acid is a mineral
usually exists as a salt called borate.
Borate is a mineral mined from the earth and a
single company, Rio Tinto Borax, mines about 30% of
the world's supply of borates from mines near Death
Valley National Park in the southwestern US. Borates
have many industrial uses, in addition to natural
pesticides and wood preservatives. The full chemical
name of one form of borate is disodium octaborate
tetrahydrate, or orthoborate.
acid is poisonous to insects
Unlike many insecticides that work on contact, boric acid must
be consumed to be effective. While it is a relatively safe compound for humans and
other animals, boric acid is highly toxic to insects. The mode of action
in insects is not completely understood, however.
Insects typically ingest boric acid when they groom themselves, or during
feeding. If borate powder is used, insects pick up the fine particles when they walk
through it. They ingest the particles when they later groom legs and antennae.
They can also ingest the toxin directly when it is applied to food sources or in