The annual migration of ants from outside our little paradise to inside our homely chaos, has begun. When I bought my first house the kind, elderly woman I bought it off also left me with some of her ant bait and the little recipe.
Scrawled on the bottle of liquid was her recipe potion.
1 Tablespoon Borax
3 Tablespoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Honey
Water – Enough to make a syrupy liquid
The Borax you are after is the powder or crystal borax that should be 99% Borax on the label. Usually found in the laundry aisle at the shops. There are some brands that add perfumes and other chemicals. Avoid these. Get the cheap stuff. Its useful around the house for many other uses also. You DO NOT use Boric Acid for this recipe. It is quite a different chemical altogether. And dangerous. Plus its not part of the recipe I was left with, so I go with what I’ve had work.
It helps to portion out the quantities of borax, sugar and honey and then gently heat them through with a little water to create a syrup and dissolve the granules. It can be used dry but I’ve never tried it that way and I find that it works much better with the addition of honey as an attractant. At times when I’ve left it out it didn’t create as much interest. Also, as a liquid it is particularly attractive to ants in the drier summer months here as they’re need for moisture increases. If the formula is too thick it can quite often dry out and seal over and the ants are not all that attracted to it.
We usually put a quantity of this syrup into a bright lid (red, yellow, orange) from a bottle or jar and leave it near the ants trail. They come to it like budgies around a waterhole, drink and carry on doing their thing. After a day or two you may notice areas of dead ants in scattered congregations like an ant version of Jonestown. The idea is that the ants that feed also take it back to the nest and feed other ants and with any luck, the Queen.
We’ve never wiped out our ants completely, which I like. They do come in handy in the garden. I like this particular recipe as it is cheap and effective and we have all the ingredients at any point in time. A bottle of it lasts years for us and it just keeps the ants in check. It works well outside also but the feeding station needs to be well covered so other animals don’t disturb it. Other simple techniques which have worked for us are placing sugary liquid in areas outside to simply divert the ants away from the house.