An astonishing 84% of Americans are affected by pests in their homes. Often these are small pests such as bedbugs, termites, and cockroaches, but they can also be larger pests like rodents. These pests can be irritating to those with sensitivities to allergens, contaminate and eat the food in your pantry, and even damage the structural integrity of your home. Unfortunately, some people think pest control prices will be too great for them so they simply live with the pests.
As spring turns to summer, pests, such as mice, rats, cockroaches, and palmetto bugs come out of the woodworks. These pests can damage your health and your home. Today, we will be discussing what pest control actually is, pest control prices based on the species of pest, and what you can do to manage them yourself.
What Is Pest Control?
Before we discuss pest control prices, we need to first establish what pest control actually is. Pest control is a service that regulates or manages a particular species that has been defined as a pest, or a member of the animal kingdom which adversely affects human activities. Regarding residential pest control, there are four general methods - physical pest control, poisoned bait, fumigation, and sterilization.
Physical Pest Control
The physical control of pests involves killing or trapping rodents and insects. Have you ever used sticky flypaper to trap fruit flies? Have you ever used your dog to keep pesky birds or bunnies out of your yard? If so, you have used physical pest control. Rat traps are another great example. In rural areas, shotguns are used to kill snakes, birds and other pests.
Poisoned bait can be used to control everything from rodents to birds and slugs and snails to insects. The formulation includes food that attracts the targeted species and a suitable poison. For example, ant poison is slow-acting so the worker ants have time to deliver the poison back to the colony. On the other hand, toxin for flies is fast-acting so they do not have the chance to lay more eggs.
Fumigation treats the structure of the home by sealing it off or using an airtight cover, like a tent, to surround it completely. Liquid insecticide is applied for 24 to 72 hours and it kills such pests as wood-boring beetles. While this method is expensive and requires you to find somewhere else to stay for one to three days, it targets pests of all life stages. Space treatment is a common alternative that involves misting the liquid insecticide in the air within the building. No airtight sealing or evacuation is necessary, but this method is not as effective.
Sterilization involves rearing copious amounts of a sterilized version of te pest and releasing them into the wild. This is effective for treating insects but not reducing the population of rats. Sterilization traps, on the other hand, have been shown to be effective at reducing rat populations significantly.
How Much Does Pest Control Cost?
Pest control prices vary wildly based on location, company, frequency of treatment, and what type of product or method needs to be used, among other factors. Here is a quick breakdown of the average cost to control pests based on species:
- Ants - $250+
- Carpenter ants - starts at $500 for an initial spray (does not include physical labor or any necessary repairs)
- Termites - starts at $1,000 for an initial spray (does not include physical labor or any necessary repairs)
- Bats - $250 to $500
- Bees - $200 to $500 (includes only the treatment, not removal)
- Cockroaches - $300+ for initial treatment
- Fleas - $150 to $300
- Ticks - $150 to $300
- Spiders - $200+
- Wasps - $200 to $500 (includes only the treatment, not removal)
- Mice and rats - starts at $300
- Weevils - $100 to $300 (includes only the treatment, not removal)
- Carpet beetles - $250+
How Does Frequency Affect Pest Control Prices?
A one-time visit from a pest control company will probably run you around $300 to $500. This is because it takes time to identify the entry points into your home and where the pests live once they are inside. Like a one-time visit, an initial visit requires some investigation to determine what your pest issues actually are. An initial visit will cost you approximately $180.
A periodic visit can happen monthly, semi-monthly (every other month), or quarterly (once every three months). Monthly pest control prices are usually $40 to $45 per visit. A visit every two months is normally $50 to $60. You can expect a quarterly pest control treatment to cost you $100 to $300.
If you have a quarterly contract with a pest control service, see if they will include a free treatment if you continue to have pest control issues between visits. This does not cover large amounts of dead bugs being discovered near your baseboards after treatment. That just means the treatment is working. However, many reputable pest control companies will come back out between visits if you have a quarterly contract and you have a problem with live pests following treatment.
Does Square Footage Matter?
The size of your residence affects the cost of your pest control service. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment or single-wide mobile home, less product will need to be used to exterminate pests than if you lived in a triple-wide mobile home or three-story house. When calling for quotes, ask how square footage factors into the price of your professional treatment. Many exterminators charge an additional $25 for every 1,000 square feet over 1,500.
What About Product Type?
Product type also affects pest control prices. For example, eco-friendly pest solutions typically cost more than traditional pest control treatments. Furthermore, thetype of product required to treat ants and cockroaches is more expensive than the product necessary to treat fleas and ticks.
How Can I Manage My Own Pest Problem?
If you are strapped for cash, it is possible to manage pests on your own. By keeping your home clean, you reduce the amount of food available for bedbugs, cockroaches, mice and brown rats. You can also use over-the-counter products designed to kill any pests, such as Ortho, Zevo, or Terro. You may also use rat traps and mouse traps to trap and kill rats and mice.
Natural Pest Control Methods
If you have pets or small children, or just don't want chemicals sprayed in and around your house, there are also natural solutions you can use to reduce the pest population at your residence.
Diatomaceous earth, otherwise known as DE, is a little-known, highly effective natural pest control method. It is effective for the treatment of ants, dust mites, cockroaches, fleas and bedbugs. To use diatomaceous earth to treat ants, sprinkle a handful where ants congregate, such as your pantry.
To use diatomaceous earth to treat dust mites, bedbugs, and fleas, dust your rugs, bedding, and mattress with the DE. Let it sit for two to three hours, or overnight if possible, then vacuum it up. Food-grade DE is safe for humans and pets.
Specific Ant Treatments
Other natural treatments for ants include soapy water (spray the ants when you see them), cucumbers (the more bitter the better), mint tea (cloves and dry, crushed mint leaves are also effective) and garlic cloves. Nightlights may also discourage ants' foraging patterns and they will usually not cross a line of coffee grounds, cinnamon, or string soaked in citrus oil, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
Specific Mosquito Treatments
To treat mosquitos naturally, you have several options. First, remove all standing water from your house. If you have a hot tub or pool, leave a large bucket of water far from the pool to attract the mosquitoes away from you. If you have outdoor pets, change their water bowls twice weekly. Change wading pools and birdbaths, as well.
Specific Fly Treatments
Flies are more than just a nuisance. They also carry with them the threat of disease and other illness. Start by sealing entry points into your home, such as windows and roof vents. Then, wash all produce that enters your home, as it may be carrying eggs. Once you have taken steps to prevent more flies from entering your home, place small sachets of crushed mint in places that have problems with flies. You can also wrap bay leaves, cloves, and eucalyptus leaves in cheesecloth by windows and doors to deter flies from entering your home. Basil is another great fly deterrent.
Pest Control Prices: The Bottom Line
Pest control is the management or regulation of pests: animal and insect species that affect us adversely. Pest control prices vary greatly. If you try to manage your pest problem yourself, you probably will not pay anything out of pocket, because everything you need is likely in your pantry or under your kitchen sink. However, if you seek professional help, it can cost you between $100 and $1,000 depending on the type of pest you are trying to treat. This excludes the removal of pests and any repairs you may need to make to the foundation of your house.