When ants invade, try these tips to send them packing and ensure your home stays critter-free.

By Andra Chantim
Updated March 10, 2014
Peter Oumanski

“I’ve got ants! They’ve been sprayed and still won’t leave.”

Susan Fehrman Garcia, via Facebook

The fix: If you’ve caulked gaps in the windows and doors and moved all pantry food into plastic containers, then it’s time to scatter outdoor bait around the house perimeter, says Sonja Swiger, Ph.D., an entomologist at the Texas A & M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, in Stephenville. (Make sure that it’s labeled “pet-safe.”) Different products target different ants, so find out which kind of ant is visiting. Go to extension.org, click on “Ask an Expert,” then “Ask a Question,” and describe the ants. An entomologist will name the bug or refer you to another expert. (You can view common ant varieties at pestworld.org/pest-guide/ants.) After the bait is set, the ants will bring it to their queen, who will eat it and die, preventing the colony from reproducing.

Have a disaster that needs solving? Share your problem at realsimple.com/nowwhat, or tweet it to @RealSimple, and be sure to include the hashtag #nowwhatRS.