The tiniest pests sometimes create the biggest annoyances for homeowners.

The tiniest pests sometimes create the biggest annoyances for homeowners.

Sugar ants, also known as odorous house ants, are common home invaders, pest-control experts said.

Sugar ants can be about one-eighth inch long or smaller and are attracted to food. Moisture ants are larger than sugar ants, about one-sixteenth inch long, and usually show up when there is excess water in a room.

When ants arrive in homes, they prove their reputation for being industrious. They can seem to come from nowhere and might be a challenge to eliminate.

The good news is that an infestation is a nuisance but rarely poses any harm. However, most of us prefer that ants and other insects make their homes outside.

If you want to try to deal with ants on your own, here are some things to try.

• Apply bait or insect sprays to the areas where you see ants, following all cautions on the box or can. To prevent more ants from entering your home, spray the exterior area where the house meets the pavement or ground.

• Spray cracks around baseboards in the affected area inside the home. For ants in the bathroom, spray around the base of the toilet.

• If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals, spray a combination of Windex, vinegar and water to remove visible ants and the chemical trail they lay down for others to follow. To kill ants without harsh chemicals, spread powdered diatomaceous earth (a naturally occurring sedimentary rock) on affected carpeted areas; ants will die after eating the abrasive substance.

Be aware that do-it-yourself efforts might not eliminate the problem.

The nest, where the queen lays eggs, might be unaffected. In addition, sugar ants might have more than one queen.

If your efforts don’t work within about a week, call a well-reviewed pest-control expert.

A pro has access to transfer insecticides, which are effective in eliminating sugar ant colonies because each ant that makes contact with the insecticide spreads it to every ant with which it comes into contact.

A professional solution can range from less than $200 to about $1,000, depending on the extent of the problem. You might find value in arranging for regular inspections rather than waiting for a problem.

Before you hire a company, be aware that in many states and jurisdictions, exterminators must be licensed. They might also be required to hold a license to use certain pesticides or chemicals. Make sure also that the company you hire is appropriately insured and bonded.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List,

a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care.