As a customer, having pest control companies vying for your business at the same time can be a good thing. But it can also raise some questions. To help answer those questions, we reviewed three of the largest exterminators: Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive.
Here, we'll guide you through each company's unique attributes and what makes them so successful. In the process, you'll learn what their strengths and weaknesses are as well as what each one charges for its services.
$420 - $560
$350 - $550
$400 - $700
Terminix was founded in 1927 by E.L. Bruce, a hardwood floor manufacturer from Memphis, TN. One day, he got fed up with termites damaging his wood products.
So, he started the Bruce Terminix Research Laboratory headed by chemist Frank Lyons. In 1932 the lab created the first termiticide, and the company, Bruce Terminix, was born.
Soon, the residential pest controller was offering annual termite contracts. Next came the advancement to full-blown pest control provider.
In 1968, Bruce Terminix was bought by Cook Industries. Later, in 1986, it was sold to ServiceMaster Holdings which shortened the name to Terminix. By October 2020, the company changed hands again, being sold to Roark Capital, which later changed its name to Terminix Global Holdings, Inc.
Today, Terminix operates in 47 states and 22 countries worldwide. It not only takes care of termites but also bed bugs, mosquitos, rodents, ants, and cockroaches. The company has Ph.D. entomologists on staff, and its technician training is some of the best in the world.
Based in Atlanta, GA, Orkin is a subsidiary of Rollins Corporation. It was founded in 1901 by Otto Orkin, a door-to-door rat poison salesman from Walnutport, Pennsylvania. And with his new company, the pest control industry was born.
Otto Orkin was no ordinary salesperson. He wanted to revolutionize the way the public perceived pest control. So, he billed his services as being part of proper sanitation measures.
And it worked. Otto began to travel outside the state to promote his new pest control business. His big break came a few years later when he received a government contract for extermination services. He later settled on Atlanta for Orkin's headquarters, which is where it is to this day.
Orkin was sold to Rollins Inc. in 1964, and a new era of pest control began. The first order of business was technician training. Any lapses in employee education were quickly resolved.
And today, Orkin is carrying on that tradition with its state-of-the-art training facility in Atlanta. It boasts a 28,000 square-foot campus complete with mock hotel rooms, hospitals, and schools. The idea is to give the new technician a taste of the real world.
In the competitive world of pest control services, Aptive is the new kid on the block. Regardless, it's making up for it by establishing several new satellite offices in the US each year.
Founded in 2016 in Provo, UT, Aptive Environmental achieved a record-breaking year for growth in 2020. And it doesn't look like the momentum will stop anytime soon.
According to Aptive's founder and chairman, David Royce, the company's mission is to deliver environmentally-responsible pest control to both commercial and residential markets nationwide. He owes the company's exponential growth to its customer-focused strategies coupled with aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns.
Aptive is also highly involved with local community outreach and is a member of the EPA's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.
In addition, its employees gave over $1 million to charities last year. One of the most notable was United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets program. This international organization raises money to help reduce the spread of malaria by supplying mosquito netting for residents of third-world countries.
Below is a table showing what type of pests each of the three companies covers. It's listed by provider for easy reference. Just skim down the column for each company to find the corresponding pest.
Bed Bug Removal
Bed bugs are small lentil-colored, parasitic insects that feed off of human and animal blood. Each company has unique methods for controlling this difficult pest. Here are some of the bed bug treatment programs offered.
The technicians at Terminix prefer to utilize an integrated strategy when getting rid of bed bugs. First, an initial inspection is completed to identify the level of infestation. Then, a meeting with the residents or homeowners is conducted to offer a free quote.
In most situations where the bed bugs are isolated to one room, and the infestation is low, a bed bug removal price of under $500 can be expected. But if it is a multiple dwelling, such as an apartment complex, the cost for eradicating bed bugs can climb to $1500 or more.
Once the inspection and identification are complete, the technician will prep the room by ensuring all bedsheets and clothing are removed from the area. Afterward, there will be either a fog treatment or an EPA-approved contact spray applied directly to the nesting areas.
