Yes, baking soda can kill ants, but it’s not the most effective way to get rid of an infestation. For baking soda to kill ants, they must consume it. To get ants to eat the baking soda, combine it with a sweet component such as sugar, powdered sugar, honey, or syrup.
According to studies, using a baking soda-infused bait only killed 42% of ants after 7 days. They also found that the effectiveness of baking soda didn’t improve with higher concentrations.
After consuming the baking soda, the ants will typically experience a slow death approximately 5-7 days later. If you plan to use baking soda, don’t expect to see changes in your ant population overnight.
You can expect to wait around 1-2 months to experience the full effects of using a baking soda bait on your ant population.
How Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?
It’s not fully understood why baking soda kills ants. According to research testing the effects of baking soda on ants, it’s expected that consuming baking soda increases the pH of the ant’s body internally, which slowly causes its death.
There are some reports online that baking soda will cause a build-up of gas inside the ant’s body, leading to it exploding.
The reality is that baking soda won’t cause exploding ants, but some of the ants will eventually die after consuming the baking soda.
Is Baking Soda Poisonous To Ants?
Yes, if ants consume baking soda they will eventually die. Baking soda is not a fast-acting poison, rather it slowly kills ants after 5-7 days by disrupting their whole-body pH.
For baking soda to be effective, the ants must consume it. If you do plan on using baking soda, I recommended that you create a bait.
You can do this by mixing sugar or syrup with baking soda. This will attract the ants and encourage them to eat the baking soda.
This is important because ants typically avoid baking soda. To make sure that ants eat the baking soda, you need to combine it with something that attracts ants.
How Long Does Baking Soda Take To Kill Ants?
Baking soda is by no means a fast-acting way to get rid of ants. Studies show that it takes between 5 and 7 days after consuming baking soda to start killing ants.
After 5-7 days, studies show that you can expect a 42% mortality rate of ants. The effectiveness of baking soda is not dependent on the concentration. Increasing the amount of baking soda will not make the bait more effective.
The most important factor determining how long baking soda takes to kill the ants is how fast they consume the baking soda.
To improve the efficiency of baking soda, you can pre-bait your home to determine the best combination to mix with the baking soda.
Pre-baiting will do two things:
- It ensures that the ants are attracted to your bait
- The ants will start consuming the bait immediately.
Borax vs Baking Soda: Which one should I Use To Get Rid of Ants?
Borax and baking soda are both household items that can be used to kill ants.
For both of these substances to work, the ants need to consume them. Typically, borax is provided a higher mortality rate and delivers these results faster.
You can expect borax to begin taking effect within 2-4 days, whereas baking soda typically takes around 5-7 days.
If you have children or pets around your home, one advantage of baking soda is that it’s not toxic to humans. Borax, on the other hand, is toxic if ingested. Using baking soda is a great way to add a level of safety when getting rid of ants.
Keep in mind that borax is highly effective against a wide variety of ants. This is the reason it’s used in many store-bought insecticides such as Terro bait stations.
I recommend borax because it’s works faster and delivers a higher mortality rate. Also, although borax is toxic, you can use bait stations to eliminate the danger that any bait poses to children or pets.
Does Baking Soda Kill Carpenter Ants?
Yes, baking soda will kill carpenter ants. When combined with an attractant to create a bait baking soda can kill any species of ant.
The effectiveness of baking soda on ants will depend on how fast and how much baking soda the ants consume.
If the ants never consume baking soda, they will not die.
Creating gel bait with baking soda is often ideal for carpenter ants because you can place it near areas where there is visible wood damage.
Another option is to insert the homemade gel bait into pockets of wood damage using a syringe.
Does Baking Soda Kill Fire Ants?
Yes, baking soda will kill fire ants. When combined with an attractant to create a bait, baking soda can kill any ant species after it’s consumed.
Fire ants rarely enter indoors; this makes using a baking soda combination tricky.
You must place the baking soda bait in locations that are protected against harsh weather.
The best way to protect baking soda bait is to use outdoor bait stations.
You can place these stakes outdoors without the concern that rain or heat will deteriorate your bait.
How To Use Baking Soda To Get Rid of Ants
Baking soda typically comes in powder. This makes it flexible when using it to treat ants.
There are three different ways you can use baking soda to get rid of ants:
- Create a bait mixture
- Create a Liquid bait
- Apply the powder to surfaces
1. Create a Bait Mixture
The most effective way to get rid of ants is using bait. Bait is often the preferred method for professional exterminators.
To do this, you need to combine baking soda with an attractant and a combiner to create a gel bait.
The best combination includes sugar or honey as a source of sugar.
For a source of protein, you can combine baking soda with peanut butter or egg yolks.
2. Liquid Bait
You can also use baking soda in liquid bait to kill ants. Liquid baits are most effective for outdoor bait stations.
This makes it easy to refill and also easy for the ants to take back to their nest.
I recommend only creating liquid baits with a sugar base. Using water, sugar, and baking soda will allow you to create a liquid bait that will attract ants but also still deadly.
3. Apply the Powder To Surfaces
The final way you can use to get rid of ants using baking soda is using it as a powder.
This is the least effective way to get rid of ants. When using it as a powder there is no reason for the ants to consume the baking soda.
The only way they will consume baking soda if they step over it and then clean themselves.
This method doesn’t always guarantee that the ants will consume enough baking soda to die.
Ants also tend to avoid baking soda as a powder. This means that baking soda as a powder is most effective as a repellent rather than a way to get rid of an infestation.
Baking Soda Alternatives
As a natural substitute for borax, you can use several alternatives
- Diatomaceous earth
- Professional Gel Bait
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is another all-natural substance that can kill ants. DE does work differently than borax.
To kill ants with DE they need to come in contact with the DE. The DE will slowly break down their exoskeleton and cause them to die.
Unfortunately, DE is effective at keeping ants out but not as effective at eliminating entire infestations due to the limited effects of secondary kills.
2. Professional Bait
The best alternative to boric acid is using professional gel bait. These are designed to attract ants and slowly kill ants to maximize secondary and tertiary kills.
Another benefit is that you can purchase bait with different attractants.
This is helpful because it allows you to adjust your bait choice for different ants or different seasons.
3. Boric Acid
Borax and boric acid kill ants when it’s consumed. Ants can’t digest borax or boric acid properly. After it’s digested, the ants will slowly die.
The length it takes them to die will depend on the amount of borax or boric acid consumed. You can typically expect ants to die after 2-4 days.
Borax does not kill ants on contact. If ants only come in contact with borax or boric acid, they won’t die.
But, since ants groom themselves frequently, even if ants only come into contact with the substance, they will eventually eat it.
This means that you don’t always have to use borax or boric acid as bait.