Get Rid of Ants, Mice, Flies, and Spiders Step by Step

  • 01 of 04

    Get Rid of Ants

    Photo courtesy of USDA/ARS
    1. Follow the trail. When you see ants in your home, watch the trail they follow. Because the ants are following a scent trail laid by the first ant to find food, placing bait in this area will ensure the ants find it.
    2. Use bait, not spray. The ants that you see are worker ants that are gathering food for the colony. If you spray these ants, the colony will simply send out more. Instead, place ant bait. The ants will take it back to the nest, feed the larvae, soldiers, and queen, eliminating the...MORE entire colony.
    3. Be Patient. It can take several days or even a few weeks to eliminate an entire colony, so you may still see ants for a while. Replace the bait station if needed; then, after you no longer see ants, thoroughly mop and clean the area to get rid of the ant’s odor trail.
    4. Spray outdoors. If the trail led to an outdoor nest in the ground, you can use a labeled insecticide spray (following all label directions) to kill the ants at the source.
    5. Keep ants away. Ants leave their nests in search of food and water, the harder you make it for them to find the crumbs, spills, and water drops they need, the less likely they are to invade your home. Sealing cracks and gaps can also help keep out not only ants, but all crawling and flying pests.

    When using any pesticide or chemical, always thoroughly read and follow all label directions.

    For more detail, read How to Get Rid of Ants.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Get Rid of Mice

    by George Shuklin
    1. Select your bait. One of the most attractive and effective baits for house mice is not cheese, but peanut butter. The peanut butter not only attracts the mice, it is more likely to cause a trap to snap because the mouse has to work harder to get it off. Other good attractants are bacon, sticky candies, nuts and dried food – but be sure they are well affixed to the trap to ensure it snaps!
    2. Set a trap. You can buy small traps at about any department, home or garden store and bait them with peanut...MORE butter, bacon, or other food. Whether open wooden or plastic traps or enclosed within a housing so you never have to see or touch the capture mouse, snap traps can be the most effective and least expensive way of getting rid of mice. You can also use wind-up traps, which use the rodent’s natural tendency to investigate and crawl into small holes; or glueboards, which traps the mouse on the glue when it tries to get the attractant or bait in the middle.
    3. Build it out. Mice can wiggle their way into surprisingly small holes, and an entire family or population of mice can be living and breeding behind the wall, in basement storage, garage clutter, or backyard mulch before you know they are there. So you could trap dozens of mice and still have a problem. Because of this, it is important to build out the mice --
    4. Use a rodenticide/Call a professional. Although there are some general-use rodenticides that can be purchased at home and garden stores, it is critical that they be used with the utmost care and all label directions be read thoroughly and precisely followed. Unless a rodent population is very high, it is generally recommended that homeowners use traps for control efforts, and call a pest control professional if rodenticide use is needed.

    For more information on any of the steps, read Get Rid of Rats and Mice

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Keep out House Flies

    Photo placed in public domain by Jon Sullivan -
    1. Whack it with a fly swatter. It’s not always the easiest thing to do (Find out why!) But if you have only one or two house flies in your home, it can be the most effective way to get rid of these. Sticky fly paper can also help to trap the periodic fly. Non-residual aerosol insecticides can kill flies they contact, and residual fly insecticides can be sprayed around doors and windows – follow all label directions when using any insecticide. None of these will provide long-term control, however,
    2. ...MOREGet rid of the attractants. If there are more than a couple flies, or you are constantly having issues, you need to determine what is attracting the flies and get rid of it.
      • Indoors. Spills, drips, or leaks left untended; fruits or other foods left out on a countertop or table; pet foods or water – or just about any other unsanitary area in which the flies can feed and breed.
      • Outdoors. Dirty trash areas or unlidded containers; dog feces left in the yard; accumulated rain water or organic material – or, again, just about any other matter on which flies will feed and breed.
    3. Keep flies out. Flies originate and breed outdoors, then fly inside through openings in search of food and water. Eliminate openings by keeping doors and windows in good repair and closed when not in use; seal gaps and cracks, such as areas around vents; plug weep holes with nylon or small-holed screening.

    For more information on Fly Control, see Indoor Control of House Flies and Outdoor House Fly Control.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Keep Spiders Away

    Photo by Dr_Lee_Ostrom


    1. Store firewood away from the house and check wood before bringing it in to prevent hitchhiking spiders or other pests from getting a free ride. Use wood immediately to kill any that do.
    2. Seal or repair any cracks or gaps in the structure of the house, especially around the foundation, doors and windows.
    3. Use yellow, high-pressure, sodium-vapor or halogen lighting outdoors, as white lights will attract the bugs that attract the spiders.


    1. Vacuum and sweep corners, closets, basements etc....MORE to get rid of webs and discourage the building of new ones.
    2. Kill spiders the old-fashioned way – with a fly swatter! Then destroy and discard the web – along with any eggs sacs it may have left behind.
    3. Reduce clutter and piles of papers, boxes, and bags where spiders harbor.

    Read more about keeping spiders away at Get Rid of Spiders in Your Home.