Although there are several options for eradicating bed bugs, Orkin chooses an alternative approach. Its technicians utilize a thermal heating system to raise the room temperature between 135° F and 145° F. This is usually enough to kill bed bugs within 90 minutes.
When using thermal treatments, all occupants and pets need to vacate the premises. Also, personal items that may be damaged at temperatures above 150° F need to be removed.
It usually takes between four to eight hours to complete the treatment. During that time, the technician will remotely monitor temperature sensors previously placed throughout the home. Once it is all finished, the dead bugs are vacuumed up, and a residual baseboard spray is performed around the perimeter of the room.
The cost for the treatment can be anywhere from $500 to $1500. However, it may be much more in a hospital or school setting. In those cases, the institution can expect to pay $2,000 to $5,000 or higher.
Although Aptive typically employs traditional methods for removing bed bugs, their technicians rely on effective communication with the customer. The priority is to know how extensive the problem is. Next, it is essential to isolate the infestations by removing any affected clothing and bedding materials.
Crack and crevice treatments using boric acid are usually effective in treating bed bugs long term. But a knockdown spray containing permethrin may be what's needed at the beginning. Then, a residual treatment will be used to ensure these nasty pests don't return.
Aptive charges between $500 and $1500 for bed bug services depending on the infestation level. Also, their pricing will hinge on whether it's a residential treatment or part of a commercial contract. In addition, the square footage may be factored into the cost.
Termites are a challenging pest problem for most of the US. There is a treatment plan for every type, but it depends on the pest management provider. Here, we'll show you how each of the three pest control companies conducts their termite treatment programs.
Foam treatment options used by Terminix are the latest high-tech advancement for the pest control industry. It works for both termites and carpenter ants. And it tends to be safer for the environment and the local area around a home or business.
The idea is to fill wall voids with foaming insecticides like Termidor to set up a barrier against wood-destroying pests. And it's particularly helpful for controlling the far-reaching Formosan termite.
As a follow-up treatment or preventative measure, Terminix will employ the use of Sentricon bait stations. These small, in-ground containers attract termite colonies away from the structure so that control may be realized long-term.
The average cost for this type of service is between $1500 and $5,000, depending on the structure's size and the level of infestation. And although Terminix doesn't typically offer a money-back guarantee, it will allow call-backs under its warranty program.
Orkin is one of the few pest control companies in the US that will treat drywood termites. This species does not need contact with the ground so that they can remain elevated in a home or office building. As a result, they sometimes have to be treated using tent fumigation.
This technique involves wrapping the entire structure in tarps or tent material and then fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride. It indeed kills termites, but this type of treatment has some downsides:
- All occupants and pests have to evacuate the structure for several days
- It's not the healthiest for the environment
- The cost can be as high as $10,000 or more
Subterranean termites are somewhat easier to treat. They require constant contact with the ground, so a liquid barrier treatment around the perimeter will usually suffice. Termite Control Costs for this type of service are typically between $2,000 and $3,000.
Aptive is one of the few pest control providers that will agree to do a spot treatment for termites. This is because the company is not equipped to do full-service termite eradication yet.
However, you may have a small wooden structure or barn in the backyard that's infested with subterranean termites. In this case, Aptive may be willing to help. It can usually spot-treat the area using termiticides to reduce the effects of termite damage.
And you may save a lot of money in the process. Spot treatments usually run a lot less than foam injections, trench barriers, or tent fumigation methods. Instead of paying several thousands of dollars, it could be less than a few hundred dollars.
Mosquitoes in the US carry diseases such as equine and West Nile viruses. That's why their control is so important. The following section will give you an idea of the various mosquito control methods offered by Terminix, Orkin, and Aptive.
The technicians at Terminix start with a microbial insecticide to reduce the mosquito's breeding environment. Next, a spray barrier is set up to repel any remaining adult insects. Then, a preventative treatment with insect growth regulators is utilized to keep mosquitoes away for good.
