According to national cost guides, the average price to eliminate ants in your home is $300. However, there are several factors that pest control companies use to determine what you’ll pay. For example, the type of ant, treatment methods, and square footage all play a role.
In this informative guide, you’ll discover:
- Ant extermination costs nationwide
- How ant control prices are calculated
- Signs and causes of ant infestations
- Possible health risks of ants
- DIY vs. hiring a professional
- The typical ant removal process
Bear in mind that the overall success of long-term ant control depends on this critical first step: contacting an exterminator. Pest Strategies recommends Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive to get rid of ants inside and outside of your home. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions, which can be dangerous to use if not handled correctly.
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Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
Table of Contents
How Are Ant Control Prices Calculated?
Pest control prices aren’t just random numbers that companies throw into their advertising banners. Ant control is a highly competitive service among exterminators. So, they must carefully consider what to charge.
Here are a few of the things they look at when setting their prices:
Type of Ants
It may seem strange that the ant species would matter. After all, ants are ants, right?
However, no two ants are exactly alike, and each type poses a unique problem for the technician. That’s why there’s often a price difference between the species.
For example, drenching a fire ant mound in the middle of a baseball field is much easier than controlling Argentine ants in a home. But, conversely, carpenter ants can eclipse both of those problems if they are nesting in your wall voids.
An ant exterminator can tell the size of your ant problem during their initial inspection, and their pricing may hinge solely on the perceived scope of service needed.
To illustrate this, suppose you have a few foraging ants on your kitchen counter. In that case, the initial treatment price is standard.
However, if you have ants running around everywhere in your kitchen and other parts of your home, it would be alarming. So, expect to pay much more.
That’s because the technician will have to put in more time to control the infestation. And for any pest control company, time is money.
Most professional ant exterminators figure the cost based on the size of your home, and they want to get as close as possible to a true estimate.
But don’t worry. The company usually won’t send someone to your home with a tape measure to calculate every square foot.
Instead, the technician will probably get a mental picture relative to other jobs the company has performed in the past. They’re usually very adept at calculating square footage in their head. The overall size of your property is simply another key metric they use to calculate your price.
The location of the infestation within your home is vital to pricing. For example, outside areas tend to be easier to treat. That’s because the technician is free to use stronger measures outdoors.
However, indoor treatments often pose a bigger challenge. Certain obstacles may get in the way of a streamlined process. For example:
- The presence of children and pets
- Cluttered areas
- Kitchens with dirty dishes left out
- Inaccessible walls or electrical outlets
- Substandard sanitation throughout the home
All of these constraints make it harder for the technician to achieve their goal of eliminating ants quickly. The more time the technician spends in your home, the higher the cost to you as a homeowner.
The methods and techniques an exterminating company uses are typically the least important price consideration. Still, it could play a role in certain cost estimates.
For example, carpenter ants are one of the more challenging species to eliminate for homeowners. It may require specialized equipment to apply the proper materials for quick eradication. For that reason, some pest control professionals charge more as a result.
Frequency of Service
Out of all the variables used to calculate ant extermination costs, the frequency of service is probably the most crucial. That’s because all pest control companies value repeat business. So, the more times a technician can come to your home, the less per visit they’ll charge.
For example, a one-time treatment for ants may cost up to $500. However, quarterly service visits typically cost less than half that.
If you decide to go with an annual contract, it’s even less. Your monthly payments are typically between $50 and $70. These agreements usually include the following pest types:
- Common crawling bugs
Many of the larger companies offer a call-back guarantee in connection with an annual contract. So, if you have pest problems between visits, they’ll send a technician for a quick follow-up service.
Signs and Causes of Ant Infestations
There are over 22,000 species of ants worldwide. Below are some of the more common ones you’ll find around your home.
The red imported fire ant is a non-native species to the U.S. It originated in South America and the Caribbean Islands.
Fire ants build large mounds that can grow to about 18 inches in diameter. You can identify them by their reddish-brown color and large stinger on their back end.
They typically infest yards, public parks, and farmlands. You may also find them around your home, where they forage near patio slabs, driveways, and sidewalks.
The pavement ant is another invasive species to the U.S. It was carried here by European merchant ships in the early 1800s. Now you can find it in most areas, including the Eastern Seaboard, Mid-Atlantic states, and the Pacific Northwest.
The pavement ant is about 1/4 inch in size and is mostly brown to black. It forages for food primarily outside in urban areas. However, worker ants may invade a home if there are sweet foods readily available.
Most ants nest outside and invade homes when they detect an adequate food source. However, the Pharaoh ant is different. It prefers to nest indoors where food is plentiful.
The Pharaoh ant is one of the smallest ant species, measuring less than 1/16 inch. You can also identify it by its light reddish-brown body. However, it’s typically only found in Southern regions of the U.S.
Not to be outdone, the odorous house ant is a common pest throughout the Continental U.S. Although it nests outdoors, it spends a lot of time indoors bothering people.
You can tell an odorous house ant by its rotten coconut odor when it’s crushed. Also, its shiny 1/8-inch black body is another unique feature.
Scientists and agricultural experts consider carpenter ants to be an important economic pest in the U.S. That’s because they create damage to wooden structures in most urban areas.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants burrow through the wood to make satellite nests. However, they don’t rely on it for food.
