Everybody hates bed bugs, right? These tiny, oval, and brownish ‘blood suckers’ are quite annoying, and most people do not like sleeping with unwanted or unannounced company! In addition, everybody knows that getting rid of them is not that easy!
It has many reasons; for example, they spread very easily and multiply exponentially. So, to deal with this nuisance, people are motivated to explore different solutions and methods of getting rid of them! Some of those include borax, and people often ask if borax is effective for bed bugs.
So, let’s see is borax effective for bed bugs?
What is Borax?
Just in case you are not familiar with borax, it is a white powdery mineral commonly occurring in nature and has numerous uses! However, the fact that it occurs in nature does not imply that it is safe to consume- just think about arsenic!
Also known as sodium borate, borax is a common ingredient in detergents and cosmetics. People often use borax powder to boost the performance of their laundry detergent.
Although some people mistake it for baking soda, those two are not the same; baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and, unlike borax, can be consumed in very small doses without making you sick.
Can I Use Borax to Kill Bed Bugs?
If you have heard from someone that borax can kill ants or weeds in your garden, that is true, but it does not extend to bed bugs. Why? Think of it this way- borax is a powder that needs to be ingested in order to cause harm to home nuisances and pests.
So, the food that bed bugs consume needs to be laced with borax, and when it comes to bed bugs, considering that they do not engage in ‘preening,’ that is impossible!
Borax is highly poisonous if ingested, and therefore, when using it, it is recommended that you take all the possible precautions. The same goes for boric acid; when handling these, use gloves and a mask!
Can I Use Borax to Kill Bed Bugs Eggs?
When bed bugs decide that your mattress is their new living space, it is only a matter of time before you notice small, tiny eggs. Females lay between 1 to 5 eggs each day and lay up to 500 eggs yearly!
So, people are curious whether borax can be used to kill their eggs. The answer is still no! Again, the same is with ingesting borax and boric acid, which is almost impossible with bed bugs, let alone their eggs.
If you considered covering the mattress and eggs with borax, that would also have no effect!
Study: How Effective is Borax For Eliminating Bed Bugs?
Borax is only effective if the pests can digest it, and given that bed bugs feed on blood, that option is off the table! However, boric acid is toxic for bed bugs, but getting them to ingest it is a challenge, and there are many other more convenient solutions on the market.
But since we are on the subject, you are not the only one to wonder whether you can use borax, boric acid dust, and boric acid to kill bed bugs.
In fact, a team Form North Carolina State University led by etymology professor Coby Shal also wondered the same and conducted several experiments to determine the mortality and the efficiency of borax and boric acid.
They discovered that bed bugs have no issues consuming boric acid at concentrations lower than 2%, and even a concentration of 5% may result in some of them dying.
When it comes to boric dust, exposing bed bugs to the dust has around 30% effectiveness in killing them, and even the increase of concentrations of boric acid will not give you the wanted effect.
Remember, they multiply quickly and are easily transmitted, so you want to aim for at least 90% efficiency! So, exposing bed bugs to boric acid can be crossed off the list, given that over 85% of the bugs survived the experiment!
However, the team also tried injecting the bed bugs with boric acid, resulting in high mortality rates! Therefore, ingesting boric acid is super effective, and a drop of blood with only 0.5% of boric acid will send them back where they came from.
Interestingly, the study also found that bed bugs, which are susceptible to most insecticides, have mechanisms that prevent the borax from entering their cuticles. How boric acid kill bed bug, only God knows!
However, it does kill them; it is just a bit of a challenge to get the bed bugs to ingest it and to create bait traps, so it is not surprising that most people opt for different solutions!
On the other hand, bed bugs do not like borax or other chemicals, toxic solutions, and even natural oils, such as clove oil, peppermint oil, and rubbing alcohol. In other words, they will try to avoid it!
What Happens If I Ingest Borax or Boric Acid?
As mentioned, borax and boric acids are digestive poisons and, therefore, not safe for oral consumption or any other for that matter!
