Killing Grease-Eating Ants with Borax: Trial One

I’ve had ants in my kitchen for at least a month. I normally put Terro out for ants, and they’re gone in three days. This colony won’t touch Terro. I’ve gotten several other brands of bait. They aren’t working either. These ants are grease eaters – no sweets for them. I keep looking for bait designed for grease eating ants, but I don’t see any. So I decided to try making my own.

Borax is the suggested poison for ants (and cockroaches). I’m not sure what it does to them, but whatever it is, it takes a while. They go back to their colony and feed others, then die. The benefit is that the queen gets it. If she dies: game over.

I didn’t have any bacon grease or bits of meat around the house, so I decided to try cat food. I’ve seen them picking at cat food before. I crushed some up, mixed in the borax, and put it out on the counter:

Cat food:
I took it from the bag, not from Max's bowl.

Crush it:
It kept shooting out of the bowl when it broke.

Add borax:
I could only buy a gigantic box of borax, but apparently it has a lot of uses besides being ant poison.

Set it out:
They didn't jump on it like sweet-eaters do Terro, but there were ants taking it.

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21 Responses to Killing Grease-Eating Ants with Borax: Trial One

  1. Lauren says:

    This is so exciting!!! If it works, you are going to be the grease-eating-ant-killer king!!

    I’m so curious – why do they like grease? If you looked at sweet and grease colonies side-by-side, would one be hyper and one have really bad acne?

  2. Peggy says:

    That is a genius idea!

    Is it possible for you to very quietly follow one of the grease eaters back to the colony and leave a giant pile of your concoction nearby….with a happy sign that says, Enjoy your summer or Happy Birthday Queen!

  3. Lloyd says:

    I, for one, would like to see some video footage.

    • Brad says:

      I would be happy to oblige, but there are currently NO ants in my kitchen. Does borax work that quickly, or is it just a coincidence?

      • Carol says:

        Perhaps Max had a talk with them after seeing how you mashed POISON into his CAT FOOD. [Perhaps his end of the conversation wnet somethng like this: “Hey! Ants! Better get a move on ‘fore I start eatin’ YOU!” Not a lot of protein per ant, but a cat would do what a cat would have to do, I suppose…]

        Now, seriously – no chance Max could injest any of this, right?

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  5. Dallas says:

    Grease eating ants are protein eaters. They prefer protein food sources. Sugar eating ants prefer sugar of course, some ants aren’t choosy others will eat either or a combination. To determine whether your ants are hunting for protein or sweets set out a bit of jelly and a bit of peanut butter. The peanut butter has the protein. If your ants are attracted to one over the other that is your target bait mixture. Terro usually does a good job on any kind of ant, we have an infestation currently that terro has not seemed to touch. It in fact seems to be fattening them up.

    • Brad says:

      Thanks for the info, Dallas. I didn’t realize it was the protein they liked. I had assumed it was fat for some reason. Maybe I’ll have to try borax in peanut butter next time I have grease eaters.

  6. Dallas says:

    sorry about the emoticon, don’t know how that got on there, I didn’t add it

    • Brad says:

      The emoticon gets added by a widget in the website software. They’re random faces. Some of them are cute. Sorry yours is cross-eyed and has angry eyebrows.

  7. Laila says:

    I read on another site to mix 1 tsp peanut butter with 1 tsp honey and add 1/2 tsp boric acid. Mix well and set it out wherever you see ants. BUT DO NOT PLACE IT WHERE DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAN GET IT. The mixture is supposed to target ants seeking protein and also sugar. So I mixed up some this morning and set it out on their path. I used the small, shallow, plastic lid from a gallon of milk. They are devouring it and carrying it back “home.” Hopefully soon they will all be gone. 🙂

    • Brad says:

      Thanks, Laila! That sounds like a a great mixture to try. I haven’t seen grease-eaters in my kitchen for a while, but next time I do, I’ll definitely try this.

  8. Paul says:

    I am now trying to get rid of grease ants. This has been going on for about a month now. I first used peanut butter with a little boric acid mixed in. The ants came and went in droves. After a few weeks I mixed up a new batch and they are coming and going in droves once again. Actually, there has never been a prolonged break since they began approx. A month ago. What now?

    • Brad says:

      Hi Paul. I never conclusively solved the problem of my grease-eating ants. They sort of went away on their own. I continue to have hordes of sweet-eaters though, so if you know of something that wipes them out, I’d be glad to hear about it. My bait of choice is Terro. It seems to work for a couple of days, but then the ants are back. My current tactic is to kill every single ant I see. I use 409 kitchen cleaner spray. It kills them instantly, and I like to think that it messes with any pheromone traces they’ve left behind.

      • Renee says:

        For sweet ants I use borax desolve in a little hot water and maple syrup. I soak a cotton ball in the mixture and place it in an ant path. It has worked for me every time.

  9. Suebeedoo says:

    Well my ants love my cats wet food, so I have done an experiment, borax and sugar and syrup melted with a little water and cat food gravy with borax. The ants have completely ignored the sugar borax and are swarming round the gravy and borax. I hope this sees them off once and for all they are such a pain.

    • Brad says:

      Good luck to you, Suebeedoo! (Ha! I love your screen name!)
      I hope your experiment pays off. Those particular ants are gone from my kitchen for now. It seems like I get a rotation of various varieties during the warm months though.

  10. stafford says:

    Hi,I made n mix of animal fat ,borax and breadcrumbs,the ants was carrying the crumbs to their nest,and they died by the millions.
    The idea is to kill the Queen so she can stop laying eggs,after a while the ants get use to the bait,or they realize its poisoning them,and stop eating it,then i moved the bait to another nest.You will see how meny of them die,becouse the carry the dead out and pile them in one heap.
    Must hit them hard the fist time,before they notice its poising them ,it takes about 3 weeks to exterminate a nest,so leave the bate out for at least 3 weeks .
    I made long thin rows on the tiles with the bait,not on big splat,so its more effective and the ants can reach it quicker.

    • Brad says:

      Hey, Stafford. Thanks for sharing your experience. I will have to try the thin rows of bait idea. I think I was trying to be careful with how much I left out because my cat at the time would eat anything. My current cat doesn’t eat anything but his cat food, so if the ants appear again, I can put out all the bait I want.

  11. vicki hood says:

    For sweet eating ants i mix karo syrup and up to 10% (guessing) 20 Mule Team Borax. Warm a little to dissolve. Squirt bottle handy. Put it where no animal can eat it, wild or pet. The object is to kill the queen. Queens can live up to 20 years and produce many more queens- – to drive us wacko. Leave bait until the colony is gone. Grease eaters are on my list now to find equal home bait. Trying peanut butter, chicken fat and my Karo mix. Open to suggestions.

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