How Much Does It Cost to Exterminate Ants?

Average range: $175 - $325
Average Cost
(general ant treatment excluding fire and carpenter ants of a 3,000 sq.ft. house)

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by

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 ants 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 $175 and $325, with the average homeowner spending $250 on general ant treatment excluding fire and carpenter ants of a 3,000 sq.ft. house. Pricing can be as high as $1,000 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
Average range$175-$325
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost$1,000

Ant Exterminator Cost by Project Range

One time application of poisoned bait
Average Cost
General ant treatment excluding fire and carpenter ants of a 3,000 sq.ft. house
Two-step method, plus ongoing monthly treatment

Ant Extermination Cost per Square Foot

Some professional ant exterminators will charge extermination per square foot. The expert will need to use more labor and chemicals in larger houses or properties. Thus, the extermination cost will increase with an increase in property size.

One-Time and Quarterly Ant Extermination Cost in a 2000, 2000 to 3500, and 3500 to 5000 Sq. Ft. Property

One-Time and Quarterly Ant Extermination Cost in a 2000, 2000 to 3500, and 3500 to 5000 Sq. Ft. Property

Square FootTreatment CostQuarterly Treatment Cost

2,000 sq.ft.

(max 45’ x 45’)


2,000-3,500 sq.ft

(max 60’ x 60’)


3,500-5,000 sq.ft.

(max 70’ x 70)


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Ant Treatment Cost by Frequency

The frequency of treatment through an exterminator dictates the average price for getting rid of ants. Pest control companies offer contracts that allow homeowners the option to schedule routine service appointments. Routine ant 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. The following are the average costs for the treatment of a 2,000 sq. ft. home.

Cost of a Yearly, One-Time, Quarterly, and Monthly Ant Treatment

Cost of a Yearly, One-Time, Quarterly, and Monthly Ant Treatment


Ant Extermination Cost by Type of Ant

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 regularly. 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:

Cost to Exterminate Rover Ant, Little Black Ant, Field Ant, Grease Ant, Acrobat Ant, Citronella Ant, Argentine Ant...

Cost to Exterminate Rover Ant, Little Black Ant, Field Ant, Grease Ant, Acrobat Ant, Citronella Ant, Argentine Ant...

Type of AntCost to Exterminate
Rover Ant$150
Little Black Ant (Sugar Ant)$150
Field Ant$150
Grease Ant$160
Acrobat Ant$200
Citronella Ant$200
Argentine Ant$200
Pharaoh Ant$200
Moisture Ant$200
Ghost Ant$250
Pavement Ant$250
Odorous House Ant$250
Allegheny Mound Ant$250
Fire Ant$300
Harvester Ant$300
Carpenter Ant$500

Rover Ant Control

It costs about $150 to exterminate rover ants. Rover ants are small ants common in the southern states of the US. They are about 1/16-inch in size. The color of these ants ranges from yellow to black. A distinguishing trait of rover ants is that the insects have an uneven body with a hump-like appearance. Rover ants tend to remain outdoors and rarely nest inside. The bugs like to make their homes in mulch piles, leaf piles, and trash cans. Their worker ants have nine segments.

Sugar Ant Control

It costs about $150 to get rid of sugar ants--very small black ants, 1/16 inch in size. The coloring of sugar ants is notable because it distinguishes between male and female. Male sugar ants are all black, while the females have an orange coloring. Sugar ants 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.

Field Ant Control

It may cost you about $150 to get rid of field ants. Field ants are large black ants. They are similar to carpenter ants, but the lower side of the thorax is rough and has a depression. Field ants are about ⅕ to ⅜ inches in size. These are predatory ants and prey on caterpillars and other ants. They also build mounds and have a sweet tooth.

Grease Ant Control

You may have to part with $160 for grease ants control. Also called thief ants, they can be found throughout the US, and are very small shiny ants, 1/16-inch in size, with two distinct segments. The coloring of grease ants ranges from yellow to a very dark brown. Grease ants prefer oily foods but will devour almost any kind of food. Activity for grease ants reaches its height during the summer months when you’ll find the bugs invading kitchen areas.

Acrobat Ant Control

It could cost about $200 to get rid of acrobat ants. Acrobat ants nest in soft soil, and they indicate a moisture problem like leaks in your home. They also love sugar and its products. Acrobat ants size ranges from 1/16th to ⅛th an inch. Winged acrobat ants called swarmers are common from June through fall all over from the north to the south coasts.

