Borax – also called sodium borate – is a salt made from boric acid, which comes from the element boron. In the U.S., boron is found in rocks mined from the Mojave Desert in California.
Borax is a white, powdery substance with colorless crystals that often is used as a household cleaner or laundry booster. It also can help control termites, likely by interfering with a termite’s digestion, which can cause its death.
Borax for Termite Treatment
Borax can be injected in powder form into a drywood termite colony. However, it is difficult to fully expose all termites in a colony to the powder. This limitation reduces the effectiveness of borax powder in termite control.
Borate solutions, which are liquid products made with sodium borate, sometimes are used in pressure-treated wood. Expert application of a borate solution can help protect unfinished wood in your home. A trained professional should provide the treatment to ensure the right concentration and penetration of the material. Borate solutions applied to existing construction often will not seep into the wood uniformly. Therefore, the inner layers may not be protected from termites.
Limitations to Using Sodium Borate for Termite Control
While borax can control termites, it works slowly and may require many applications to be successful. Most pest control experts do not recommend using only borax for termites. Instead, they may recommend using borax in combination with other products that have greater reach to treat an entire area.
Borax is not effective when exposed to repeated, soaking rains, so it is not recommended for soil treatments. Alternatively, wood with too little moisture also will reduce the effectiveness of borax because it will reduce the penetration.