How Much Do Ant Exterminators Cost? (A Simple Guide)

​Outdoors, ants are a friend to us humans and to the environment.

Inside our homes, however, ants are among the worst pests you'll ever encounter.

So if you're thinking about calling an ant exterminator, you've come to the right place. We'll tell you everything there is to know about contacting an ant control company—from when you should make the call to how to what to tell your neighbors, and everything in between.

ANT control guide

Bear in mind that the overall success of long-term ant control depends on this critical first step: contacting an exterminator.

​Should You Call for Professional Ant Control?

Ants have been classified as social insects, meaning that they live in large nests or in clustered groups known as super colonies. They don't stray too far from their home, so if you see a few ants scouting across your kitchen area, chances are that they've already established a colony inside your home's structure. 

And when faced with an imminent infestation, your first instinct would be to make a decision on the spot. Should you call for professional ant control or deal with the problem on your own?

Why Make the Call?

​Ants move in trails and they don't shy away from human presence.

Although they may seem like a snap to deal with on your own, an ant infestation is something that needs immediate professional attention.

Why?

Well, even if you wipe out an entire group trailing across your wall from the main door of your house to your kitchen, there are still countless more ants back at the colony base.

Ants can establish their colonies at any specific spot inside your house, strategic for their survival. They can build their nests inside your walls and even under your home's foundation. 

Worse still, every colony has at least one queen which can produce hundreds of thousands of eggs throughout her entire lifetime. To top it all off, a colony has an average life span of at least 15 years.

Since most ants build their nests inside hard-to-reach places of your house, it's imperative to call for expert help from an experienced ant exterminator to effectively deal with the problem.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your ant problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

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​When to Call for an Ant Exterminator

​The presence of ants inside your home doesn't pose an immediate and serious threat to you and your family's health.

However, they are more than capable of inflicting serious damage to your home's structure. And the longer you wait to seek the help of a qualified exterminator, the more compromised the integrity of your house's structure becomes. 

Can I Do It Myself?

Encountering a few ants at home (especially those that are still just scouting for food) is something any homeowner can deal with too easily. Even though an infestation is already there, detecting it in its early stage is the key to effectively eradicating one.

The first thing you need to do is identify possible entry points. This can be easily done by observing the ants and following their trails inside your home. Once you've noted the small gaps in your home's structure, seal these spots (along with any other holes and crevices you may have found) to prevent further structural infiltration in the future.

The next phase of DIY ant control will involve the use of ant pesticides in the form of two elements: bait and spray. Ant baits are a breeze to make yourself, as they are just a combination of borax and sugar.

Simply place the bait alongside ant trails and near their identified nests. If you have pets and/or children at home, it is highly recommended to use bait stations to keep the harmful chemical from being accidentally ingested. For a quick look at how a bait station works, take a glance at the video below.

How Bad Does It Have to Get?

When neglected, a seemingly harmless visit by a couple of ants can easily spiral into an infestation that can directly affect your day-to-day-life. When left untreated, the effects of a huge number of ants cohabiting with you inside your home could already be much more devastating than you know.

Some ants—particularly carpenter ants—establish their nests and networks of tunnels along the wood structures of your home. These little guys bore through the wood, weakening your home's skeleton, so to speak, with every gnaw and bite. This, in turn, severely compromises the integrity of the overall structure of your house.

Another considerable effect of severe indoor ant colonization is food infestation. Don't forget that one of the major reasons why ants establish their nest inside your house is food. Ants have powerful pincers (also called mandibles) that can easily cut through light food packaging. If you don't store your food items well, you could end up having to throw them away the next day.

Furthermore, the presence of thick trails of ants across your walls, ceilings, and floor corners are an unpleasant sight and are such a nuisance—especially if you're fond of accommodating guests.

How Much Does an Ant Exterminator Cost?

​Compared to infestation control solutions designed for other types of household pests, hiring an ant exterminator is significantly less expensive.

However, it is critical to have an initial grasp on the figures of acquiring an ant control service before making the call. Keep reading to learn more.

​One-Time Visit

The average rate for one-time ant control treatment generally averages between $90-$250. The price for treatment will depend mainly on the size of the property being treated as well as the severity of the ant infestation.

