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Just the Facts: How Much an Exterminator (PCO) Costs & What They’ll Do

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Well, you’ve decided to call an exterminator or pest control operator because you have a serious pest problem.

Perhaps it’s a bed bug invasion. Are you waking up covered with bed bug bites each morning?

Or maybe you’ve uncovered a termite infestation. (Not a good thing, since termites are a real threat and eradicating them will be time-consuming and expensive.)

Possibly your house has fallen to an ant or even roaches!

Whatever the nature of the problem, it’s probably time to call an exterminator (AKA “pest control professional” as they call it in the industry). So, what can you expect when you turn to the pros for help?

bed bug exterminator cost by Sterifab bed bug spray

What to Expect When an Exterminator Comes

Whether your pest specialist comes from a local business or from one of those nation-wide operations, the representative should be professional, first and last. Above all they should be courteous, well-informed, and happy to answer all of your questions (however silly you may think they are).

In fact, this is the best time to ask questions or raise any concerns you might have. Of course, some questions can only be asked once the EXTERMINATOR has performed the examination of your property.

Oh yes, and be prepared for the fact that your home may be a refuge for more than one pest. You may be lucky (relatively speaking) if you only have one ‘invader’ to deal with, but don’t be surprised if there are other uninvited guests.

The Inspection: How an Exterminator Will Estimate Costs

A good pest control specialist will be thorough in their inspection of your property. Note: Beware the ‘expert’ who gives your home a cursory look, then proceeds to detail the enormous number of pests you have to eliminate. This is irresponsible, at the very least, and at worst, it’s a scam. So be alert.

In addition to checking all of the indoor spaces in your house—for instance, the basement (for termites), the attic (for squirrels) and all the other places pests can hide ̶—no inspection would be complete without a meticulous inspection of possible entry points on the outside of your house. These should include, but not be restricted to, windows, doors, piping, garages, guttering, sliding doors, as well as attics, crawlspaces and cracks in masonry and gaps in siding or roofing tiles.

Some pests, including bed bugs, scabies fleas and ticks, will hitch a ride on pets or people, but many others use the entry points just listed. Just be patient, because a thorough inspection takes time. And, by the way, that includes checking your yard (and the larger property, if you’re lucky enough to have the acreage) for excessive moisture spots, which most insects love.

(Learn more about how to tell if you have bed bugs or scabies.)

Pest Control Methods

Now you need a ‘battle plan.’ And that’s exactly what an exterminator should offer. It should be clear, logical and affordable. Again, patience is needed here, since not all pests can be exterminated in one session and it may take several visits from the pest control experts.

Once your exterminator comes up with a plan, they’ll let you know how they plan to get rid of your fleas, ticks or roaches. The plan should include a list of the pest (or pests) that have been detected, and a complete description of the proposed pest eradication steps to be taken.

Your exterminator should explain to you̶ exactly, and in detail̶— what those ‘steps’ entail and the kinds of chemicals (if any) that will be used.

Generally speaking, pest control methods fall into one of four categories:

1. Organic

Some of you may opt not to use chemicals for ecological reasons, especially since

these substances can affect animals and insects other than those on your

exterminator’s target list. You may also be concerned about the effect that some

chemicals can have on pets, children, even house plants! Your exterminator should

be prepared for this and may suggest using either baits and/or traps. The choice is


2. Chemical

Eco concerns notwithstanding, you should be aware that organic treatments may

not yield the desired results. In fact, depending on the pest(s) you want to

eradicate, chemical pest control may be the most effective way of achieving your aims. However, be assured that there are many, many chemically-based products (liquid, aerosol or solid) that can be used quite safely, provided the instructions for

use are carefully followed.

Learn more about the safe handling of pesticides.

3. Biological

Biological control is just what its name suggests: one, or more, organisms (animal,

plant, virus, et al) are used to control a particular sector of the pest population.

While its proponents claim that chemical-free nature is both effective and

beneficial, some insect populations do not yield to such approaches. Again, discuss

this with your exterminator.

4. Electronic

Advances in technology have now made it possible to deploy new approaches to

pest control. These include electromagnetic and ultrasonic devices that purport to

deter rodents and insects. However, they are not 100% effective; but then, nothing


What an Exterminator Costs

As you can probably imagine, your costs will depend on a number of factors, including the type of pest, or pests, you have to deal with; the size, or square footage of your house; and, of course, where you're located in the country.