Nationally, the average cost for bed bug extermination ranges between $320 and $400. Pricing will vary based on your geographic location, the severity of the bed bug infestation, the number of rooms affected, and what type of treatment is required to eliminate the little pests. Pest control pros may charge for bed bug treatment by the square footage of the property to be treated, at a flat fee per room, or by the hour of labor.
If you have bed bugs, it doesn't mean you have a dirty home or office, or have done something wrong. It just means that these resilient parasitic insects have hopped a ride into your life — usually via luggage, backpacks, secondhand furniture and clothing or a visitor — and made themselves at home. Fortunately, bed bugs are not known to transmit infectious disease, but they do cause itching and scratching, bite marks, and allergic reactions — and can spread easily.
Bed bugs multiply quickly, don't disappear on their own and bed bug infestations get worse, never better, if left untreated. The minute you notice signs of a bed bug infestation, call a professional bed bug exterminator. If you deal with the problem early on, you will prevent the infestation from spreading to other parts of your home or office, and from passing the bed bugs on to visitors who will then carry them to other locations.
What's in this cost guide?
- What affects bed bug extermination costs
- Room size and number
- Cleanliness and clutter
- Home type
- Exterminator hourly rates
- Getting a free quote
- How to spot bed bugs
- What they look like
- Bed bug symptoms
- Where to find them
- Types of treatments
- Integrated pest management
- Bed bug prevention tips
- Benefits of professional extermination
Several factors can affect the average cost of a professional bed bug extermination. This includes the number of rooms affected, severity of infestation, amount of furniture, cleanliness of the area and the construction of the home or office. Most pest control professionals do a walk-through before providing a quote so they can assess the space, recommend a the right treatment and price accordingly.
Number and size of rooms affected
The more, and larger, the rooms that need treatment, the more you'll spend on bed bug extermination. Pest control professionals may charge a set rate per room, plus the cost of materials. They may charge a higher rate for the same size room if any other factors — like infestation severity and clutter — come into play.
For example, Alamo Pest Management in Fort Worth, Texas, charges an average of $250 per 10-foot by 15-foot bedroom with standard furniture (bed, night table and dresser) for a light to moderate infestation.
Severity of infestation
Another reason to call an exterminator early: the more severe the bed bug infestation is, the higher the cost. To determine how bad the infestation is, the pest control professional will inspect the entire area, looking for telltale signs of bed bug infestation such as exoskeletons and fecal matter. They'll look to see if it impacts the entire room, or just part of it, and to what extent.
Heavier infestations cost more to treat because exterminators need more product, time and sometime additional employees to take care of it. For example, Alamo Pest Management charges an average of:
- Heavy bed bug infestation: $300-$400 per bedroom
- Light to moderate infestation: $250 per bedroom
- Preventative treatment for rooms with no infestation: $200 per room
Because bed bug populations multiply so quickly, it's important to get on top of treating your infestation quickly, so your light infestation doesn't turn into a heavy infestation.
The more furniture you have in an infested room, the higher the cost you can expect to pay to treat that room. For example, most pest control companies charge an average of $50 for every piece of additional furniture, like a chair or cabinet, in a bedroom beyond the standard bed, two nightstands and dresser.
This is because exterminators have to inspect and treat all the furniture in each infested room. Each additional piece of furniture adds 30-60 minutes to the time it takes to treat a room, and requires more product. For example, if you have three extra pieces of furniture in your bedroom, that's an extra 90-180 minutes of the pest control professional's time — which means higher labor cost.
Level of cleanliness and clutter
Dirt doesn't really affect whether bed bugs hang around your house, but clutter does. They love nooks and crannies to hide and lay eggs in. If you need help clearing the clutter and organizing your home, consider finding a home organizer in addition to your exterminator.
It also affects the level of work and cost of getting rid of them. If a home is messy or has a lot of clutter, the rate per room will be higher. According to Alamo Pest Management, clutter creates more work in two ways:
- Employees must sort through and clear the clutter to prepare the area for treatment.
- Employees must spray more product to treat all of the excess clutter.
Alamo Pest Management charges $450 per bedroom with a standard bedroom set, heavy infestation, and large amount of clutter or obstacles — which is $50 - $150 more than a clutter-free bedroom.
The construction of home
How your home is built can also impact the overall cost of services. If your entire home is infested, you may need to spray under the house. Homes with pier-and-beam construction can harbor bed bugs underneath the house, and pros can dry-dust the area to terminate colonies there. Both of these services cost more. Alamo Pest Management, for example, charges an average of $50 minimum to dry-dust under a pier-and-beam home.
Slab homes (homes without any space between the home and the foundation) usually don't need this treatment.