There's one exception: for cases that involve carpenter ants, the treatment involves much more effort on the part of the exterminator, which can raise the figure up to $500. This is because carpenter ants have been proven to be much more difficult to eradicate compared to other ant species.

Contract-Based Treatment

For larger properties with complex structural design, ant exterminators often recommend an annual contract. This type of ant control service is composed of multiple visits which can either be monthly or quarterly, depending on the severity of the infestation. Multiple treatment costs can run from $600 to $1,500 for the entire year. 

​Additional Costs

In some cases, a homeowner must consider some additional costs that an ant exterminator might add with the service provided. This includes the labor cost of a handyman who is tasked in efficiently sealing up cracks and holes throughout the property. This can run from $60 to $90, depending on the pest control company you hire for the problem. 

There are also times when homeowners with a garden or backyard suffer infestation in such spots as well. You can simply request your ant exterminator for additional service which can be around $2-$5 per nest.

​What to Tell the Ant Control Company

​Hiring an ant control company to help you put an end on the infestation inside your house is a critical first step. And like any infestation, the problem can easily become a much more serious issue with each passing hour.

Considering this, it is critical for any homeowner to know how to talk with an ant exterminator. Asking the right questions and giving the right details are the keys in combatting these annoying (and sometimes dangerous) pests for good.

​Location

An ant exterminator's first step will be to hunt down the nest(s) of the ants infesting your property. No matter how experienced the ant exterminator is, the inspection phase will still take a considerable amount of time—especially if you have a significantly large property. You can help curb the inspection by pointing the ant control company to the right direction. 

Before making that first call, it's best to take a few minutes of conducting the inspection yourself. And since this involves evaluating your own property, the inspection time is expected to be time efficient. Nonetheless, here are a few pointers regarding possible indoor nesting grounds of common ant pests:

  • inside walls
  • underneath piles of firewood
  • under house foundations
  • underneath flower/plant pots
  • along foam insulation
  • inside rotten wood window frames

​When did the infestation start?

Time is a very critical factor to solving any insect infestation problem. You should be able to identify (or at least come up with a close guess) when the infestation actually started.

This will help the ant exterminator gauge the severity of the infestation at the time you make the call and recommend an appropriate treatment. 

​Clues for Infestation

Looking for clues is an effective strategy in hunting the nest of the invading ants. The most obvious clue would be the ant trails across your walls—particularly in the kitchen and dining areas.

Another big hint is wood or foam (insulation) shavings, since such pests (particularly carpenter ants) chew on such components of your house which, in turn, are used to build their nests.

Another, more insidious signal that you may have a new colony of ants is a pile of discarded wings on the floor. Flying ants shed their wings after mating, then burrow into a safe place to populate a new colony. If you see this bright red flag, make the call to a pest control specialist immediately.

​What do you smell?

Ants (especially the odorous house ants, hence the namesake) are capable of giving off a foul and pesky odor. The scent these ants usually produces smell like rotten coconut due to their natural pheromones.

If you notice such smell inside your home, chances are that you have these unwanted guests in your house. It's not all bad news, though! You can use this scent to your advantage by following your nose and possibly locating the ant colony.

​Infested Food

One main reason why ants invade your home is its constant source of delicious food. According to a study from Vanderbilt University, ants have over 400 odor receptors, which means that they can smell food from far and wide!

ant control facts

Once these pests find out that your house is a goldmine for nutrients, it won't be long until they build their nest near or inside your home. Sooner or later, they'll be infesting your food items that aren't properly sealed. 

​How to Choose the Right Ant Exterminator

Some cases of ant infestation—especially those identified in its early stages—are easily handled by homeowners on their own.

There are times, however, when the infestation has become so extensive that only a professional ant exterminator can effectively put an end to it. Here are some effective pointers on how to find the most competent ant control company to handle your pest problem.

​Credentials

​First, make sure that the company is a registered pest control specialist with a valid trade license. You can ask a staff member to show you the said documents.

It's also a good idea to check the company's rating and standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This is a federal organization which protects consumers against scams and helps to elevate legitimate businesses in the marketplace. If a business does a quality job, they'll get a rating from the BBB which is universally recognized among consumers and entrepreneurs alike. 

A reliable ant exterminator company must also be manned by skilled insecticide applicators and technicians with certifications readily available upon request. This way, you can be sure that nothing can go wrong throughout the process of treating the infestation.

