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The moment you see a creepy-crawly scurry across the kitchen floor, your first instinct is probably to reach for bug repellent spray or start ordering bait stations online. For a few isolated bugs or rodents, this may solve the problem. However, for established and severe infestations, more drastic measures may be needed.
Pests are called pests for a reason: they’re good at hiding and often resistant to quick control measures, making them difficult to eradicate. To get a pest-free home, you’ll often need to call in professional help from companies like Terminix, Orkin, Aptive and Bulwark.
When you need to hire a professional pest control provider, cost shouldn’t be the only factor you consider, since you’ll often get what you pay for. In this guide, we’ll answer some common questions about the pest control process, outline average prices and recommend the best nationwide pest control companies to help rid your home of unwanted insects, rodents, spiders and more.
Pest Control vs. Exterminator
Although many people use the terms “pest control” and “extermination” interchangeably, there is a difference. Exterminators do only one thing: kill unwanted pests, often with traps or poison.
Pest control actually encompasses a wider set of services. Extermination is often one part of the process, but pest control service also includes things like prevention strategies and environmentally-conscious solutions. The end goal is the same—ridding your home of pests—but the strategies of pest management and control aim for a long-term solution that keeps the problem from coming back.
Factors in Calculating Pest Control Costs
Not all pest control prices are the same. Costs will vary by geographic location, type of pest, severity of infestation and frequency of service, among other things. If you live somewhere in which the average cost of living is high, exterminator costs will also be high. Additionally, if you live somewhere that is difficult to access or is experiencing severe or seasonal pest problems, you’ll probably have to pay a bit more.
Since some pests are harder to treat than others, the specifics of what you’re dealing with will also factor into the price you pay. For example, termites and bed bugs are notoriously difficult to treat because they’re so adept at hiding in out-of-the-way places in the home. Similarly, if the pest infestation is particularly severe or deeply-rooted, it will usually take longer and cost more to remove. Unfortunately, using less toxic or more environmentally-friendly products can also incur higher costs.
Finally, the more frequently you request service, the lower the cost will be. Routinely scheduled pest control visits (quarterly visits, for example) will usually cost less than the initial visit to remove a current infestation since there will be less work to do on a previously-treated residence. However, rush or emergency visits will be a lot pricier, particularly if the company offers same-day service.
Average Cost of Pest Control
Typically, a pest control company will need to perform an inspection of your home in order to provide an accurate estimate for the particular problem you’re dealing with. However, we can provide you with some national averages and typical price ranges to help you plan your budget. Often, the inspection is free unless you’re dealing with termites.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average price range for a single visit to eliminate a specific pest is typically between $300 and $500. This cost is substantially higher than regular maintenance visits because the provider will need to identify the problem, plan a solution and apply treatment all at once. However, if you need repeated treatments or choose a yearly plan, the initial treatment will cost less, usually between $150 and $300.
If you sign up for regular visits, the national average for monthly or semi-monthly pest control is about $40 to $70 per visit. Quarterly pest control is a little pricier at $100 to $300 per treatment. Annual pest control treatments are priced similarly to a one-time visit at $300 to $500. However, your plan may come with low-cost or complementary follow-up visits between treatments if the problem resurfaces between treatments.
Here are some price ranges for common household pests:
|Termite||$1,000–$3,000+ ($145 inspection)|
|Wood boring beetles||$1,500–$5,000|
Most pest management can be accomplished without the need for whole-house fumigation, which is the most extensive and expensive type of treatment. Fumigation typically costs between $2,000 and $8,000.
When to Call a Professional Pest Control Company
Even the most DIY-oriented homeowners need to know when it’s time to call in the professionals. If you’ve tried treating the problem yourself and it hasn’t worked or the pests have come back, you’re better off asking for help.
Pests that can spread disease, harm humans or pets or cause expensive structural damage are best addressed by experts. For example, termite treatment is undoubtedly expensive, but that’s because termites can burrow deeply into a structure and cause extensive damage. You don’t want to put your investment in your home or your safety at risk by being too proud to call in a professional.
Our Top Picks for Pest Control
You can certainly go with a local pest control company if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. However, nationwide providers have advantages. They usually have more technicians available, which means they’re more likely to be able to work with your schedule. These technicians often have to meet certain high levels of training and certification.
For the best pest control services across the country, we recommend the following providers:
As the first U.S. company to receive a termite control patent back in 1932, Terminix is an established name in pest control. The company has more than 2 million customers in over 300 locations across the country, making it one of the largest such businesses in North America. As a Terminix customer, you’ll receive the company’s Ultimate Protection Guarantee. For a free quote, fill out this quick form or call (866) 569-4035.
Another well-established nationwide pest control company, Orkin prides itself on the high level of ongoing training it provides to its technicians. Its treatment plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as a guarantee of off-schedule return visits if you need them. With more than 120 years in business, Orkin has the industry experience to help protect your home. Call (877) 544-4104 or fill out this easy form to receive a free estimate.
Although it’s only been in business since 2015, Aptive has already made a name for itself as an environmentally-conscious pest control provider. The company offers its Four Seasons plan, a five-visit annual package, in 33 states.
Bulwark Pest Control doesn’t have quite the same name recognition or national reach as Terminix and Orkin, but it is available in many major urban centers around the country. The company proudly announces that its pest control products are “less toxic than toothpaste,” meaning they’re safe for you, your pets and the environment.
With a high Better Business Bureau rating and satisfied customer reviews, Bulwark is an excellent choice for pest control. Fill out a quick form or call (844) 567-2094 to learn about the company’s rates and plans.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pest Control
Is professional pest control worth it?
Ultimately, the answer will depend on your situation and budget. There are a few instances where you might be able to get rid of the problem yourself, if you have a small infestation and you have the time to dedicate to it.
However, for extensive infestations, it’s usually better to call in a professional as soon as possible. Professional technicians have the training, experience and equipment to do the job quicker and more thoroughly than most homeowners. They’ll also be able to guide you through some prevention strategies to keep the problem from coming back. This will often save you money in the long run.
What is integrated pest management?
Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a holistic strategy for keeping pests out of your home without putting the local ecosystem at risk. It’s about more than just environmentally-friendly pesticides. Providers who specialize in IPM know how to balance the risks and benefits of various treatment options specifically for your home environment to achieve the best results with the least harm.
For example, this strategy might use ultrasonic repellents or pest-resistant plants as a prevention technique, keeping pests away from your home’s entry points without toxic chemicals. However, if artificial pesticides are necessary, they can be used strategically.
How long does pest control last?
This will depend on the type of pests and the control strategies used. Traps or pesticides might kill off an infestation in a few weeks but require regular maintenance visits to keep the pests out. In general, however, insecticide treatments tend to keep killing pests for about six weeks and will keep them away for 60–90 days. However, a good, thorough termite mitigation can often control the problem for at least five years.