Boron is an inorganic mineral mined from naturally formed deposits in the Mojave Desert in California, as well as areas in central and western Turkey. The two most common forms of boron used in termite control are boric acid and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT).
Boric acid is a white powder that has been used as an insecticide since the 1920s. Experts are not sure exactly how boric acid affects an insect; many believe boric acid interferes with termites’ digestion when it is consumed through treated wood.
While boric acid can be toxic to wood-destroying insects, it is low in toxicity to humans and pets. It also shows little potential for bioaccumulation (potential to build up in the environment).
Boric Acid Termite Treatment
Borates typically are applied as a pre-construction wood treatment but also can be used post-construction on exposed wood. Borates impact termites directly trying to attack the wood, plus any nestmates these termites groom and feed.
Borates are most effective against termites trying to attack the wood’s surface, borate’s effectiveness against termites deeper inside the wood depends on the material’s penetration. Pre-treated wood is pressure treated, which helps the borate solution soak through the wood evenly. Post-construction treatment may not be able to penetrate as deeply and may only provide protection for the outermost layer of wood.
Boric acid can be used in powder form as an insecticide and “puffed” into wood inhabited by termites. However, this technique generally is not regarded as an effective means of termite control. Pest control experts recommend using boric acid in combination with other control options that are applied uniformly and have a greater impact.
Boric acid is used as an ingredient in more than 200 pesticides and termiticides. Common boric acid termite control products include Tim-Bor, Bora-Care and Jecta, Diffusible Boracide.
Limitations of Boric Acid Termite Control
The effectiveness of borate-based treatments depends on the proper targeting of current and potential future infestations. Since boric acid termite control is a targeted treatment approach and requires exact concentrations and penetration to provide effective control, your pest control expert may recommend combining this prevention and treatment method with other methods.