Pest Control & Exterminator Services Guide

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Household pests might be small, but they can lead to major problems in your home or yard. From carpenter ants to termites to rodents, pest problems can quickly get out of hand. Know when you need to call for professional pest control, and learn how to find the best pest control service in your area.

Common pests to watch for in your home or yard

Insects and rodents are part of the natural ecosystem in your neck of the woods, but that doesn't mean you want to share your space with them. Besides, many pests are known for causing damage to your home or transmitting diseases. Keep an eye out for some of the most common household pests in your home.


These nocturnal insects feed on blood and can spread throughout your home quickly. Since they're difficult to locate and contain, eliminating them can be frustrating. Call for professional assistance so your family can rest easy.


These tiny insects can enter just about anywhere, and carpenter ants eat through wood as they build nests. They live in massive colonies that are difficult to control with DIY methods, so call a professional to remove them for good.


These large insects can cause a variety of problems in your home, from contaminating the food stored in your kitchen to spreading diseases to aggravating asthma. Since they reproduce quickly, you'll want to eliminate them as quickly as possible.


These fast-moving insects can wreak havoc on paper and fabric, which can mean disaster for clothing, upholstery, and books. Their nests can be difficult to find, so you may need professional assistance to eliminate them.


These silent insects won't injure you, but they can cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to your home. If you notice damage to wood surfaces in your home or if you see wings, take action immediately to save yourself significant expense and hassle.


Mice, rats, and raccoons can contaminate your food, damage wires and other parts of your home, and spread diseases. Rodent droppings are often the first sign that you have an infestation on your hands, so if you see them take care of the problem immediately.

Other Pests:

  • Bats
  • Bees
  • Birds
  • Fleas & Ticks
  • Gophers
  • Ground Hogs
  • Mice
  • Mosquitos
  • Racoons
  • Skunks
  • Spiders
  • Stinging Insects

How to Avoid Pest Infestations

With a few simple steps, many homeowners can avoid pest infestations in the first place. A little prevention goes a long way so follow these tips to keep those pests at bay.

Keep It Clean

Do your part to deter pests by keeping your home as clean as possible, especially where food is concerned. Sweep and wipe up crumbs and spills so that pests won't be attracted to any post-meal messes. Keep all food sealed so that it doesn't attract pests in the first place.

Ideally, cleaning up spills and other temptations will cause pests to look elsewhere for food. If they've already made themselves at home in your house, however, they might not go far. If you're still seeing evidence of pests after you've taken precautions to keep them out, call a pest control expert for a more advanced solution.

Dry It Out

Along with food, moisture is one of the biggest draws for pests. Insects and rodents are attracted to leaky pipes, standing water, and moist crawlspaces. Start addressing these issues on your own by repairing leaks, redirecting water away from your home, and covering containers of standing water.

If your home continues to attract pests, don't hesitate to call experienced pest control professionals. Not only will professionals be able to identify the source of the problem, but they can also stop pests in their tracks by applying additional deterrents as necessary.

Seal It Up

Most pests are constantly seeking comfortable places to set up shop. You can keep many types of pests out by sealing cracks around doors, windows, and your home's foundation. Pay special attention to the areas where pipes or cables enter your home, and make sure they're sealed, too.

While sealing potential entrance points is a smart way to prevent pests from invading your home to begin with, that doesn't always solve the problem if they've already built nests indoors. If you notice a serious pest invasion or you suspect substantial damage to your home, you need professional pest control services.

Standard Costs for Pest Control Services

When you call a pest control company, you'll quickly find that there's no one-size fits all solution. Fortunately, whether you need an intensive one-time eradication or a series of visits over time, you should be able to find a service to fit your needs and your budget.

One-Time Extermination

If you suddenly see evidence of pests after years of not encountering a single insect or rodent, a one-time extermination might be all that you need to keep things under control. This option can also be ideal for bedbugs and similar outbreaks.

Keep in mind that one-time sessions tend to be pricey, since they include everything from initial assessment to pest location to treatment, all in one fell swoop. Depending on your location, one-time extermination service costs between $300 and $550.

Periodic Pest Control

Many homeowners opt for periodic or ongoing pest control as an important part of their standard home maintenance routine. When you first hire a pest control company, you'll typically need to pay for an initial visit. This enables the pest control professional to assess your home, identify entry points, and note issues or conditions that might contribute to pest problems. For an initial visit, you can typically expect to pay $175.

After the initial visit, pest control companies can service your home at regular intervals. Find a company that offers the service frequency that works best for your home.

Monthly: For pest control service every month, expect to pay an average of $40.

Bimonthly: For service every other month, you'll pay between $50 and $60.

Quarterly: For service every three months, you'll pay between $100 and $300.

Additional Factors

Pest control isn't always a straightforward process. The type and severity of the problem, the condition of your home, and even where you live can all affect the overall cost of professional pest control.

Follow Up Visits: The last thing you want is to have to pay extra when problems arise between visits. Know whether follow-up visits are included in the base service price, and understand how long the follow-up period lasts.

Climate: Talk with your pest control expert about taking additional precautions to prevent seasonal infestations. This may be included in your periodic service, or it may come at an additional charge.

Damage: If your home has already been affected by pest infestations, you may need to address structural damage before pest control services will truly benefit your home. Even if your pest control company doesn't repair damage directly, it may be able to recommend specific repairs and highly regarded companies to do the job.

How to Hire the Best Pest Control Company

Discovering pests in your home can be alarming, and you might be tempted to address the situation as quickly as possible. As with many home services, however, making a rushed decision can cost you. Rather than rushing to hire a pest control company, take the time to consider your options.

The best pest control companies offer a balance between quality and value. The cheapest service might not adequately resolve a dangerous infestation, while the most expensive company might include services and features you don't need. Experienced companies can also easily answer questions about infestations and treatment, and they can advise you about the best type of contract to meet your needs.

To assess how well a pest company can resolve the issues in your home, call around and get estimates. Try to obtain information and estimates from three different pest control companies in your area so you can properly weigh the costs and benefits against each other before making an informed choice.

What to Ask a Professional Pest Control Service

Before hiring a pest control company, ask a few key questions. This will help ensure that you make the best decision for your home and your family.

How long have you been in business? New companies might provide excellent service, but they're harder to track. Contact the Better Business Bureau or your state's Department of Agriculture to confirm that no one has filed complaints against the company.

What types of products will you use in my home? For the safety of your family and your pets, you deserve to know what's in the products sprayed around your home. Ask to see the labels for all pesticides, and confirm how much an average application includes.

Do your company's technicians have current licenses and certifications? Technicians can't apply pesticides without appropriate licenses or certifications. Make sure that anyone treating your home has the proper qualifications.

Can you provide references? Ask for current references, and don't hesitate to contact those customers to inquire about their satisfaction with the service and the results.

Whether you're dealing with a carpenter ant infestation or a rodent problem, there's no time to waste, especially if there's substantial potential for damage to your home. Find a reliable pest control company in your area, and start taking control over your home again.

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