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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What do pest control companies do?

Pest control companies handle all aspects of bug, rodent and animal extermination or removal. Pest control professionals visit your home or office to identify the type of pest that is troubling you and offer various treatment plans — complete with clearly outlined costs. Once you and the pest control company have a signed agreement, the pro will begin treatment. Pest treatment can range from the use of spray pesticides and gel bait to live and/or kill traps. There are a wide range of types of pesticides, many of them nontoxic for humans and other small animals. This means you may be able to have your home treated for pests without harming nearby wildlife or your dog and cat. The pest control pro will carry out the treatment plan and, depending on the service agreement, provide follow-up such as emptying traps, inspecting access points, or reapplying pesticide spray if the pests return. Costs will vary based on the type of pest you are having removed and the extent of the infestation.The average national pest control price range is $80-$130. From a minor bedbug event to an entire home termite infestation, pest control companies have got you covered.

How do you get bed bugs and how do you get rid of them?

The increase in bed bug infestations in the U.S. is a result of increased travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices, explains the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s easy to mistake bed bugs for carpet beetles or similar-looking bugs, so infestations are often not noticed when they first occur. Prevention tips include keeping areas free of clutter, regularly washing sheets and mattress covers in hot water (and don’t forget to wash the laundry bag, too), and vacuuming regularly and safely disposing of the sealed vacuum bag. Not everyone has reactions to bed bug bites, which also may be mistaken for the bites of other pests such as mosquitoes, so timely bed bug extermination depends on identification of bed bug activity. If you notice physical signs of an infestation, contact a bed bug extermination professional as soon as possible to learn about chemical and non-chemical (such as heat) treatment options. An integrated pest management plan may incorporate one or more methods.

How do you get rid of termites?

The best way to get rid of termites is to act fast. Termites are a problem that will only get worse — and no matter how much you want them to, they usually don’t magically move out on their own. There are three main types of termites: drywood, dampwood and subterranean. Drywood and dampwood termites sneak through cracks in your exterior paint, nail holes, and gaps near windows and other openings and begin to eat through your wood. Subterranean termites enter your house from the ground up by creating mud tunnels. In all cases, they survive by eating the wood of your house. The type of termites you have can steer the treatment plan.

Methods of termite extermination include fumigation, use of pesticides, and use of natural elements that are poisonous to the bugs. The extent of your termite infestation will help determine the treatment method. If you have drywood or dampwood termites that have infiltrated all aspects of the wood in your home, the pest control pro may recommend enclosing the whole house in a tent and gassing the termites via fumigation. If you have subterranean termites, often the entire footprint of the home must be treated by drilling liquid treatments into the slab or foundation of the home to exterminate the colonies. In any case, once you see signs of termites, it’s time to take action and call a pest pro.  

How much does it cost to treat a house for termites?

Termites are not only creepy-crawly, they can literally eat your house out from underneath you. Termites feed on damp and dry wood and can chomp through your house at an alarming rate. The national average pest control cost for termite extermination is $240-$400. Treatment costs can be higher for an extensive infestation. Here are some examples of average pest control costs for termites:

  • Liquid treatment of subterranean termites: $3-$4 per linear foot.
    • For $75 per year, a company may offer a maintenance plan that provides inspection of the property and renewal of the warranty.
  • Liquid treatment of subterranean termites: approximately $400 for a 2,000-square-foot home at $3-$5 per linear foot.
    • The price is higher for additional work such as foaming and drilling inside of concrete slabs.
  • Fumigation treatment of drywood termites: $1,200-$1,500 for a 30,000- to 35,000-cubic-foot home
    • Fumigation is measured in cubic feet because it fills the airspace of the home and infiltrates the wood that the termites may be colonizing. The cost of fumigation is affected by the number of levels in the home as well as the square footage.

How much does it cost to get rid of cockroaches?

Cockroaches are not only ugly, they are difficult to get rid of. Quick and resilient, they can be hard to get rid of without professional help once they have inhabited a house. Nationally, the average range for cockroach pest control cost is $80-$130. Extermination professionals typically provide a free estimate to determine the extent of the infestation. They’ll check for the main sources of the bugs, identify bug access and entry points into your home, and determine the best method for elimination. There are a variety of cockroach extermination tools including gel baits and traps, pesticide foggers, desiccants (which dry out the cockroaches), neurotoxins, and other pesticides. Pest control costs can also cover preventive measures like regular spraying and trap maintenance. Some regions of the country are much more prone to cockroach problems than others, so pest control costs may need to be part of your quarterly budget. Cockroaches love dark, humid, and warm areas and water sources, so place traps near your washer and dryer and under your sinks.

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