Advantages of Using Boric Acid Powder for Cockroach Control

This non-repellent product is praised by pest management professionals for its ease of use and cockroaches’ lack of resistance to it.

December 21, 2020

Boric acid is commonly used in detergents, fertilizers and hand soaps. It is also used as an eye wash, and is found in apples, bananas, nuts and even beer. But one of the major uses of boric acid is for control of cockroaches.
When cockroaches come into contact with boric acid powder or dust it clings to them. Later when they clean themselves, they ingest it and it acts as an insecticide. Ants and mice are other pests affected by the toxicity of boric acid.

The Mallis Handbook of Pest Control asserts that the use of boric acid helps facilitate “pest exclusion zones” within a home or facility because it is highly efficacious and assists greatly in that approach of pest control.

NO RESISTANCE & NON-REPELLENT. Many pest management professionals have experience working with boric acid because, as Mallis states, “there is no known resistance” to it despite use for several decades. Thus, the major advantage is its effectiveness.

In addition, boric acid is known as a non-repellent solution, so cockroaches will not avoid areas where technicians treat. Instead, they will likely come across the boric acid if properly applied.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the first tool out of the toolbox for every technician. Some use boric acid as a primarily preventive treatment. “I don’t think dust will fix the initial problem of an infestation but it’s a way to keep it from happening in the first place,” said Lisa Botts, owner of Peacock Pest Prevention.
TREATMENT APPLICATION TIPS FROM PMPs. What follows are some hands-on tips from PMPs using boric acid for cockroach control.

Don’t Over Apply (via Nancy Boerema – Firefly Enlightened Pest Solutions, Ore.). Don’t over apply when using a dust. You want the dust to adhere to the cockroach’s body, so they carry it back to other cockroaches. They groom themselves and the roach will ingest the boric acid. Bait and dust also will be spread into the colony, thus reducing and eliminating the population. Follow-up services should be scheduled as part of your roach protocol and program.

Can Use with Water (via Chad Highley – Environmental Pest Control, Okla.) Boric acid products work well in a variety of application methods because they are not repellent. Most products can be used as a dust for cracks, crevices and voids but can also leave behind a powdery residual when applied with a water carrier that can either be sprayed on or applied with a paint brush. This helps the product to stay on vertical and the undersides of surfaces.

Tailor Treatments to Customers (via Patrick Boland, Scherzinger Pest Control, Ohio.) Use boric acid-based products in situations where the customer is unable or unwilling to correct sanitation issues.  Use as a liquid or foam and allows you to broadcast indoors where most liquid formulations do not allow this application.

Rotate Products (via Crystal Rizzo, Crystal Pest Contro, North Carolina.) There is a satisfaction knowing that when I leave there that day there will be 75-85 percent of the roach infestation already gone and knowing that the baits I put out after will take care of the rest. As we know cockroaches will build a tolerance to baits and liquids, so for continuing services it necessary to switch up products even so often. Cockroach control is one of my favorite services!

Maintain Using Boric Acid (via Doug Morgan, Dixie Pest Elimination, Fla.) Using boric acid as a maintenance product after the account has come under control is a great tool that does not require much product. Applying into wall voids is always preferable and a good hand-held B&G duster is my favorite tool to apply dust with.

Use it Long-Term (via Joe Cantu, The Bug Master, Texas.) Boric acid powder is a very long-term use product and very resilient under extreme circumstances. Apply in cracks and crevices, electrical boxes, pipe chases, voids, etc.