This pest control chemical is also referred to as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, and orthoboric acid. It is a weaker form of the monobasic acid, and is often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, and flame retardant during everyday use.

It often looks like a colorless crystal, or a white powder that can be dissolved in water. In retail products, it can be found in pellets, tablets, powders, and more.

How Does Boric Acid Work?

Boric acid is toxic to insects by causing abrasions to the exoskeleton. Insects walk through the boric acid, and will later ingest it by cleaning themselves.

This damages their stomach and alters their nervous system by killing them in the proceeding 10 days.

You can use boric acid to kill:

Boric acid is also commonly used to control molds, fungi, and weeds by drying them out. Using boric acid in gardens since it does dry out plants. If you’re having an issue with pests in your garden, try using neem oil, or cedarwood oil.

It has been widely used inside and outside homes, hospitals, food establishments, and other commercial buildings since the 1940’s.

Is Boric Acid Safe For Humans?

Boric acid’s toxicity depends on the amount of boron it contains. Most retail products are relatively safe, but always use caution when first using a new product.

Keep all products away from eyes and mouth. Use extra caution if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Some individuals may have adverse allergic reactions to boric acid. If you find that you are having an allergic reaction after using it, be sure to wash the affected area thoroughly, and contact a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen.

Boric acid has low toxicity to the skin, but wash hands before and after use. Borax, a common boric acid product, has been known to be corrosive to eyes and irritating to the skin. Always read and follow the label, and wear gloves.

People who have eaten or ingested boric acid have reported:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach aches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Respiratory problem
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and diarrhea with a blue-green color
  • Bright red skin rash followed by skin loss

In extreme cases, boric acid has caused kidney failure. Infants who have ingested boric acid have had adverse effects to their nervous system such as convulsions, confusion, and comas.

Boric acid is not a carcinogenic to humans, and is safe if used properly.

Is it Boric Acid Safe For Animals and Other Wildlife?

In smaller animals like dogs, cats, and hamsters, boric acid can be toxic and has led to issues with the nervous system and blood conditions. If you pet has ingested boric acid, look out for:

  • Irritated skin and eyes
  • Vomiting and retching
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stools
  • Tremors
  • Decreased urination from kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Incoordination

If you see your pet experiencing these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. Boric acid is practically non-toxic to other wildlife like birds, aquatic animals, and bees.

What Products Use Boric Acid?

Boric acid is normally found in almost every household cleaner such as laundry detergent. In retail products, it can be found in pellets, tablets, powders, and more. As a pesticide, you can commonly find boric acid in borax. To make your own DIY bait using borax, mix together:

  • 2 tbsp. Borax
  • Peanut butter

Make a paste with the two ingredients, then spread on a paper plate or another container. Place the bait along the entry point, or trail. If you’re trying to capture ants, check out our page on ants to see more DIY solutions using borax.

Boric Acid vs Other Products

There are lots of products out there to help you ward off pests. Let’s look at some other naturally formulated products that compare to boric acid.

Boric Acid vs Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth handles all the same types of pests as boric acid, and is also normally mixed as a bait.

If the infestation is on your pet, diatomaceous earth may be a better solution for you, as it is relatively safe for animals.

If you’re unsure if boric acid products are the right solution to protect against pests, call a local exterminator at (833) 431-0401 to see what other solutions they recommend.