How much does it cost to hire an ant exterminator?
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Ant Exterminator Cost Guide
Updated: 11 Feb 2022
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Irene Pomares remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
For many people, there is no worse sign of a dirty or unkept home than the infiltration of pests such as ants. If you find ants indoors, you’ll also likely find them outside as well. For the majority of ants, this typically isn’t a problem, but if you have fire or carpenter ants you may want to deal with the nests or mounds as well to prevent them from getting indoors.
The cost to exterminate ants ranges between $200 and $300, with the average homeowner spending $250 on general ant treatment excluding fire and carpenter ants of a 2,000 sq.ft. house. Pricing can be as high as $1,200 for carpenter ant extermination for both treatment and remediation of a home over 3,000 sq. ft. At the lowest, you’ll pay $150 for general treatment on an area under 2,000 sq. ft. that isn’t affected by species like carpenter ants.
Pest Control for Ants
|Ant Exterminator Prices|
|National average cost||$250|
Ant Extermination Cost per Square Foot
One method professional exterminators may use to charge for their services is to base their price on the size of the house. Larger houses mean more places for bugs to hide, which means the exterminator must use more product and spend more time treating the overall home. Although prices change depending on the size of the home, the square footage does not have the most significant impact on price.
Difficult species of ants push costs to the high end of the average range. Less invasive species result in lower costs. For example, eliminating fire ants from a 1,000 sq.ft. house may cost $170, while removing carpenter ants may cost $250.
|Home Size||Average Cost|
|500 sq.ft.||$150 - $200|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$170 - $250|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$200 - $300|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$240 - $350|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$300 - $500|
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Ant Control Cost by Method
The type of extermination method that you or your exterminator will use is largely based on the type of ant and where the infestation is located. A thorough cleaning, keeping food sealed up and shut away, and sealing up any cracks in your home are all necessary to avoid the ants returning after they have been killed.
|Barrier Spray||$80 - $120|
|Mound Control||$100 - $250|
|Poisoned Bait||$120 - $200|
|Two-Step Method||$600 - $900|
|Fumigation||$1,700 - $3,150|
A barrier spray is a repellent treatment that costs between $80 and $120. Professionals use barrier sprays to prevent additional infestations from occurring after treating the home with bait traps and other methods that kill the existing infestation. Your exterminator may use a spray repellent during monthly or quarterly visits. Some of the places your exterminator may place repellents include near drains, under the stove or refrigerator, and around kitchen cabinets.
Treating an ant mound costs $100 to $120, with the cost hovering at $5 for a single mound. Treating mounds is an effective method for killing fire species and requires that the exterminator drill into the mound and apply a chemical powder that kills the queen and destabilizes the colony. Your exterminator may use this method in conjunction with bait traps. Mound treatments should start to work immediately but can take up to a week or longer for the colony's queen to die.
Bait traps cost $120 to $200 and are one of the most popular options for eliminating ant infestations from the home. Bait traps allow ants to carry poison back to their colonies, where it can kill more of them. Bait traps take about a week to reach full effectiveness and may require repeat visits for total ant eradication. Difficult ant infestations may require that your exterminator visits quarterly to set out new traps and collect the old traps.
The two-step method costs between $600 and $900. Attacking a pest problem from multiple angles offers the best chance of success when fighting ants. Your exterminator may use bait traps with a barrier or repellent to keep them from returning to the home after they have carried the bait to their nests. Another two-step option combines mound control and bait traps. Larger infestations often require that your ant exterminator uses multiple eradication techniques to conquer the invasion. The two-step method pairs well with a monthly or quarterly visitation schedule.
When other methods fail, your exterminator might recommend fumigation. A severe infestation may take time to eradicate, and fumigation might offer a faster solution. Given the extensive work required to fumigate an entire home, you can expect the cost to range from $1,700 to $3,150 for a 2,000 sq.ft. property. In addition to the higher price, fumigation requires that you vacate the home for three days to a week because the exterminator must seal your home to fumigate it.