The damage that carpenter ants create to a house can be substantial. They build large nesting galleries or invade wall voids. And it can take a lot of work to control them.
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Health Risks of Ants
Ants are not disease vectors in the U.S. like mosquitoes or rodents. However, their stings can cause allergic reactions in about five percent of the U.S. population. In some instances, they can be serious or even fatal.
The red imported fire ant sting is the worst. It creates welts and skin dermatitis that can last up to two weeks. However, in most cases, it’s not life-threatening.
One overlooked consequence of fire ants is the effects they may have on pets. A dog or cat kept in a confined space may have no escape from these ferocious insects while the owner is away.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
There is a big difference between tackling ants yourself and hiring a licensed pest control provider. Here, we’ll break down those differences and provide you with a comparison between the two options.
The first thing to do when eliminating ants from your home is to identify which type you have. It’s crucial to get this first step right so you don’t waste time using incorrect treatment methods. Also, you could misspend money purchasing the wrong types of products.
Why Spraying for Ants Is a Bad Idea
Next, you should realize that spraying for most ant species indoors is not the right approach. By killing worker ants while they’re foraging for food, the queen will realize it’s a threat to her precious colony.
She will then split it into new colonies so she can create thousands of workers to defend them. So, now you have an even larger infestation on your hands.
Using Ant Baits
The best treatment to use is some type of ant bait. They come in several forms, such as:
- Liquid bait stations
- Solid bait stations
Whichever formula you use, try not to disrupt the ant’s foraging behavior by placing it directly on trails. For example, to bait Pharaoh ants, place a liquid bait station under an electrical outlet. However, be careful not to block their pheromone trails by placing the bait directly in their path.
For fire ants, treat ant mounds with a granular bait specifically labeled for them. However, be sure to sprinkle the bait at least 12 inches away from the mound. This technique will ensure that the bait itself is not viewed as a threat by the queen.
Sanitation and Exclusion Measures
Aside from treating ants with bait, it’s best to prevent them by utilizing proper sanitation measures. For example:
- Clean all soda spills immediately
- Refrigerate leftover food promptly
- Cover or seal trash receptacles
- Seal food containers that are susceptible to ant foraging
In addition to these common sense housekeeping tips, you can also keep ants out by using exclusion measures. Here are a few examples:
- Steel wool pipe entry points. Ants are always looking for moisture. So, by sealing pipe entrance holes in your home’s flooring, you cut them off at one of their main routes.
- Caulk doors and windows. If you can feel a draft around your window sills and door jams, there’s enough room for ants to crawl into your home. Applying silicone caulking will not only keep ants away but also cut down on your energy bills.
- Tighten electrical outlet plates. One of the main entrance points for sugar ants and other tiny species is around electrical outlets. So, it’s best to make sure they’re tight. However, you may have to take the extra step to seal them with clear caulking.
Getting Professional Help
Despite all your efforts, you still may not be able to control ants in your home. For that reason, it’s best to ask for some advice on what to do next. Here are three of the best companies we recommend for getting help with your ant problem.
- Orkin trains its technicians in the latest eco-friendly ant control procedures. It offers monthly treatments or one-time visits to ensure pests are kept away for good.
- Aptive Environmental specializes in reliable pest control services in 26 states. Its monthly program includes several different types of ants.
- Terminix offers ant control services, bed bug treatments, and termite management. Its precision pricing is based on a thorough inspection, and its extermination services include more than just spraying pesticides.
When searching for a pest management professional in your area, it’s best to start with friends and family members. Also, ask your neighbors who they use for their pest control provider. But most importantly, make sure the company you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured in your state.
What is the Standard Ant Extermination Process?
Having a pest exterminator in your home is not as scary as it may seem. After all, they’re just people who want to help you. In this section, we’ll demystify what happens during a service visit so you can feel comfortable with the process.
Ant exterminator costs almost always include an inspection. This step accomplishes three objectives for the company:
- Find out what’s really going on. The company needs an assessment of your problem to find out how much to charge you. It also allows them to verify that what you’re seeing are really ants and not termites or some other type of pest.
- The technician needs a plan of action. The inspection helps identify which materials will be needed for the ensuing ant treatment. It will also help the technician get an idea of where the ant colonies may originate.
- The inspection is a great sales tool. Some companies may exaggerate the problem to get your business. However, the most reputable ones don’t do that. Instead, they explain the problem and then charge a fair price for their services.
The treatment methods used by the technician largely depend on the severity of the infestation and the home’s structure. For example, they may decide to use ant baits and ant traps inside while utilizing a residual repellent insecticide outdoors.
The best companies will incorporate earth-based borates and insecticide dust for crack and crevice applications. Then, they’ll follow up by recommending sanitation and mechanical exclusion measures for long-term control.
The main point to remember is that a quick spray with a can of aerosol certainly won’t win anyone over. A licensed technician should know better. And so should you, now that you have some idea of what a professional ant treatment looks like.
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A Final Word of Advice
One-time ant extermination services may cost you a lot more long-term. That’s because pest control companies won’t typically guarantee them like regular contracted visits.
For that reason, it may be worth signing an annual pest control agreement. These contracts ensure that you will receive service every month, and it will cover several pests, including ants.
After all, if you’re having a problem with ants, you’ll eventually see other pests show up as well. So, it’s a good idea to have a company you can trust on your side when you need them.