Roaches are a chronic nuisance and a serious health risk in many homes. These pesky and elusive bugs carry disease-causing pathogens that cause severe illnesses. Worse still, cockroaches are becoming resistant to today’s insecticides. That makes it important to find an effective way to help curb an infestation, and boric acid may fulfill that role perfectly.
Boric acid is very effective at killing roaches due to its special formulation of hydrogen and sodium borate salts. The acid comes in the form of powder, dust, or gel. If a roach eats or touches it, it will begin to damage its nervous system and digestion. Inevitably, they will starve to death within a few days or a few weeks.
Roaches will even carry this poison back to their colony and infect other roaches. Boric acid is typically found as a cleaner in your average store. It’s highly toxic to roaches, but mostly harmless to humans and pets. Don’t leave it on your skin, eat it, or inhale it. You can even pair it with egg yolks, sugar, flour, or peanut butter to lure roaches to their eventual deaths.
Does Boric Acid Really Kill Cockroaches?
Boric acid is highly toxic to cockroaches and several other types of household pests. It contains several active compounds that work together to kill a wide range of invasive species, such as:
- Insects with an exoskeleton
Boric acid comes in the form of powder, gel, or dust. It’s a multi-purpose agent that works as a detergent, hand soap, fertilizer, eyewash, and insecticide. If that sounds heavy-hitting, then don’t worry. The average person consumes boric acid daily in popular fruits and veggies. That’s because it can be found naturally in bananas, apples, nuts, and beer.
That turns negative for roaches when they come into contact with it. As a fine substance, boric acid clings onto its body. It can then work into its exoskeleton and cause damage. The same happens if the roach ingests the boric acid unknowingly, as it turns into poison within the body. Here, it can:
- Poison the digestive system
- Inhibit the metabolism
- Scuff the exoskeleton severely, eventually killing the roach
What Does Boric Acid Do To Cockroaches?
If an insect has an exoskeleton, it has a reason to fear boric acid. When a roach crawls through the boric acid, the powder, gel, or dust will stick on its hairy legs and body.
As the cockroach grooms itself, the powder will find its way into the digestive system. According to the University of California, boric acid can also penetrate the roach through its exoskeleton’s gaps and spiracles.
The acid is slow-acting. Once it gets inside the body, it will spread through the roach’s nervous and digestive systems. This impedes normal bodily functions, and the cockroach will eventually die after a few days.
How Does Boric Acid Work?
Boric acid works through contact and ingestion. If the poison has to sift its way into the outer shell, it will take longer to become deadly. If a roach eats it, it may kill it within 1-3 days.
Boric acid works by affecting the nervous system. It disrupts the roach’s ability to move, keep its balance, and seek out food. It will be temporarily paralyzed and flip onto its back. Here, it will starve to death or perish from dehydration.
It will also target the roach’s digestion, making it impossible for it to glean nutrients from whatever it eats. This starves the roach as well. If that seems like a narrow point of attack, then rest assured. Because they’re such adaptive creatures, one of the only effective ways to kill them is to force their body to run out of fuel.
Does Boric Acid Kill All Types Of Cockroaches?
From German cockroaches to American cockroaches, boric acid kills them all. It will even trim the populations of any other insects lingering in your home, be they spiders or mites. That’s because it targets the exoskeleton.
The abrasive nature of boric acid means it works by damaging the external structure of the insect. This forces it to lose moisture at a rapid pace. It also weakens the shell and makes it more susceptible to damage. If these two factors don’t kill the roach, the damage to its nervous system will.
That holds for every type of household roach. Since they all have exoskeletons, boric acid is an effective response to all your infestations.
How Effective Is Boric Acid Against Cockroaches?