Ant Treatment Cost by Frequency
The frequency of treatment through an exterminator dictates the average price for getting rid of ants. A one-time treatment means they will only offer their services once. Pest control companies also offer contracts that allow homeowners the option to schedule routine service appointments. Routine extermination appointments are a necessity for those who want to prevent any infestations. More frequent service appointments come at a discounted rate compared to one-time treatment visits. Professionals will normally recommend one-time treatment for a small infestation, or extermination on small properties. They will recommend a contract-based treatment for a severe, recurring infestation, or large properties. The following are the average costs for the treatment of a 2,000 sq.ft. home. These costs refer to the total amount that the homeowner will pay at the end of the year. For example, if you hire a yearly contract, you will pay $100-$200 and the extermination company will only come once during the year, while a monthly contract ($900-$1,200) will mean that you will get these visits once a month.
|Frequency||Average Cost per Year (2,000 Sq.Ft. House)|
|Yearly Contract||$100 - $200|
|One-Time Visit||$200 - $300|
|Quarterly Contract||$400 - $500|
|Monthly Contract||$900 - $1,200|
Average Price for Ant Extermination by Level of Infestation
The cost of extermination can also depend on the level of ant infestation. The level of infestation will determine how much labor and expertise are required, the method, and the duration of extermination. A given level of ant infestation depends on how long they have infested your property.
|Level of Infestation||Average Cost|
|Small||$150 - $300|
|Medium||$300 - $500|
|Large||$400 - $700|
|Severe||$800 - $1,200|
If you catch an invasion when it first starts, you will only need to pay $150 to $300 for a small infestation. The only caveat is that a small infestation is hard to notice, so you might not see the ants until there is a bigger problem. Your exterminator generally employs bait traps and some pesticides during their visit.
When ants gain a foothold in your home and start to multiply, you will pay between $300 and $500 to eliminate the infestation. A medium infestation means you will notice some species walking around your home, as well as some droppings (or "frass") in some areas. Your exterminator might need to visit a few times to finish the job but will provide you with an all-inclusive price before starting work.
You will pay between $400 and $700 to get rid of a large infestation in your home. For example, when you start to see mounds appearing in your yard, there is a good chance you have been hit by a large fire ant infestation. Expect to pay a minimum of $100 to $120 for follow-up visits. A contract with your exterminator might reduce your costs.
With a severe infestation, you will pay your exterminator between $800 and $1,200 to get rid of the problem. When ants take over in a severe infestation, you will notice them everywhere, and they may become more than a daily annoyance or nuisance. A severe infestation may represent a health hazard to your family. According to a study published in AIMS Microbiology, ants may harbor disease-causing organisms and transfer those pathogens to food.
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Ant Extermination Prices by Type of Ant
Around the world, ant species vary dramatically in size and temperament, but homeowners in the United States tend to see one of five types of ants during an infestation. Common species include fire, carpenter, Pharaoh, and sugar species (also known as little black ants).
If you grew up with one of these types regularly invading your home, it is easy to identify the start of an infestation. However, a quick Google image search helps you determine what type of insect invader has made a home in your home.
|Fire||$100 - $300|
|Little Black (Sugar)||$200 - $250|
|Pharaoh||$200 - $250|
|Argentine||$200 - $300|
|Carpenter||$250 - $500|
Fire Ant Extermination
It costs about $100 to $300 to exterminate fire species. Although they can be found throughout the US, they are more common in the southern states. They are usually red, but may be brown and have a darker abdomen. They range in size from ⅛-inch to ¼-inch with mounds as tall as 7 inches. The bugs become less active during the day when temperatures are at their highest. This type is also known to sting.
Carpenter Ant Treatment
It will cost you about $250 to $500 to get carpenter ants. They can be winged and unwinged of varying size, typically black, and can be found throughout the US, but most common in wooded, rural areas. They do not sting. However, they are the most expensive to control as they can come back. They are frequently mistaken for termites since they both cause structural damage to wood. However, termites consume wood while carpenter ants bore through wood to make nests.
Sugar Ant Control
It costs about $200 to $250 to get rid of sugar ants--very small black species, 1/16 inch in size. Their coloring is notable because it distinguishes between male and female. Male sugar ants are all black, while the females have an orange coloring. They seek out sweets, such as honey and spilled juice. They tend to invade pantries. They can be found throughout the US, and are most common in July and August.
Pharaoh Ant Control
It costs about $200 to $250 to control pharaoh ants. They are small and usually found in or around the human habitat. They are about 1/16 inches in size and have colors varying from yellow, yellow-brown, and light red. Pharaoh species are a nuisance in buildings and also contaminate food and medicine processing.
Argentine Ant Control
You should budget about $200 to $300 for professional Argentine ant control services. This type is commonly found in southern US states. Their color is light brown to black, and they are about ⅓-inch long. The ants are a wingless species and have 12 segmented antennae that help with pest control identification. When crushed, these ants give off a musty odor.
