Boric Acid vs Borax Flea Control
There are three primary types of borate based treatments. There is straight boric acid, soldium polyborate (Fleabuster Flea Powder), and Borax – more commonly known as 20 Mule Team Borax over the counter. Here are the details on each.
Boric Acid tends to be a course product in its pure form. The pH is around 6.3, which makes its acidic nature evident to insects. Invertebrates, including flea larvae, are frequently able to detect and avoid products which are either very acidic or high in alkalinity. The key with any flea treatment of this type is residual of the treatment. Please watch our helpful video demonstrating the difference between pure boric acid and Fleabuster Flea Powder.
Sodium Poly Borate, also known as Fleabuster Flea Powder, is a neutral pH with an extremely small particle size. When the product is milled, the powder develops an adhesive charge which assists the powder to adhere to carpet fibers. This adhesive quality is very important in that not only adheres the powder to flea larvae as they crawl through the carpets, but also to resist being removed by a vacuum. Here is our video demonstration of the physical difference between a pure boric acid product and Fleabuster Flea Powder.
Borax is manufactured by US Borax, and was at one time registered as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, the same product is no longer registered as an insecticide, and as such, is not legal to be distributed for use as an insecticide. That said, Borax has long been used by grandma and grandpa to control insects. While it is an effective product, there are a few very important reasons it is not appropriate for use to control fleas.
US Borax first registered sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax) as an insecticide in 1993, but that registration was short lived until 1995. The reason the product is not still registered as an insecticide will soon become obvious. When an insecticide is approved by EPA for use, distribution, or sale, each product is usually issued one of three signals words to notify the public as to the threats posed by the product. Those three signal words are CAUTION, WARNING, and DANGER.
CAUTION means the pesticide product is slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through
the skin, inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation
WARNING indicates the pesticide product is moderately toxic if eaten, absorbed
through the skin, inhaled, or it causes moderate eye or skin irritation. .
DANGER means that the pesticide product is highly toxic by at least one route of exposure. It may be corrosive, causing irreversible damage to the skin or eyes. Alternatively, it may be highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. If this
is the case, then the word “POISON” must also be included in red letters on the front panel of the product label. Pesticides with the signal word DANGER cannot be legally sold over the counter to consumers.
Many people will surprised to learn that Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate was issued a DANGER toxicity signal word by EPA because it is considered very corrosive and causes permanent ocular tissue damage. Suffice to say, this product should never be considered as a flea control method, despite what your grandma or one of the thousands of misinformed webmasters claims about its effectiveness or safety. Here is the label that was approved by EPA when the product was registered in 1993.