Whether or not you need fumigation
Depending on your situation, the pest control pro may also recommend fumigation. This is a more extreme solution as it involves completely sealing your home (often with a massive tarp) and pumping in a pesticidal gas. You and your family must leave for one to several days, and costs may range on average anywhere from $3 to $8 per square foot — which can add up quickly if you have a large home. The good news is fumigation will eradicate all signs of bed bugs.
Yes. Bed bug extermination companies may charge an hourly fee rather than a per-room rate. The hourly rate may reflect the type of pest control services the pro will employ, and the cost of travel to your location, materials and employee time. The hourly rate will also take into account business overhead costs such as insurance, licensing and equipment.
For example, Pest Solutions in Wappingers Falls, New York, charges an average base rate of $75 for 45 minutes of bed bug control services. A pest control management company that offers an hourly rate will typically do an onsite assessment. They will then provide a quote that lists the work they will need to do, as well as an estimate of the total hours and cost.
Getting a free quote
Free quotes are fairly standard practice for larger extermination projects. Because the factors involved in determining treatment are so complex, most bed bug extermination companies provide free, on-site quotes to give an accurate cost estimate and treatment plan.
Once you schedule a quote, the professional will come to your home or office, ask you to point out your areas of concern, and also perform a complete visual inspection to assess treatment need. Reputable pest management companies will recommend an integrated pest management approach.
The easiest indicator that your home or office has been infested is when you actually see bed bugs, or the red exoskeletons their larvae shed as they mature. You may also find itchy bites, which often appear in lines or clusters, on your skin. Since not everyone reacts the same way to bed bug bites, it's best not to go off skin reactions alone, since they could be a sign of another bug problem, like fleas. Instead, check your area for other signs as well.
Another indicator is their fecal droppings — rusty in color, thanks to blood — found on bedding and furniture. If you have amazing vision, or you've come across a large cluster, you may be able to spot their eggs, which are clear or yellowish and about the size of a pinhead. Smell can be another symptom. Bed bug infestations tend to create a sweet, musty odor, so pay attention if you smell something out of the ordinary.
If you spot any of these symptoms and aren't too squeamish, you can also do a preliminary search to discover their hiding places — but be very careful, as disturbing them may lead to wider dissemination throughout your house.
How to spot a bed bug
Bed bugs are tiny, smaller than a lentil, and are no thicker than a credit card — unless engorged with blood. This makes them hard to spot. Bed bugs don't have wings and cannot fly, but you may see the adults run across a bed, molding or piece of furniture.
If you think you have spotted a bed bug, check to see if the bug has six legs a short antennae that points forward, and that it is rust or mahogany in color. If you see a bug of the same shape and color but with eight legs, it may be a mite or a tick.
Then, there's the eggs. Adult females lay white or clear eggs that are no bigger than a pinhead — approximately 1 millimeter in size. The eggs hatch within 4-12 days, producing white-yellow or clear nymphs that begin to grow. As nymphs grow from approximately 1.5 millimeters to approximately 4.5 millimeters, and progress to the next developmental stage, they shed their current exoskeleton. So flaky bed bugs skins are a strong indicator of a pest problem.
Common symptoms of bed bugs
Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal; most nymphs and adults feed on sleeping or resting humans in the darkness, although they will come out in the daylight if they're hungry enough. This is why bed bug activity is often discovered on or around mattresses and bed frames — they like to stay close to their meals.
They take advantage of exposed skin, so your neck, arms or legs are often easy targets while you sleep. Bed bugs mainly feed on human blood, but some strains also have adapted to other mammals, such as your pets.
Where bed bugs are found
As their name implies, they are often found in mattress seams, bedding, and dark crevices of bed frames. Beyond the bed, bed bugs can fit almost anywhere and seek out dark, tight hiding places. Scan curtains and furniture seams; behind picture frames and mirrors, inside cracks in the wall or around window and door frames; in tightly cluttered spaces like closets; in luggage, briefcases and backpacks; and even inside electronics.
Bed bugs will often crowd together into cozy cracks and crevices together, but are also prone to going off alone, especially the females. If you find one grouping of them, that does not mean you have discovered them all, and treating just that area may not control the whole infestation.
There are a variety of techniques available to treat bed bugs. According to Indiana University, heat, steam, freezing and pesticides are all viable ways to eliminate bed bugs when done by a professional exterminator.
Heat treatments are a great non-chemical option. During heat treatments, hot air is pumped into infested areas until ambient room temperatures have reached between 130 and 150 degrees. Bed bugs begin to die at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Exterminators use thermometers to verify that all areas of an infested room have reached the proper temperatures. Insecticide is used as a follow-up treatment to the heat method to eliminate any possible survivors.
During steam treatment, your exterminator will use a professional low vapor or dry steam machine with variable output rates. Steam is applied directly to infested areas and kills bed bug adults, larvae and eggs. The one drawback to steam, according to Indiana University, is that steam is only effective as far as it can reach — meaning you must hit each infested area directly with steam to ensure complete extermination.