Average Cost of Ant Extermination by Location
If you catch your infestation early, your exterminator may only need to treat a single area or two during the visit. Some rooms or areas may cost more because of how the ants hide. Other areas cost less because of their easy accessibility for your exterminator. Prices for single room extermination start as low as $80 for a place like a pantry and increase up to $600 for a large attic.
You might only need a single, quick visit to rid your pantry of ants because it is very easy to remove the contaminated food. After treatment, you can prevent re-infestations by keeping everything tightly sealed and cleaned. On the other hand, getting rid of ants in the bedroom can take multiple visits because of the ease with which ants hide in clothing and the fact that you normally cannot just throw away all your clothes to get rid of the them (like you might with the contaminated food in the pantry).
Some of the rooms and areas that get the most expensive to fully treat include the attic, garage, bedroom, basement, and foundation, as well as infestations inside walls. A large, lush lawn can also mean a more expensive treatment cost because of the amount of product needed to cover the yard fully. On the low end, you will pay $100 to $150 for treating these areas and pay between $500 and $600 for the most difficult jobs.
|Kitchen||$80 - $300|
|Pantry||$80 - $300|
|Carpet||$100 - $300|
|Shed||$100 - $300|
|Plant Pots||$100 - $350|
|Walls||$100 - $500|
|Lawn||$100 - $500|
|Bathroom||$100 - $600|
|Garage||$100 - $600|
|Window Frame||$125 - $400|
|Ceiling||$125 - $500|
|Heating Ducts||$135 - $350|
|Floorboards||$150 - $350|
|Basement||$150 - $500|
|Attic||$150 - $600|
|Under House Foundation||$175 - $500|
|Bedroom||$200 - $500|
Ant Control Cost by Company
Ant control costs vary from company to company. Along with private local pest control operations, you can locate a franchise that serves your region. Nationwide companies provide a zip code that allows you to contact local technicians. The following are two well-known providers of ant control.
|Company||Average Cost for One-Time Visit|
|Terminix||$200 - $350|
|Orkin||$225 - $400|
Terminix Cost for Ants
Terminix will cost an average of $200 for traditional treatment and $350 for premium treatment. Terminix control cost depends on the type of ant identified on your property. Standard types can be treated at a lower Terminix price with a package for ant control. This package treats field, pavement, ghost, and house species. Four types of them require premium treatment from Terminix and include the fire, carpenter, pharaoh, and crazy ant. Terminix follows a protocol of inspecting the property, treating the property, and maintaining an ant-free environment.
Orkin Prices for Ants
Orkin control cost will be around $225 to $400. The Orkin control cost depends on the treatment plan recommended by the professional during the inspection process. Inspections are included with treatment cost and used to identify the type of ant and assess the difficulty of the infestation area. Types such as fire and carpenter cost more to treat than house and pavement species. Orkin prices increase in hard-to-treat areas such as bedrooms, basements, and attics. The Orkin process includes inspecting common areas that ants could be hiding, developing a treatment plan, and returning for a follow-up visit to confirm extermination.
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All About Ants
Ants are a common pest that can be found in numerous homes and buildings - even those that are clean and sanitary. They are typically found near sources of food. For the majority of the ants, you’ll find indoors, this means on counters, on the floor beneath tables and chairs, inside cabinets, and anywhere food crumbs may typically be dropped.
Carpenter ants may also be found inside your window casings, baseboards, attic, and any other areas where there is both abundant wood and easy access from the outdoors. Outdoor species usually build a mound in the field or your yard.
There are worker and reproductive ants in a colony. Reproductive ants include the queen and male ants. It is usually hard to spot the queen as it stays in the nest for most of the time. The worker ants are the ones that cause nuisance and damage as they look for food and build the colony nest.
Other Common Ants
In addition to seeing common ant species like carpenter and fire ants, your home may also experience an invasion from lesser-known species like rover, pavement, or harvester species.
Small rover ants, large field ants, and shiny grease ants will usually cost between $150 and $160 to exterminate. Extermination costs get more expensive when you have an infestation of acrobat, citronella, or pavement species. You might find acrobat ants in a moist nest if you have a water leak in your home, while you might see pavement ants if you live in an urban area with lots of pavement. These and other ant species like moisture and odorous house ants cost between $200 and $250 to exterminate.
Species like Allegheny mound, ghost, and harvester ants usually cost $250 to $300 to exterminate. Ghost ants are quite tiny and only measure about 1/16 of an inch. Meanwhile, harvester ants are larger and reach up to 1/2-inch in length.
Are Ants Dangerous?