A one-time mosquito treatment will usually be around $150. But an ongoing mosquito plan is available for $60 per month. Unfortunately, it's not available in all areas of the US.
For commercial control of mosquitoes and other flying pests, there's no better exterminator than Orkin. Its full-service approach gives it a distinctive edge when it comes to Orkin vs. Terminix vs. Aptive.
What sets Orkin apart from the others concerning mosquito control is the willingness to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. This may even include leasing fly and mosquito traps to its customers. Or it could simply mean the technician doing a little extra to make sure mosquitoes don't show up at the next outdoor barbeque.
However, one-time mosquito protection plans are available. Fees of $10 to $20 will sometimes be imposed as an addition to existing protection plans. Or a one-time price of around $150 may be charged.
Like termite control, Aptive is not generally known for its mosquito service. But that doesn't mean it's useless.
For example, during a regular visit, the technician may offer some advice on sanitation measures to keep mosquito populations down. Or there may be an occasion to use handheld aerosol sprays to get a local area under control.
Whatever the case, Aptive technicians are highly-trained in all categories of pest control operations.
Ticks are parasitic insects that require a blood meal either from animal or human hosts. Like mosquitoes, they carry diseases that can have serious health consequences. Here are some of the ways they can be conquered.
Instead of the widespread application of pesticides, Terminix takes an eco-friendly approach to tick eradication. It uses boric acids and other earth-based materials. This makes it generally safer for children, pets, and the environment.
The cost for tick treatment from Terminix is between $150 and $300. And most of the treatment is conducted indoors. However, a perimeter spray application is often used for long-term control.
Sometimes stronger measures are needed to control ticks and fleas in wide-open spaces like yards and gardens. That's where Orkin comes in. With its heavy-duty power equipment, the technician can treat large areas, maintaining control better than spot treatments.
But once inside, traditional pesticides are put away in favor of earth-based borates and naturally-occurring diatomaceous earth. Even though these substances are safer for families, they pack a vicious punch for ticks and fleas.
The cost for large tick jobs from Orkin can be anywhere from $300 and up, depending on the square footage. However, indoor treatments may be included in a general pest control agreement.
Aptive uses a similar approach as Terminix when treating for ticks. However, there may be some differences since Aptive technicians often have more discretion.
For example, the technician may opt for a knockdown treatment when controlling ticks and fleas. Also, they may decide that an inside perimeter baseboard spray application may be needed. Or they may opt for a crack and crevice injection of boric acid instead.
Whatever the method, expect to pay around $200 for a one-time visit to get rid of fleas and ticks. However, this service is not available in all parts of the US.
Average Cost Comparison
The average price range for pest control from Terminix is $420 to $560 per year for a general pest control plan. This includes common pests such as cockroaches, spiders, and ants.
Bed bug treatments average $500 for a home between 2,000 and 3,000 sq ft. And termite treatments cost between $2,500 and $3,800.
Orkin's annual contracts run from $350 to $550 per year, while bed bug treatments cost $500 or more.
Termite jobs typically range from $1700 up to $3500. However, tent fumigations may be as high as $10,000 or more.
Prices for Aptive may be a little harder to pin down. It can vary substantially between branch offices. Still, expect to pay between $400 and $720 per year for general pest control services.
Bed bugs and other specialty pests can be as high as $1500. Follow-up services such as termite spot treatments, mosquitoes, and ticks can be between $200 and $800.
In terms of cost, Orkin appears to have a slight advantage, which is likely due to its innovative approaches and years of pest control industry experience. But don't count the other two out.
While Terminix is the most expensive out of the three, it has a solid reputation for delivering quality termite control. It also brings to the table the highest level of expertise in pest management with customer follow-up and a commitment to excellence.
Although Aptive doesn't have the experience of the other two, it's a company that's out to prove itself. So, it's willing to go the extra mile. And for that, you have to admire it.