DIY pest control with products such as boric acid, ant traps, “roach motels”, or any number of commercially available sprays like Raid, Black Flag, or Ortho. Some of these can be effective when the pests are first noticed, such as when you first spot a small hornet’s nest. In other cases, such as combatting ant or roach infestations, all they can do is hold the line. They don’t take the battle back to the pests’ lairs.
The average cost to hire an insect control service averages between $209 and $378 depending on the problem. Hiring a professional is the best way to rid your home of pests, not just convince them to stay out of your sight. If you are concerned about the cost of calling in a pro to take care of your pest problem, here are a few things to consider.
Some insects are wood-boring. They can damage your house’s structure and cost you tens of thousands of dollars in repair, or can make your home structurally unlivable.
Stinging and biting insects can range from merely painful when they attack to literally deadly.
Compare the best pest control companies using expert ratings and consumer reviews in the official ConsumerAffairs buyers guide. Many household pests carry diseases such as salmonella (cockroaches) and Hantavirus (mice and rats).
Even an insect as relatively harmless as a pincher bug will leave eggs and feces in your food.
While you may know enough to avoid dangerous insects like black widows, scorpions, or fire ants, your children and pets may not.
These are just some of the reasons to call a professional exterminator. Not only can they save you money, they can possibly save your home and your life!
One-Time Removal or Contract Services
If you have never had an insect problem in your home before and very suddenly you start to see the signs, you may be able to call in the professionals for a one-time extermination. However, if you start to notice that you have an ongoing insect problem, you may opt to hire an exterminator on a contract basis.
In these cases, you would pay a monthly, or sometimes quarterly fee for the pro to come to your home on a scheduled basis to stop any type of insect infestation before it begins…or begins again! You may pay more for a contract over the years, but if it keeps the pests away permanently it is well worth the cost.
The cost of a service depends on certain factors: the frequency of the visit, the size of the home, and the type of pest(s) causing the problem.
Pest Control Frequency of the Visit
Some exterminators liken their task to house cleaning: the longer you go between cleanings, the harder it is to get the job done. For this reason, exterminators will often have a higher-cost initial visit followed by cheaper maintenance visits.
When researching prices it’s important to learn if the estimates are for an initial visit, a one-time visit only, or a regular monthly, semi-monthly, or quarterly visit.
Pest control One-Time
The typical one-time cost for pest control is around $200.00 to $450.00. This cost is higher than most listed averages because it is a one-time visit only. In these cases, there is usually a lot of work to be done including assessment of the infestation, finding the lair, and identifying entry points into your home.
Pest control Initial
The typical initial visit ballparks around $120.00 to $285.00. This cost is for the assessment, finding the nest, and identifying entry points as well as an agreement to periodic visits, usually ensured via contract. Some contracts, such as quarterly contracts, may include a stipulation that if you have a problem between visits, then interim treatments will be provided for free. Be sure to ask about such a situation.
Periodic visits can be monthly, semi-monthly (every two months), or quarterly (every three months).
Monthly: Average $40.00 to $45.00
Quarterly: Average $100.00 to $300.00
Two factors that can increase these costs are the size of your property and the level of infestation. The costs above are for a typical 1,200 square foot house. Additional square footage can add to the cost, but usually not by much. Some exterminators charge an extra $45.00 per 1,000 square feet over 1,200. However, a large or more entrenched infestation will add to the cost by varying degrees such as the type of pest and how bad the damage is. Be sure to discuss this up front at the inspection.
Pests Require Ongoing pest control Treatment?
Raccoons and squirrels, for example, can be handled by removing food sources and blocking access to where they’ve been nesting. Some ant issues can be handled by trimming tree branches and other house-access “highways” that they and other pests use. Bees can often be removed (sometimes for free) by a beekeeper who relocates the queen, and thus the hive, to his own inventory of bees. Sometimes it’s a one-off problem, such as a snake that has wandered onto your property and into your walls or crawlspace.
Other pests keep coming back. Roaches, spiders, termites, ticks, mice, rats, fleas, and ants are the most common pests that won’t take “no” for an answer. Your house is a very attractive food source and nesting area. Even if you take precautions and keep things spotlessly clean, they can still be there. They may come out at night seeking anything you might have left behind, eventually wandering farther and farther into your home.
Regular maintenance is the best way to handle these problems. Whether you choose monthly visits, semi-monthly visits, or quarterly visits should depend on how bad the problem is.
Climate can also influence the type and severity of your problem. Warm, dry areas can see severe problems as pests seek shade and cooler places to live. Warm, humid areas can attract wood-boring insects that initially feast on wet or moldy wood but quickly start attacking good, dry wood. In cold climates, wet or dry, insects such as the earwig, roach, and even the normally beneficial ladybug will seek out the warmth of your home. Even wasps will leave their larvae to die in paper nests while they take up residence in attics and other relatively warm places.
Unless you live in a temperate area with little weather variation, you should consider regular visits from an exterminator.