Ants are attracted by things such as warmth, food particles, and in the case of carpenter ants, even your home’s structure. Any ant can bite, and while they don’t carry diseases, they can contaminate food, and, according to the CDC, some species of fire ant can be dangerous for young children and the elderly. Those with health issues as their stings can be painful or cause negative reactions. They can also impact your garden, decrease the amount of wildlife nearby, and in the case of carpenter ants may even do severe damage to your home.
Odorous species will affect the scent of your home when they infest the surrounding area and especially inside it. They will excrete a nasty odor when they are threatened or crushed. Furthermore, odorous ants infest food and contaminate it. They carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and more. According to the University of California, these bacteria can be transferred through food or an open wound to humans through certain species of ants. However, the risk is relatively low, with the exception of ants found in developing countries.
Can Ants Damage Your Home?
Ants can cause damage to your home. The type of damage usually depends on the type of ant. However, nuisance is a common factor for all ants in your home. For example, pavement species have sheer numbers and crawl onto food, counters, and other common areas in our home.
Pavement and carpenter species prefer to stay outside and are less likely to infest food compared to odorous species. However, carpenter ants do cause structural damage to your home—the tunnel through wood to establish their nests. Carpenter ants prefer cool areas and decaying wood. You can find them in bathrooms, under kitchen sinks and other areas. They can cause major structural damage to your home, but that will take years.
Signs of Ant Infestation
There are multiple signs of ant infestation. The most basic sign is sighting worker ants in your house. They could be on the sink looking for water, in the garbage, pantry, or on dirty dishes looking for food.
However, ants sighting also depends on the time of day and season. In warm weather like summer, the ants are most active after dark. They are inactive in cool weather except when they nest in a heated part of the house. In spring or early summer, homeowners can spot swarmers around the house or inside. The swarmers inside the house usually congregate on the windows.
Homeowners also spot frass near wood with an infestation. The frass looks like sawdust, but it is very fibrous and has ant fragments. If the ants infest decayed wood, the frass will be darker, and the fragments will have a square shape. Frass can be found in areas like attics, basements, dark closets, under porches, and other places.
Moreover, with minimum background noise, people can hear gnawing or rustling sounds on the wood where ants are nesting. Another sign of ant infestation is failure of wood after excessive stress like a wind storm, moving heavy furniture, or accumulation of heavy snow on the roof.
When to Call an Exterminator for Ants
When to call pest control for ants depends on several key factors. Seeing live ants on your property doesn’t automatically mean you need professional assistance. A few ants by your doorways don’t necessitate a call to an exterminator. You may only see a few stray ants from time to time and use DIY methods to prevent the pests from returning. However, in some cases, you should contact pest control specialists immediately.
For one, if ants seen on your property sting, like fire species, you should enlist the help of an exterminator. Fire ant bites are painful, and the insects will continue to sting, especially if threatened. Another reason to call an exterminator for ants is if anyone in the home has an allergy to bug bites.
Another reason to call an exterminator is if you’re experiencing a large-scale infestation. DIY treatments may have proven ineffective, and you may have seen swarms of ants on multiple occasions. The presence of ants on multiple occasions indicates the possibility of the pests causing structural damage.
Pet Safe Ant Control
Many exterminators today recommend or use “green” or non-toxic pesticides to control the ants. These are particularly important if you have children or pets in your home. Typically there is no additional cost, as most exterminators have already made the switch. On average, you’ll pay between $175 and $325 to use treatment products that are safe for children and pets.
Most pest control companies offer natural remedies, including baits and pesticides made from non-toxic ingredients. Pet-friendly control ensures that none of the products used will be toxic if ingested by cats or dogs. Pet-safe treatment ingredients include Diatomaceous Earth, D-Limonene, and Borax. Companies may not advertise to all customers the option to choose natural remedies that are safe for pets. Inquire about pest control options before booking a service appointment. Some eco-friendly methods made from botanical ingredients may be less effective, although better for your pet’s health. Most companies offer pet-safe treatments but may recommend traditional control products initially.
How to Prevent Ants
In many cases, simply eradicating the existing species is not enough to stop them from coming back. You also need to do some kind of preventative control. When an ant enters your home for the first time, it is looking for food. If it finds some, it leaves an invisible trail from the food source to its colony for other ants to follow. They enter through very small cracks and crevices, so it is important not just to kill them currently in your home but to eradicate their trail and seal up any cracks or crevices with caulk to ensure they cannot re-enter.
