

Is Boric Acid Safe for Use Around People and Pets?

The risk to children and pets is low from boric acid, especially compared to other household insecticides. While all pesticides are lethal to an extent, boric acid is nothing like the modern highly toxic formulations.

As with handling all toxins, ensure you wear gloves and a mask, and wash your hands when you finish administering the boric acid around your property. Improper use of boric acid can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, headaches, and muscle weakness.

Keep your stash of boric acid away from the kids. Boric acid is safe for use around the house, but you don’t want to find your kid(s) playing with it in the kitchen. Boric acid won’t kill you on contact like many other insecticides.

However, it also won’t kill insects and pests on contact. This insecticide needs around 12 to 72 hours to produce effective results. The timeframe depends on the extent of the infestation and the type of pests you’re trying to kill.

In most cases, it can take a few weeks to kill off severe infestations of persistent pests like cockroaches.

Common Uses of Boric Acid in Residential Pest Control

Homeowners can use boric acid for pest control purposes both indoors and outdoors. However, due to the powder-like nature of the acid, most homeowners prefer to limit its use to outdoor applications only.

Boric acid powder solutions are a good alternative to other chemical pesticides for homeowners who value organic gardening. When used in pest control applications, BA will kill termites, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, fleas, and other insects.

Sprinkle some boric acid around ant walkways and watch the ants disappear over a week or so. They’ll take the boric acid back to the nest and kill the queen. This effective pesticide is a great choice for homeowners who want to reduce their environmental impact and prevent cross-contamination of the local environment with their pesticide practices.

Where Can I Buy Boric Acid?

Boric acid is readily available from grocery stores and big box retailers. It’s usually much more affordable than buying commercial-grade insecticides.

Apply the boric acid to ants’ nests, around cupboards indoors where you find cockroaches, and in the garage and basement to deter pests from nesting. While Boric acid is still in use, most homeowners traded out its use for other branded pesticide products over the last three decades or so.

Additional Reading: Boric Acid – General Facts (National Pesticide Information Center)

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