Type of Pests
The first step to pest control is to identify the type of pest you have. Some pests come around due to other pests, so don’t assume that because you caught one mouse that mice are your only problem. For example, if you have a wolf-spider problem, you may also have a problem with their common prey, cockroaches.
Pests found in American homes are:
Ants (especially the destructive carpenter ant)
Centipedes (if you are allergic to bee stings, you are probably allergic to centipede bites as well)
Crickets (more noisy than anything, they can still leave feces)
Silverfish (though not poisonous, they can do severe damage to fabrics, books, and other such materials)
Spiders (many spiders eat insects and avoid people, but their webs can trap a lot of dust and allergens)
Pests are directly poisonous or can simply bring disease through parasites or feces, the fact is that they do not belong in your home. They are dangerous to your health and destructive to your home. In some cases, they can drive up your cost of living. Raccoons, for example, will tear up your crawl space insulation to make their nests.
Getting rid of pests in commercial business and homes
It is much easier, faster and cheaper to get rid of any pest by catching it before it has had time to reproduce. Unfortunately, by the time you’ve seen the first one, it’s usually too late for that.
Once any insect has had time to lay its eggs, form colonies, and grow, it will have become a serious problem. Some people accept that insects will be seen from time to time and don’t take any steps at the first sight. They don’t call an exterminator until after it has become a serious problem. This is the most expensive way to handle it and gives the pests more than enough time to do serious damage.
How many pests do you have? Probably more than you realize. Here are the reproduction rates of two of the most common pests you will encounter, mice and roaches:
Mice – A single female produces 5 to 10 litters per year. These litters consist of 5 to 6 young which are able to reproduce after a mere 30 days. So one month after giving birth, that 5 to 6 mice can become 2 to 70 mice. Now multiply that by one year and you get 100 to 1000 mice!
Roaches – A female cockroach can produce 4 to 8 egg capsules in her lifetime. Each capsule can have 20 to 78 eggs in it for a reproduction rate of 120 to 384 eggs in a typical life span of 1 year. A roach reaches maturity in 30 to 225 days depending on temperature so in a little over a month you might see an increase of almost 3,500 roaches, or 10,000 in a year!
Regular visits from your exterminator are a must. The program for this is one of control and maintenance because total removal is a near-impossibility.
Damage Caused By Pests
You might think that you are saving money by not hiring a professional to take care of your pest or insect problem. In one sense you are. After all, the cost of one can of bug spray or a few mousetraps is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of an exterminator.
But the problem with insects which is often overlooked is the damage they do inside your home and the cost of repairing that damage. Insects can eat through your clothing, lay their eggs throughout your home and in the case of termites, cause structural damage to your house. They often spread germs and bacteria that can make you or your family sick. In the long run it is generally less expensive to take care of the insect problem as soon as possible than to wait and fix the damage later on.
The more common pests and what kind of damage they can do if left to their own devices:
Mice – Mice can cause untold amounts of damage to your food. As well as eating it, their fecal material often finds its way into your grains and cereals. Like rats, mice leave a urine scent-trail everywhere they go. Many diseases are brought in by mice and rats such as salmonella, rabies, foot-and-mouth, and Hantavirus. They contaminate everything by leaving hairs as well as bodily waste, and where you have mice and rats, you have fleas. Mice also chew the insulation off of your electrical wiring. It is believed that 25% of all fires with an unknown origin were caused by mice and rats chewing on electrical insulation. The damage can range from a few dollars to replace your contaminated food to hundreds of thousands of dollars as your house burns, taking your worldly possessions with it.
Carpenter Ants – Carpenter ants leave damage that the untrained eye can easily mistake for termites. To tell the difference, look at the tunnels, or “galleries”. A carpenter ant will leave a smooth, almost sanded appearance, while a termite’s gallery will be packed with mud-like substances and will be rough. Carpenter ants do not necessarily “eat” the wood, but they will carve away at damp wood and will grow and farm molds and other fungus for food. These galleries can significantly weaken the structure they are bored into. Once the structure has been weakened, a heavy snowfall, high winds, or other outside stress can cause the structure to collapse. These small insects can do thousands of dollars of damage, usually in the $2,000.00 to $17,000.00 range.
Termites – Unlike carpenter ants, termites actually eat the wood. Like carpenter ants, termites can cause catastrophic amounts of damage. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion of damage each year. Keep your eyes open in early Spring for termite swarms. If you see them on your property, call an exterminator quickly. Otherwise you could be paying up to tens of thousands of dollars for repairs.
Many people have had the experience of swatting a bug off of themselves but not seeing where it went and not being sure they got it. For quite a while, every little tickle will feel like the insect still crawling on them. Now imagine having that sensation for the rest of your life. People who have had to live in heavily infested homes often mistake small sensations for insects and may never feel that a room is clean enough. While this may sound minor, it is a heavy burden for those who live with it and can blossom into a full-blown phobia.