Warmer temperatures not only means a chance to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, it also means the great outdoors, particularly bugs, will be looking to get indoors to find their next meal.

It never fails. After we have a good solid rain, we end up with ants in our kitchen, usually in the cabinet where we keep our snacks and cereal. For a while, whenever I saw a few of the little buggers, I would smash them with the tip of my finger and wash them down the sink drain. But they just kept coming. Turns out my violent reaction, while satisfying on a certain level, wasn't fixing the problem. I needed to stop them at their source. And unbeknownst to the them, they were going to help me do it, like my personal little soldiers of death (insert maniacal laughter here).

Since the problem was in the kitchen, I didn't want to use any type of pesticide, even one that claims to be safe for kitchen use. So off to the internet I went to see if there was a safer, homemade remedy I could try.

A quick Googling of "Homemade Ant Repellent" brought up a ton of results, many of which used Borax, an all-purpose powder that can be used as a laundry booster and household cleaner whose main ingredient is boric acid, a common ingredient in over-the-counter pesticides.

But simply pouring a small pile of Borax in the corner of the cabinet won't do the trick. The ants need to be baited into thinking it's food. And what do ants love? Sugar! However, it's important that the mix of Borax to sugar is key. Too much Borax will kill the ants before they have a chance to carry out their mission of eradication. There needs to be just enough to carry out the job after they get back to the nest.

Depending on how much you're looking to make, the ratio of sugar to Borax is 3 to 1. If you have a big problem, or multiple spots to cover around the house, you may want to go as much as three cups of sugar to one cup of Borax. Since my issue was isolated to the one spot in the kitchen, I knocked that down to three tablespoons of sugar to one tablespoon of Borax.

It may be anywhere between five and seven days before you start seeing a decrease in activity, so no matter how satisfying it may be, DON'T KILL THEM! You need them to take those little bits of poisoned sugar crystals back to the colony so everyone can chow down, and ultimately die. Yes, it is gross to see them crawling all over the trap in your cabinet, and yes, you will feel like you live in filthy home, but trust me, your patience will be rewarded.


This list is for making a small batch. For larger batches, adjust amounts accordingly, keeping the 3 to 1 ratio of sugar to Borax.

  • 1 Tablespoon Borax
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • Hot tap water
  • Pancake Syrup


In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar and Borax, mixing thoroughly with a fork or whisk to break up any clumps. Add just enough water and mix to form thick paste. Add enough syrup to thin the mixture slightly and make it spreadable. Spread a small amount of mixture on a plastic lid or paper plate and place in the area where you're seeing the ants. Allow three to five days (or longer depending on the severity of the problem) for the trap to do its job.

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