Boric Acid-Did You Know?

boric acid my job I see A LOT of Boric Acid. It seems to be the answer to almost any pest problem out there. I’ve seen entire lawns covered with it, dog houses, thick lines around babies cribs, baseboards outlined, cupboards, counter tops, whole attics dusted (including all the storage that was up there), crawlspaces, commercial kitchens, ant mounds, carpets, window sills, horse stalls, vehicles and the list goes on and on. Now, boric acid is in the grand scheme of things is a pretty benign substance and IS registered for pest control uses (unlike like it’s cousin Borax which is not), still the amounts I see applied can be pretty alarming so I thought you might want to know some facts.

That said, with as much of this substance as I see in my pest control route, it pales in comparison to all of the different places you can find Boric Acid in the world and the many different uses it is good for. You might be surprised at a few of these yourself and at some of the facts about this white powdery miracle we call Boric Acid.

Did You Know?

Boric Acid was first registered in the US as an insecticide in 1948
Is used as an antiseptic in mouthwashes and for minor burns or cuts
Prevents and destroys wood rot
Used to prevent athletes foot by putting powder in socks
With salt added it’s used in curing hides of cattle and other skins
Is used as an eyewash (except babies-Don’t do it with babies)
Is in the chemical family of Inorganic borates (I didn’t make this up-follow the link and yell at the guy who wrote the label)
Is used in nuclear power plants to slow down fission
Is used to help form monofilament fiberglass and thus is in everything from circuit boards to fiberglass boatsBoric acid
Is the most common substance to neutralize Hydrofluoric acid (stuff eats glass)
Used as a colorant and turns flames green (fire jugglers and dumb people–I knew you’d ask)
May impair fertility or damage unborn child
Is found in almost all fruits
Has a low acute oral toxicity LD 50 of 3500
Is found in numerous pest control products- mostly baits
Is not a desiccant contrary to popular belief (although as many powders do, it can irritate the exoskeleton)
Is a stomach poison
Is not flammible-in fact it is used to make flame retardant materials-(in fact it’s being used in mattresses to make them flame resistant and this has some folks pretty upset)
Is found in sea water
Does not kill mice (except those they did testing on) 🙁
Boric Acid is not considered a carcinogen
Can harm some plants especially by root absorption
Is not a D.O.T. hazardous material
Does contain traces of Arsenic
Leaches in soil
Is used and accepted as a ‘Green’ pest control product even though it’s inorganic
NOT an effective tool against bed bugs (since it’s a stomach poison they can’t eat it if it’s not in YOUR blood and not being a desiccant it’s of little use)
“Death. Human studies have shown that boron can be lethal following short-term exposure. The minimal lethal dose of ingested boron (as boric acid) was reported to be 2-3 g in infants, 5-6 g in children and 15-20 g in adults (Locatelli et al. 1987; Wong et al. 1964).” (I told you they were angry)
Signs and Symptoms of Exposure: Symptoms of accidental over-exposure to borate products have been associated with ingestion or by absorption through large areas of damaged skin. These may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with delayed effects of skin redness and peeling.
NOTE TO PHYSICIANS: Observation only is required for adult ingestion of a few grams of Boric Acid. For ingestion in excess of larger amounts, maintain adequate kidney function and force fluids. Gastric lavage is recommended for symptomatic patients only. Hemodialysis should be reserved for massive acute ingestion or patients with renal failure. Boron analyses of urine or blood are only useful for documenting exposure and should not be used to evaluate severity of poisoning or to guide treatment.

Boric Acid- H3BO3, who knew?

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

This entry was posted in Tools of the trade and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Its funny but I see the same thing almost on a daily basis. I have seen bedrooms dusted everywhere with DE Diatomaceous Earth and they don’t realize the potential harm with breathing the product. Boric Acid is in the same field with me, people just don’t realize the possibility of harm.
    With the explosion of bed bugs people are often times willing to go
    beyond the norm, as is evident with gas and kerosene in the news. Great

  • Thanks Keith,
    I agree whole heartily — I did want to include the good things that this product from Mother Nature provides too… it’s funny you mention gas because I was thinking of comparing the two and how they both are good and yet have a potential for harm when mis-used.decided to go with just the basic run down.. scary–do you think we’re twins somehow?????

  • stuto

    So, I am wondering what kind of effect boric acid has on other pesticides such as Phantom or a general pesticide such as Tempo?

  • You know I’m not sure….When it’s super heavy I can’t imagine a bug crossing it so if your barrier is there too, they’d just be avoiding the whole area…

  • stevej31088

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you