Boric acid has been used as an insecticide against roaches for decades, or even centuries. In fact, according to the Journal of Economic Entomology, boric acid has been used in pest control long before the advent of synthetic pesticides. That’s because:
- It’s easy to obtain
- It’s highly lethal to the bugs
- It won’t poison anyone who uses it
The above study showed that the efficacy of boric acid is greatest on German cockroaches. This is true for both ingestion and contact. Researchers found out that ingested boric acid caused 100% mortality at concentrations of less than 0.5%. Since German roaches are capable of adapting to standard pesticides, this makes boric acid a favored choice. Other, less adaptive insects don’t stand a chance.
With that said, it is a slow-acting pesticide. It may take several days or even weeks to kill off one roach. During this time, the roach may transfer some of the poison to other members of its colony. This will trim their numbers and help lessen your infestation. However, if you’re practically swimming in roaches, this may not be fast enough.
That’s why many people still hire professional exterminators to handle an overwhelming roach problem. The longer you allow it to get out of control, the more likely it will impact your health. For this reason, while boric acid is a delightful pesticide, you should only choose it for mild to medium infestations. You may not have the luxury of time with a bigger colony.
Is Boric Acid Paste Safe To Use As A Cockroach Insecticide?
Unlike synthetic insecticides, boric acid paste or powder is a natural product. It’s extracted from organic chemicals that have been used safely for many years. Besides that, boric acid is found naturally in some of the fruits and vegetables we eat every day.
With this in mind, there’s no doubt that boric acid is 100% safe to use as a cockroach insecticide. In fact, it’s safer than most traditional poisons or traps bought commercially.
With that said, it’s not entirely risk-free. Boric acid still comes with various health concerns if you ingest, inhale, or even touch the paste or powder. Excessive exposure to boric acid can cause:
- Skin irritation
- Muscle weakness
- Respiratory problems
You can’t just fling boric acid around your home and expect it only to harm the roaches. Instead, be sure to follow the instructions, use gloves if needed, and apply boric acid sparingly. That will help you avoid the risks involved.
Is Boric Acid Powder Safe For Pets?
If you have pets, you must consider their safety before using pest control. The good news is, boric acid is safe to use around most pets. This natural acid is non-toxic to fish, birds, and most invertebrates. However, using too much boric acid powder can result in health problems for:
- Smaller pets, like hamsters
For example, if your puppy happens to lap up the dust you spread around, it will cause issues. Likewise, cats should be kept away from the acid, even if they’re curious. Never place boric acid near your pets’ enclosures. If you do, boric acid toxicity may cause symptoms such as:
- Skin and eye irritation
- Muscle weakness
These symptoms can fade on their own, as long as the pet stops ingesting or breathing in more. Excessive exposure can cause:
- Serious blood conditions
- Even nervous system problems in smaller, younger pets
Considering this, you should use the powder away from your pets. Pick spaces like corners, underneath cabinets, and cracks or crevices where your pets cannot access easily. Luckily, roaches prefer these areas, so you can still handle an infestation without risking your pets.
How Fast Does Boric Acid Kill Cockroaches?
Boric acid is a slow-acting cockroach killer. It will take days to kick into action. In most cases, it can require up to 72 hours for a cockroach to die after ingesting boric acid. This means you can’t fling powder at a roach and expect it to fall over.
However, that’s actually a good thing. Once a roach comes into contact with the powder, it will carry it back to its nest. Here, it will spread it to other roaches in the colony by:
- Rubbing against them
- Leaving behind poisoned feces
- Dying within the colony and being eaten
When the other roaches ingest the powder, the chemicals poison their stomachs and inhibit their metabolisms. Several roaches can die after you’ve poisoned just one. This entire process should take anywhere from 1-3 days. After several weeks of treatment, you should be finding dozens of roach bodies.
How Long Does Boric Acid Take To Kill Cockroaches?
It takes up to 72 hours for boric acid to kill cockroaches. However, if you are dealing with a heavy infestation, you should expect the results to come a bit later. Boric acid does not kill cockroaches instantly. It works slowly, so it could take up to 2 months to wipe out the entire cockroach infestation from your space.