​References

​Choose an ant control company that can confidently provide a considerable list of previous customers upon request. Take three to four names from this list and politely ask for their feedback from the concerned exterminator's service.

With this step, you can have a glimpse on what to expect from the exterminator's service and how your infestation problem will be handled.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your ant problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

(Process takes about 30 seconds)

​Experience in the Industry

​Choose an ant extermination company that has already built a good reputation in the industry. The longer length of service in the industry and the bigger number of clients serviced, the better.

​Chemicals Used

​As much as you want to put an end to your ant infestation problem, your other top priority is the safety and well-being of you and your family.

Ant exterminators approach infestation problems in various ways (ant baits come in granular, gel, or powder form, repellent and non-repellent insecticide aerosol). No matter the type or method of treatment, the exterminator uses active chemicals.

The use of these chemicals is inevitable when controlling and eradicating ants. However, your ant control company must be able to present a list of pest control methods and insecticide products they are licensed to use. By doing this, you are being made an informed consumer at every step of the process.

​Guarantee

A competent ant control company will normally offer a service guarantee in order to reassure their clients with the efficiency of their treatments. It is often backed with an assurance of re-treatment in case the previous application wasn't fully successful. 

For extra tips on choosing a prospective pest control company, check out what the VP of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association has to say in the video below.

​Number of Treatments

The number of treatments needed to completely eradicate the ant infestation depends on the specific ant species involved, as well as the severity of the problem. This can be discussed during or after the inspection phase.

How to Secure Your Pets During Treatment

Be sure to mention that you have pets inside your home (as well as what kind) on your first phone call with the pest control company. You can also discuss such matters during the inspection phase of the treatment.

Since the ant exterminator knows the type of chemical he or she will be using inside your home, they should be able to come up with an appropriate suggestion on how to secure your pet(s).

​Use a Kennel or Pet Carrier

Your canine and feline friends can be naturally curious in times of pest treatment. This can also lead them much closer to danger since they have a much more perceptive sense of smell.

Keep your pets at safe distance from the harmful chemicals used on ant infestation treatment through a kennel or pet carrier. 

​Contain in Untreated Room

If a kennel or pet carrier is not possible, you can still secure your pets inside a room that is not scheduled for treatment.

However, make sure that another member of the family keeps them company to make sure that they don't suffer any adverse affects during the treatment process. 

​Use Damp Towel

​How about your reptilian, feathery, and scaly friends?

You can simply cover the cage or aquarium with damp towel. The subtle amount of moisture or water in the towel will act as a smoke screen which prevents airborne chemicals from penetrating the barrier into your pet's home.

​What to Do When the Exterminator Leaves

Before the exterminator leaves, be sure to ask him or her when it is safe to reenter the treated area. As soon as the coast is clear, conduct an after-treatment inspection throughout the area. If you have food that was left uncovered before the inspection, it's best to discard it right away.

What you can (or must) do after treatment also depends on the type of approach the exterminator used to solve your ant infestation problem. If spraying aerosol insecticide was involved, for example, it usually takes around 3 to 6 hours before indoor air becomes safe for re-entry.

Observe previously identified spots of infestation for a couple of days. If there is still ant activity in those areas, never hesitate to give your ant exterminator a follow-up call.

Should you tell your neighbors anything?

Your neighbors deserve to know everything as far as ant infestations are concerned.

Surviving ants will most likely venture to the nearest safe spots to re-establish their colony and your next door neighbors could be the perfect candidates. Informing them first hand will give them a fair warning and come up with precautionary measures to prevent ants from invading their homes in the future. 

Not only could your neighbors be the target for a new infestation, but the chemicals present in the insecticides used during your treatment process are close enough to concern them, too. By giving your neighbors a heads-up about your treatment plan, you're doing the right thing in not only letting them know about a possible infestation, but preparing them for the big day when the exterminator comes out to use the insecticides.

The Bottom Line

When you've got ants, it may seem like a pretty insignificant problem. After all, they're so tiny—how much harm can they really cause?

The shocking truth: a lot. And the longer you wait to call in a qualified pest control specialist, the more damage these pesky pests can do to your food supply at best... and to your home's structure at worst. 

With our guide, you can inform yourself and knock out your ant problem with the help of a qualified professional. Don't live with these uninvited guests longer than you have to!

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