Ant Exterminator Cost

The cost of hiring an ant exterminator is $250​.

In this guide

Common types of ants
Controlling an ant infestation
Extermination methods
Labor
Prevention
Enhancements
Additional Considerations
FAQ

How much does it cost to hire an ant exterminator?

For many people, there is no worse sign of a dirty or unkept home than the infiltration of pests such as ants. Unfortunately, ants are a common pest that can be found in numerous homes and buildings - even those that are clean and sanitary. 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 a serious problem for young children, the elderly, and those with health issues as their stings can be painful or cause negative reactions. Ants can also impact your garden, decrease the amount of wildlife nearby, and in the case of carpenter ants may even do serious damage to your home.

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.

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 ants or carpenter ants you may want to deal with the nests or mounds as well to prevent them from getting indoors.

On average, the cost of a general ant treatment excluding fire and carpenter ants in a 3,000 sq.ft. house is $250.

Common types of ants

There are numerous species of ants in the world, but most people living in the US will see a few of the more common ones on a regular basis. No ant is good to have indoors, but a few are more harmless than others; identifying which ant you have will help you get the most effective treatment to be rid of them:

Ant TypeWhat They Look LikeWhere They Live
Odorous House AntBrown/black ant about ⅛-inch long. Give off an unpleasant rotten coconut odor when crushedThroughout the US, but less common in desert areas
Argentine AntLight brown to black ⅛-inch long. Give off a musty odor when crushedSouthern US states
Carpenter AntsWinged and un-winged ants of varying size typically blackThroughout the US, but most common in wooded, rural areas
Fire AntUsually red, but may be brown, have a darker abdomenThroughout the US, but more common in Southern states
Little Black Ant (sugar ant)Very small black ants 1/16-inch in sizeThroughout the US, most common in July and August
Grease Ant (thief ant)Very small shiny ants, 1/16-inch in size, with two distinct segmentsThroughout the US

Controlling an ant infestation

When an ant enters your home for the first time, it’s looking for food. If it finds some, it leaves a trail from the food source back to its colony for other ants to follow. This is in part what makes it so difficult to get rid of the ants; this trail is invisible to the human eye. Ants can enter through very small cracks and crevices as well, so it’s important not just to kill the ants currently in your home, but to eradicate their trail and seal up any cracks or crevices with caulk 1 to ensure they cannot re enter.

Extermination methods

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:

  • Mound Control/Dust and Drill: this is one of the more effective methods at controlling fire ants. Using the mound control method, your exterminator will drill into the mound, then apply a chemical powder that will eliminate the queen and colony inside. This method is usually used in conjunction with other, interior methods.
  • Poisoned Bait: one interior control method involves leaving poisoned bait in the areas of your home the ants are most likely to use entering and exiting. The ants carry the bait back to their nests where it can help to kill not only the carriers but the other ants as well.
  • General Pest Treatment: a general pest treatment involves some kind of chemical spray which kills not only the ants, but other types of insects nearby. Usually your foundation and other typical areas of entry are sprayed.
  • Monthly Treatments: if you have a serious problem with ants, you may require monthly treatments. This may include any of the other methods done on a monthly or quarterly basis to control the ant population.
  • Two-Step Method: the two-step method involves both mound control and some kind of either spray or poisoned bait to both control the colonies and eradicate the ants inside at the same time.
Extermination MethodProsHow Effective Is ItCost
Mound Control (Dust and drill)Effective at controlling fire antsVery time consuming and difficult to ensure you got all the mounds$2 per mound
Poisoned BaitEffective at controlling most types of antsCan take up to 7 days to work, must repeat frequently to prevent reinfestation$150
General Pest Treatment (spray)Effectively eliminates most types of antsDoes not work on carpenter or fire ants/Does not stop ants from coming back$260
Monthly TreatmentEffectively treats ongoing problemsDoes not work on carpenter or fire ants$80 initial treatment followed by $30 monthly ($440/year)
Two-Step method (bait and mound)Effective at controlling fire antsExpensive, may still miss some antsUp to $1,000

Labor

A typical visit from an exterminator will last one to two hours, and will cost from $150 to $1000 for the treatment, depending on the type of ant. You may require more than one treatment, and your exterminator may recommend the services of a handyman at a rate of $60 to $90 an hour to seal up any cracks in or around your home where ants are getting in.

Prevention

In many cases, simply eradicating the existing ants is not enough to stop them from coming back; you also need to do some kind of preventative control. If this is a serious problem, having a monthly service may help. Otherwise, you can take the following steps to prevent the ants from returning:

  • Lock up any food in sealed containers
  • Sweep up crumbs in a timely way
  • Seal up any cracks in your foundation or around windows and doorways to prevent the ants from entering
  • Kill any large colonies of ants or large mounds on your property

Enhancement and improvement costs

Green treatment

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.

Yard control

If you have carpenter or fire ants, it may be recommended that you work to eradicate the pests from your yard at a cost of $2 per nest. This will ensure the queen is killed and better reduces your chances of reinfestation.

Monthly treatment

If you have pests frequently returning to your home, it may be beneficial to have scheduled, monthly treatments. These usually run around $30 a month after an initial visit of about $80.

Additional considerations and costs

DIY

Unless you are dealing with fire ants or carpenter ants you may want to try getting the infestation under control yourself. There are many DIY methods available, many of which cost significantly less than professional treatment. These include:

  • Raid or another spray poison
  • Sprinkling cinnamon along cracks and the edges of rooms
  • Sprinkling diatomaceous earth along cracks and the edges of rooms
  • Cleaning with vinegar
  • Sprinkling powdered soap along the cracks and edges of rooms
  • 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.

Ants or termites

If you find evidence that insects have been eating the wood in your home, you may not be able to tell at first glance if they are ants or termites. Both will wreck havoc on your home, but in very different ways. Termites actually ingest the wood, while the ants tunnel through it. To tell the difference, take a look at the damaged area. A termite is a messy pest, leaving behind a lot of soil and debris in its wake; an ant is clean and will leave behind neat tunnels and passages through your wood. Both should be treated immediately to prevent future damage.

FAQ

  • 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 ants in your home and in the nest.

  • How do you get rid of tiny ants?

The most common way to get rid of sugar ants 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 does it cost to hire an exterminator?

The average cost of hiring an exterminator for pests like ants is around $250.

  • How much does it cost to get rid of ants?

The cost of professional ant extermination is around $250, but can go as high as $1,400 including ongoing treatment.

  • Can Terminix get rid of ants?

Terminix does 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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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Caulk: A chemical sealant used to fill in and seal gaps where two materials join, for example, the tub and tile, to create a watertight and airtight seal. The term "caulking" is also used to refer to the process of applying this type of sealant

Cost to hire an ant exterminator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Berkeley, CA
+39%
Bethlehem, PA
+12%
Bridgeport, CT
+43%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Canton, OH
-8%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Gastonia, NC
-18%
Genoa, IL
+3%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Newport News, VA
-12%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Pottstown, PA
+8%
Saginaw, MI
+12%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%

Labor cost in your zip code

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