View Full Version : Ants - and Borax

05-28-2010, 07:18 AM
I’m having real ant troubles. Going to try the old “20 Mule Team Borax” – ant killer recipe. Borax is basically boric acid and is the main ingredient in the commercial ant killer like “Terro”.

My grandma’s recipe is simply adding two tablespoons of borax to a cup of warm maple syrup (if it’s warm it dissolves better). I figure using 2:1 or honey will be the same.

The trick is I don’t want the bees to get access to the bait. Going to use an old peanut butter jar, with a few small ant sized holes in the top. The bait will be at the bottom of the jar, where bees can’t get at, but ants can crawl there way down in there. Going to put a rock in the jar so it won’t tip, perhaps some cotton balls in there just in case it does.

How does this idea sound?

05-28-2010, 08:25 AM
bad Idea bees will still try out the sweet stuff. what you can do is put sticky tape around the base of your hive stand the ants will stick to it. your bees won't die from poision by accident. oh that tape you get from nursery's it helps keeps un wanted insects off plants.

05-28-2010, 08:36 AM
I think this might work if you enclosed the container of poison in 1/8" hardware cloth. The holes are too small for worker bees to get through, but ants should get in with no problem. I was planning to do this myself, but ended up having surprisingly good results with cinnamon so never needed it.

05-28-2010, 08:53 AM
Yes agree on the hardware cloth, actualy was thinking of just using some plastic window screen material I have. Good idea.

I can understand that the idea sounds a bit scary as the bees will be trying to get to the sweet stuff - but there are other hives all around this area, that they can't get at (becasue it is defended by other hives), so just need to be sure they can't get to it.

What did you do with the cinnamon?

05-28-2010, 10:22 AM
With the cinnamon, I just sprinkled it heavily around the hive stand, on the ground and on top of the hive. You have to re-do it when it rains. I still have some ants, but not nearly the concentration I had before I sprinkled. It seems to make a difference how fresh the cinnamon is. I had some old stuff in my cupboard and it made no difference. So I got a new bottle at Costco and it did the trick.

05-28-2010, 10:53 AM
If the bees really wanted to they could chew right through that cheap plastic window cloth...Go get you some Diatemaceous Earth (DE) and be done with it! Its either in Granulated form or powdered form and pour it all around your hives like a barrier. I got a 25 lb bag at the swimming pool supply store. They use it through the skimmer of swimming pools and i use it to get rid of ants and it has been very effective i might add. I used the cinnamin and it works ok until it rains and then you have to add more...If you have alot of hives the cashier at the grocery store will think your making cinnamin rolls...hahaha I would still add some ground cinnamin right on top of the inner cover. Good Luck!!

Deer Slayer
05-28-2010, 12:28 PM
pour it all around your hives like a barrier.

I would be careful about the application of DE.
Quote from a webpage I found
To insects DE is a lethal dust with microscopic razor sharp edges. These sharp edges cut through the insect's protective covering drying it out and killing them when they are either dusted with DE or if it applied as a wettable powder spray. If they ingest the DE it will shred their insides.:eek:

05-28-2010, 03:04 PM
One of my ongoing experiments to control ants involves using clear plastic plant saucers. My hive stands are 4x4s supported by cement blocks. I can put 3 or 4 hives on a pair of 8 foot 4x4s. The plastic saucers are available just about anywhere where plants are sold.
In a six inch plant saucer, I place a 3 1/2x3 1/2 inch piece of a 2x4. Add motor oil until there is a continuous ring of oil between the wood and the edge of the saucer. Place an 8 inch saucer upside down on top of the wood. A thumbtack keeps it in position. One of these goes under each end of a 4x4. The larger saucer acts as a rain/dirt/trash shield and keeps the oil clean. This arrangement presents the ants with an oil barrier. So far, it seems to be working. Keep the grass down to eliminate other routes into the hives.

Tanglefoot works well until it gets covered with debris.

Another formulation is to mix borax with grape jelly. Put it in a small continer with an opening which is too small for the bees to enter. Place it on the ground under the hive.

If you can find the anthill, pour some borax on it. It will kill the grass but it is death to ants.

Michael Bush
05-28-2010, 08:37 PM
I would be worried about attracting the bees with the honey. I've always used 1 part borax, 1 part water and 1 part jelly. The bees don't seem so interested in the jelly compared to their interest in honey.