Freezing is also effective. You will get the best results with a professional treatment such as the Cryonite freezing technology, according to Indiana University. The technique uses carbon dioxide snow to kill bed bugs, leaving no pesticide residue. If you try freezing infested items such as clothing in your own freezer, the bed bugs may actually survive and thaw, returning to haunt you again once they've come out of the freezer.
Pesticides are another effective treatment for fighting bed bugs, but shouldn't be done on your own. Hire a pest control professional to apply pesticides, since doing it wrong can be harmful to your health and that of your kids and pets. Misuse can also cause bed bug infestations to spread to other areas of your home or office, and even contribute to bed bug resistance to pesticides.
According to Indiana University, the categories of pesticides used to exterminate bed bugs include:
- Liquids: used to exterminate bed bugs residing in cracks and crevices, and along moldings or carpet edges
- Aerosols: work well for furniture, cracks and crevices, and the treatment of bed frames and box springs.
- Fumigants (also called gases) used to handle large-scale bed bug infestations. The pest control management company will completely seal your home or office and then fill it with an insecticidal gas that should kill all bed bugs inside. Indiana University explains that standard foggers (also known as bug bombs) are not effective for extermination.
Although the EPA recommends the least possible damage to the environment, they are not opposed to the properly applied pesticides. In fact, the EPA states, "although bed bugs may sometimes be controlled by non-chemical means alone, this approach is often very difficult, potentially less effective, and usually more resource intensive." Working with a professional will help you navigate all your options.
Integrated pest management isn't a fancy marketing term exterminators made up to sell you products.
The EPA explains integrated pest management programs "use information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with people and the environment. This information, combined with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment." An integrated pest management solution will not only treat those bed bugs that are currently alive, but also exterminate any unhatched bed bug eggs.
When researching which pest company to hire, look for those companies that champion an integrated approach. This will net you the best results in the long run.
Whether you want to prevent bed bugs from ever coming into your house, or from returning, follow these tips from the EPA for preventing a bed bug infestation in your home:
- Carefully inspect secondhand furniture, beds or couches for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
- Check clothing purchased from vintage or thrift shops for any signs of bed bugs.
- Use a protective cover (called a mattress encasement) over mattresses and box springs. Select an encasement in a light color to make bed bug spotting easier. Also choose one made of a strong material that won't tear, and check often for holes.
- Eliminate as much clutter as possible in your home.
- Vacuum your home regularly and dispose of sealed vacuum bags carefully.
- Shared laundry facilities can lead to bed bug exposure. Transport laundry in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home). Remove clothing from the dryer directly into the bag and fold your items at home. Use high heat to kill any potential bed bugs.
- If you live in a multi-family home, or apartment building, you can isolate your unit by installing door sweeps on the bottom of doors to discourage movement into hallways and sealing cracks and crevices around baseboards, light sockets, etc., to discourage movement through wall voids.
In the past two decades, bed bug infestations have been on the rise due in part to increased travel, lack of public knowledge about bed bug prevention, bed bugs' increasing resistance to existing pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.
Although bed bugs frequently are transported via travel and hotel rooms, they are also in schools, daycare centers, public transportation such as subways, trains, and buses, college dorms, and more. Any place is susceptible to bed bugs. Bed bugs don't discriminate, but they aren't a sign of a dirty home or dirty life.
Prevention tips while traveling
When you're staying in a hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or someone's home, there are some simple precautions you can take to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you.
- Set down your luggage on an elevated location such as a luggage rack or shelf, since bed bugs can't fly.
- Don't place luggage or belongings near cracks, picture frames or electronics that could house bed bugs.
- Always check your mattress, especially the seams, for signs of bed bugs, like exoskeletons, fecal droppings, or bed bugs themselves.
- Also lift up the mattress and look underneath, then run your hands down and around the mattress frame.
If you have clothing or items you think have been exposed, store them in a sealed plastic bag until you have access to a dryer; place the items directly into the dryer and heat them on high for at least 30 minutes.
While you might be tempted to take a do-it-yourself approach to getting rid of these pests, a professional exterminator is always a better choice. Professional exterminators can perform inspections to confirm whether or not you have a bed bug problem (even if you think you're certain, there's always a chance it's something else).
In addition to one-time removal or termination, many also provide recurring bed bug control services. Finally, a good exterminator will provide recommendations on how to prevent them from returning. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when hiring an exterminator:
- Some pest control professionals offer a 100 percent guarantee, which may be good to look for if you have a bad infestation. For example, Steam Kill Bed Bugs in Little Falls, New Jersey, promises that their treatment will rid you of bed bugs, or they'll return to do additional treatment for free.
- Ask for a signed contract that outlines the treatment plan, cost, and any follow-up or warranty that will be provided.
- Always research your pest control pro and make sure they have the appropriate licensing, insurance and certifications as required by your region — as well as good customer reviews. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.