Applying boric acid properly is crucial to attaining the results that you want. If you follow all the instructions as directed, you should see a significant drop in the number of cockroaches in your home. This will happen within the first month, but with heavy infestations, it could take several months.
Does Boric Acid Kill Cockroach Eggs?
Regrettably, boric acid does not kill roach eggs, just adult cockroaches. This means it’s not the ultimate solution to dealing with a heavy infestation. New generations may remain untouched by the first wave of poison, only to hatch out later and continue where their parents left off.
However, you can make it work by spreading the powder in the right places. Apply it generously where cockroaches hide and lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, boric acid will kill all the nymphs that walk over the powder.
Even better, boric acid will not lose its potency right away. For several weeks, it will be just as deadly. In the following months, or even years, it will still work, but with reduced efficacy. Make sure that the powder stays dry, as its potency is reduced when wet.
What Can I Mix With Boric Acid To Kill Roaches?
Sometimes, boric acid doesn’t work as well on its own. Roaches are not drawn to the scent, and may even learn to avoid the powder. That makes it important to bait the boric acid with other tempting foods and odors.
Boric Acid And Sugar
The most straightforward approach is to mix boric acid with sugar. To create this solution, mix 2 tablespoons of boric acids With 2 cups of sugar.
The sugar will attract pests, including cockroaches. Since boric acid is a fine white powder, roaches will be forced to eat the acid with their treat. Once inside, the poison gets to work.
Boric Acid With Flour
You can also mix boric acid with flour at a 50/50 ratio. The fine substance will mix and become inseparable. This forces any cockroaches to take the poison with the calorie-heavy food. If your infestation isn’t responsive to this bait, add a little confectioners’ sugar to attract them.
If you want a longer-lasting solution, you can prepare this flour-acid mix as a dough. A small amount of water will help the ingredients bind together, while only costing you a little of the acid’s potency. Roll the dough into balls and place them in strategic spots:
- Along floorboards
- In corners
- Under sinks
- Behind heavy appliances
- Around garbage bins
Killing Roaches With Boric Acid And Egg Yolks
Boric acid and egg yolks are a great combination for killing roaches. Cockroaches are tempted by the smell and taste of eggs, so preparing this recipe is simple:
- Place egg yolks in a bowl
- Add 1 cup of sugar
- Add 2.5 ounces of boric acid
- Mix the ingredients to form a thick paste
- Create small balls out of the paste
- Place the balls along areas where roaches like to crawl and hide
Boric Acid And Peanut Butter Bait For Roaches
Boric acid and peanut butter is another effective option for dealing with an infestation. The scent, texture, and vitamin content of peanut butter make it an attractive lure:
- Add 1 part boric acid
- To 1 part peanut butter in a bowl
- Mix the two ingredients to form a huge ball
- Press the mixture into small containers or bottle caps for easy transportation
- Place the filled containers or bottle caps in roach-infested areas
Of course, if you don’t have these ingredients on hand, you can always pick other lures. Great boric acid bait recipes include:
- Boric acid and beer
- Boric acid and condensed milk
- Boric acid, boiled potatoes, and boiled eggs
- Boric acid and greasy bacon
Can You Put Boric Acid Down The Drain?
Cockroaches like to hide and nest in areas that are dark, moist, and undisturbed. That makes it common to find them hiding inside the kitchen or bathroom drain. Since they cannot survive for long without water, they’re happy to build their colonies near these water sources. With that in mind, it makes sense to put boric acid down the drain.
However, putting boric acid down the drain is not an effective method of eradicating roaches. It’s a soluble chemical, meaning it will dissolve immediately when put in the drain. Once dissolved, there is very little chance the roaches will touch or ingest it. As discussed, boric acid also loses some of its potency when it gets wet.
Boric acid is ideal as a powder spread at key areas throughout your home. You can also pair it with baits to give you an edge on your roach problem. Since it’s highly lethal for cockroaches, you can rely on it as a natural pesticide for mild or medium-sized infestations.