After your exterminator completes their work, keep all surfaces clean, and food containers sealed to prevent reinfestation. That means keeping the counters free of crumbs and cleaning dirty dishes immediately after using them. Soapy water is best for cleaning spills and removing crumbs. Try to empty the garbage frequently and sweep the floors each day. Further steps you can take to prevent a return infestation include fixing leaks and getting rid of damp wood in and around the home. You should also seal cracks in the foundation and around the windows and doorways.
Termite vs Ant Control Cost
Ants and termites may wreak havoc on your home, and both types of infestations require immediate attention. You can tell the difference between an ant or termite infestation by examining what they leave behind. Termites leave dust and debris all over after consuming the wood in your home, while ants create tunnels inside the wood and don't leave a significant mess.
Your exterminator will use different elimination methods based on the type of pest he or she finds in your home. There is also a difference in the extermination methods and the cost of extermination for termites and ants. Professional ant exterminators will use approaches like mound control, poisoned bait, and chemical spray treatment. On the other hand, professional termite extermination methods include baiting, liquid termiticide, Micro treatment, heat foam sprays, and fumigation.
Termites usually cost more to exterminate than ants. The average cost for a termite exterminator is $300 to $1,200, and an ant exterminator ranges from $200 to $300.
|Pest Type||Average Cost|
|Ants||$200 - $300|
|Termites||$300 - $1,200|
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Enhancement and Improvement Costs
General Pest Control Treatment
A general pest treatment involves some kind of chemical spray which kills not only most types of ants but other types of insects nearby. Usually, your foundation and other typical areas of entry are sprayed. However, it does not work on carpenter or fire species and does not stop them from coming back. You should pay $300 for general pest treatment.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Travel fees. When hiring contractors, you need to consider the cost of travel. Most service providers will add a travel fee if they perform extermination outside their geographical scope of operations. Travel fees usually include fuel, transportation, and employee work time costs. Travel fees ultimately depend on your location.
- DIY. You may want to try getting the infestation under control yourself. There are numerous DIY methods available, many of which cost significantly less than professional treatment. These include cleaning with vinegar or sprinkling cayenne pepper along the cracks and edges of rooms. Keep in mind that these methods may not prevent reinfestation if not used continuously, particularly during the early summer months.
- Guarantees. Few exterminators offer guarantees for getting rid of ants. If you have a severe infestation, your best bet may be the two-step method followed by monthly maintenance to help ensure the ants do not return.
- IPM. IPM stands for "integrated pest management" and is a method where your exterminator employs pest control solutions that are not harmful to the environment or people. This method is often used to rid houses of ant infestations.
- Handyman. At some point in the process, your exterminator might recommend the services of a handyman at a rate of $50 to $100 an hour to seal wall cracks and window gaps, ideal entry points for ants. Your exterminator may also recommend that you set up recurring maintenance visits to prevent a return of the infestation.
- Is it worth getting an exterminator for ants?
You might not need an exterminator for a few sugar ants on your countertop. However, even small numbers of carpenter or fire species may need an exterminator to prevent an infestation from taking hold.
- What does an exterminator do for ants?
An exterminator will first come to your property to identify the type of ant that has infested your home. The professional will also look for signs of infestation in different areas of the home to determine where to apply treatment products. The exterminator will then apply any pesticides and return for subsequent visits to determine if they have been eradicated.
- How long does it take for ants to go away after an exterminator?
Infestations can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to die off. For most pesticide applications, the ants will perish within 48 hours of exposure.
- How can you get rid of ants?
The most common method of getting rid of ants is to remove their food source, then use poisoned bait to kill both the species in your home and in the nest.
- How do you get rid of tiny ants?
The most common way to get rid of sugar or little black ants is to remove their food source by thoroughly cleaning your home, then using poisoned bait to kill the remaining ants and nest.
- How do you get rid of ants in your kitchen?
Ants are drawn to the kitchen in search of food. Removing the food source by putting away food and cleaning up crumbs will help rid your kitchen of ants. Poisoned bait can help kill any remaining ants.
- How do you control ants?
There are many methods of controlling ants including removing their food source, using poisoned bait, chemical sprays, and monthly treatments by an exterminator.
- How much do exterminators cost for ants?
The cost of professional ant extermination is around $250, but can go as high as $1,200 including ongoing treatment.
- Can Terminix get rid of ants?
Terminix has a service to rid homes of ants, including monthly contracts with repeat visits.
- What are carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants are winged ants of varying sizes which eat the wood in your home’s framing and foundation.
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