If you have mistakenly ingested boric acid, you will experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, headaches, skin irritation, tremor, blisters, and fever. On the other hand, when inhaling borax, the symptoms are not that severe!
In fact, when dealing with boric acid dust, it is vital that you thoroughly wash your hand before and after use. Some people even make their own solution with borax by adding water into a spray bottle and spraying the beds or sofas to deter bed bugs!
Interestingly, borax powder has been banned since 2010 in the EU and UK because a study showed that this mineral harms reproductive health!
If you recently handled borax, boric acid, or dust and experience some of the symptoms mentioned above, call a doctor immediately!
Best Way to Kill Bed Bugs
If you are here, you are probably interested in how to deal with bed bug infestation! Do not worry. There are many solutions and home remedies that you can use to deter and kill these tiny ‘vampires.’
Most people recognize an infestation by discovering small and round itchy marks, also known as bed bug bites. They cannot transmit any disease, unlike other blood-sucking external parasites (like ticks); in rare occasions, they can trigger a skin condition and allergic reactions.
The most problematic issue with beg bugs is the anxiety and discomfort of knowing you have tiny insects lingering in your bed. These experienced blood hunters are very good at hiding, and people often find their eggs and their feces before catching a site of a small bed bug!
1. Diatomaceous Earth
So, what can you do about them? If you have patience, we suggest you try sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the areas believed to be inhabited by bed buds! In a span of 7 to 10 days, bed bugs will be gone.
After applying the diatomite powder to the areas, please leave it for at least 8 to 12 hours and then vacuum it! The diatomaceous earth works as a desiccant or hygroscopic substance, which induces a state of dryness or dehydration when it comes to bed bugs.
However, the diatomaceous earth is not successful in killing beg bugs’ eggs, meaning you will have to wait for them to hatch to kill them!
Vinegar is often used in cooking but also in cleaning, as it has proved to be an excellent agent in getting rid of stubborn stains! But did you know that you can use it to kill bugs? It is pretty effective as it attacks their nervous system and results in paralysis.
You can easily make the solution at home; just take a spray bottle, fill it with distilled vinegar, and that is it! Spray on the edges of sofas, beds, cracks, crevices, and other areas where bed bugs like to hide!
The only issue with this solution is that vinegar does not smell nice, and people do not want their houses to smell like chemical plants.
For those looking for an effective and ‘not smelly’ solution, you should try insecticides such as Raid and others designed to kill various insects, including bed bugs. Depending on the degree of the infestation, soak or spray the infected mattresses and sofas with Raid.
Then wait for the foam to dry, and then you can clean it! Please do not use the soaked mattresses or allow your pets to sit on them while drenched with Raid. Most insecticides have high toxicity to insects and quickly deal with them.
4. Call Pest Control
There are many ways to deal with bed bugs; if you have tried most of them and hit a dead-end that is your clue to call pest control and professional exterminators of bed bugs.
Can I Use Borax to Kill Cockroaches?
Absolutely! Borax can be used to repel and kill various insects! Borax is widely known as an effective solution for one of the nastiest pests-cockroaches!
According to a study by the Journal of Economic Entomology, borax, and boric acid have an excellent mortality rate for German and American cockroaches, the most annoying pests in the US.
Only 2% of boric acid in their bloodstream will result in a quick death, although it is toxic in smaller concentrations- 0.5% and 1% will also kill them, just the process will take longer.
So can borax kill bed bugs? It can, only if they ingest it, and considering that they will not willingly do so, it is not a very effective solution for bed bug infestation, given they feed on blood. Also, exposing bed bugs to borax and their eggs will not kill them; it only deters them.
There are many other solutions that you can use, such as diatomaceous earth, pesticides, and vinegar! If the infestation is too much to handle, call professional exterminators!
Have you tried using borax to kill bed bugs? Could you share your experience with us? If you have any questions, feel free to address them in the comment section!