We've had a problem this year with ants in the house. We have had them once or twice in the kitchen and twice in the bathroom. I purchased the usual Terro brand ant killer and tried that, but it didn't seem to do the job. There was a ring of ants around the poison for weeks, with no sign of letting up. Out of frustration, I made my own, more powerful poison.

Looking on the label of my bottle of Terro, I noticed that there is only one active ingredient: borax. Terro ant bait is essentially a sugar solution with 5.4% borax. Well, borax is easy enough to get. I purchased a box of 20 Mule Team Borax from the grocery store. Mixing a spoonful of borax and a spoonful of sugar and adding a bit of water to make it liquidy gives you a 50% borax ant killer. Borax works, by the way, because ants mistake it for food. My home-made ant killer did the trick. The ants came out in force, but were nearly gone after a couple of days.

As an interesting exercise, let's see how much Terro ant killer we could make from a box of 20 Mule Team. You can buy a 76 oz box for $5.28 here. Well, 76/.054 = 1407, so you could make about that many ounces of Terro-strength poison, more or less.

You can buy 1.8 ounces of Terro product for $8.99 at their website.

Now 1407 x 8.99/1.8 comes out to around 7029. So that $5.28 box of Borax contains enough for around $7029 dollars worth of Terro ant traps. I like that margin!

Ok, you are paying for a lot of plastic, and convenience, but still that seems like Terro has a good thing going there. I'm sure Terro had to go through a lot of EPA hoops to get their product approved. That's probably a significant barrier to market entry. Don't expect to see Steve's Ant Killer
on your supermarket shelves soon.