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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with an exterminator during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ask exterminators in your area if they would be willing to offer a consultation over a phone call or video chat. You can then ask them any questions you have about the upcoming appointment. Make sure to ask what precautions they are taking to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they are observing social distancing guidelines. You may ask them if it's possible to conduct the appointment virtually or without person-to-person contact. 

How can I find out if an exterminator is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Essential service providers during the COVID-19 crisis are defined by individual states, cities and localities. For the most accurate information, visit your official state or city government website to see what is considered an essential service. 

CISA is the government agency that defines critical workers on a national level, so you can check its website for more information. However, note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

Can I use digital payments to pay for pest control services?

You may be able to use digital payments such as Venmo, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash or Zelle to pay for extermination services. Many businesses accept methods of payment besides cash and credit cards. Check with pest control services in your area to see if they have changed their payment methods as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire an exterminator when social distancing?

If you need pest extermination services inside your home, talk to the exterminator first to be sure that you both feel comfortable completing the project. Also, follow the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing. You can also arrange with the exterminator to take extra steps to stay safe, such as waving instead of shaking hands, staying at least 6 feet apart, using digital payments and sanitizing any common spaces before and after the project is complete. 

Does an exterminator need to enter my home?

If you have an outdoor pest infestation, it’s unlikely an exterminator will need to enter your home. But if your pest infestation is inside your home, the exterminator will likely need to enter your home. Check with the exterminator beforehand to explain the extent of the problem, the layout of your house and see if they can complete the job outdoors. You can also ask the exterminator to video chat or set up a phone call to exchange as much information as possible before you begin the project. 

Do exterminators offer remote or virtual services?

Typically, extermination takes place at your home or place of business, but you can ask if the business is offering special accommodations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you come across a profile that states the exterminator is offering remote services, ask what those services include. But if the job has to be done in person, be sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing or see if you can postpone your appointment.

How do you get rid of fleas?

You can get rid of fleas in your home by hiring an exterminator near you. This may involve treating your pet first, and you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about the best flea control product for your animal.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, you might be able to do some damage control yourself. For example, experts recommend washing all bedding (including your pet’s) and vacuuming your cushion, furniture, rugs, carpets and floors thoroughly. 

Do roaches come back after extermination?

Cockroaches may return to your home after they’ve been exterminated from a structure — but this depends on your situation.

For example, if you live in a shared housing unit and your neighbors have a cockroach problem, your unit may be susceptible to the pests as well. Or, if you have unsealed cracks and holes in your walls, cockroaches may enter that way.

To get rid of roaches for good, contact a roach exterminator near you to perform regular preventative treatments

Is it safe to use an exterminator spray?

Exterminator sprays and pesticides are generally toxic, and toxicity levels can vary by product. Therefore, it’s best to speak with the best pest control specialists near you to determine the safest way to get rid of your pest problem and reduce the risk of exposure. If a pesticide is needed, it’s likely safer to let the pro spray your home. 

Keep these tips in mind if exterminator spray will be used in your home: 

  • Exterminator spray is not safe to swallow, inhale or touch. 
  • Leave the house when the spray is being applied indoors.
  • Ventilate your home by opening windows and doors upon return. 
  • Keep pets and pet supplies away from the chemicals.

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.
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