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?
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
As for the types of pest you are trying to eliminate, it should come as no surprise that eradicating ants is significantly less expensive than, say, getting rid of termites. The latter will probably require costly fumigation methods and you may be forced to vacate your house for a number of days, depending on the extent of the infestation.
Research indicates that the national average cost of a visit from an exterminator is about $173, but can vary anywhere from a low of $108 to a high of $262. But remember, these are calculated average costs.
In fact, typical one-time cost for a visit from a reputable pest control company runs between $300.00 to $550.00. The higher cost is due, paradoxically, to the fact that this would be a single visit, which entail an appraisal of the infestation, identifying entry points into your home, then eradicating the nest (or nests) involved.
If it looks like you’ll need periodic visits from your exterminator (not at all unusual) the initial visit should cost between $180.00 and $185.00. This includes the assessment, finding the nest(s), and pinpointing entry points, plus a contract for periodic visits. Those visits could be quarterly, but most reputable exterminators also provide for additional visits, should you encounter unexpected problems. Again, this is usually included in the contract, but best to be sure by consulting your exterminator.
These periodic visits usually cost an average of $40 to $50 per month; $50 to $60 for semi-monthly calls; and anywhere from $100 to $300 for quarterly appointments.
It’s worth keeping in mind that these costs are for typical houses, which average around 1,500 square foot. If it’s more than that, an exterminator will probably charge more. You can figure an extra $25.00 per 1,000 square feet over 1,500.
But again, discuss this before any work is done.
One final point: Nothing is forever. And by that, I mean that however successfully your pest management company accomplishes its eradication efforts, insects and rodents cannot be kept at bay forever. In fact, a dependable exterminator will tell you that up-front - not to guarantee future work, but to make sure you understand what you’re paying for and how effective it will be.
Part of that process should include your exterminator explaining how you can lessen the impact of future pest ‘invasion’. As I said, nothing is forever, but there are a number of steps you can take to prevent bed bugs.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Your Own
Of course, you can also try and get rid of bugs on your own!
And Sterifab spray makes for a safe, affordable option.
Sterifab is used by the pros in hospitals, nursing homes and on public transit systems across the country.
Why? Because it’s a highly effective way to kill bed bugs, ticks, fleas, mites, roaches and a wide variety of other pests. And: It is easy to use, won’t stain, and has no added perfume or unpleasant odour. Plus, it’s fast drying and does not harm fabrics or carpets.
Give Sterifab a Try!
(You’ll be impressed)