Citronella Ant Control

It may cost you about $200 to exterminate citronella ants. These are large yellow ants. Their worker ants are about 1/8-inches long, and their reproductives are twice the size. The reason for the moniker is that the ants give off a distinct lemon scent when crushed. The ants also release the scent when feeling threatened.

Argentine Ants Control

You should budget about $200 for professional Argentine ant control services. Argentine ants are 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.

Pharaoh Ant Control

It costs about $200 to control pharaoh ants. Pharaoh ants are small ants 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 ants are a nuisance in buildings and also contaminate food and medicine processing.

Moisture Ant Control

Professionals could charge about $200 to get rid of moisture ants. Moisture ant is a species name for ants that reside in rotten wood. It includes ants like citronella ants. The size of these ants ranges from 1/8-inch. The ants prefer damp environments and will nest in the wood around bathtubs and plumbing fixtures. Although the ants reside in wood pieces, they are not wood-boring insects.

Pavement Ant Control

You should budget about $250 to eliminate a pavement ant infestation. Pavement ants are more common in towns and cities. These ants like to nest under concrete sidewalks, rocks, or asphalt paving. There are small mounds of soil around the nests of pavement ants. They are small ants with a size of about ⅛ inch. Pavement ants are very fond of greasy food.

Odorous House Ant Control

It costs about $250 to exterminate odorous ants professionally. Brown and black ants about ⅛-inch long with an unevenly shaped thorax. They give off an unpleasant rotten coconut odor when crushed. This type of ant can be found throughout the US but is less common in desert areas. Odorous ants seek out food when entering a residence but typically nest outdoors. The outdoor nests are found under rocks and patio blocks.

Allegheny Mound Ant Control

Professional examination on average costs $250. These are large ants that build large mounds of about 1ft. to 3 ft. in height. The ants are about ⅛ to ¼ inches long. Allegheny mound ants have red tail ends, and front ends are either black or reddish-brown. The insects prefer open areas outside to make their nests, such as fields and pastures. The ants feed on other insects, making them an uncommon household pest.

Ghost Ant Control

It may cost you about $250 to exterminate ghost ants. Ghost ants are very small and measure about 1/16-inch. They have pale gaster and quick movements, which makes them hard to see. They can be found both inside and outside your house on the soil, wood, or plant cavities. When crushed, these ants produce a pungent smell similar to rotten coconuts.

Fire Ant Control

It costs about $300 to exterminate fire ants. Although these ants can be found throughout the US, they are more common in the southern states. These ants are usually red, but may be brown and have a darker abdomen. Fire ants 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. Fire ants are known to sting.

Harvester Ant Control

You may have to pay about $300 to exterminate harvester ants. Harvester ants are large ants, ¼-inch to ½-inch in size. Their color ranges from red to brown. The harvester ant can often be identified by a pair of spines located on its midsection. These ants form mounds on patches with no vegetation for a diameter of 1 meter to 3 meters. They are found all over the US.

Carpenter Ant Control

It will cost you about $500 to get carpenter ants.These ants can be winged and unwinged ants of varying size, typically black, and can be found throughout the US, but most common in wooded, rural areas. Carpenter ants do not sting. However, they are the most expensive to control as they can come back. Carpenter ants 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.

Ant Extermination Prices by Location

Some professionals will charge extermination costs based on the nest or infestation location. Some ants will infest the kitchen; others like moisture ants can infest the bathroom and more. Each of the locations is unique, based on furniture and accessibility.

Ant Extermination Treatment Cost by Location: Kitchen, Pantry, Stove, Carpet, Shed, Plant Pots, Walls...

Ant Extermination Treatment Cost by Location: Kitchen, Pantry, Stove, Carpet, Shed, Plant Pots, Walls...

Kitchen$80 - $300
Pantry$80 - $300
Stove$85 - $350
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
Yard$150 - $300
Floorboards$150 - $350
Basement$150 - $500
Attic$150 - $600
Under House Foundation$175 - $500
Bedroom$200 - $500

Ants in Kitchen

Treating ants in the kitchen should cost you between $80 to $300. Ants will infest your kitchen because it provides a source of food and water. Examples of ants you will find in the kitchen include pharaoh, odorous, and acrobat ants. Odorous ants will give a pungent smell and make your kitchen uncomfortable. The cost of the extermination of ants in the kitchen will depend on the kitchen size and the severity of the infestation. Kitchen ants are usually easy to treat with a minimal cost for baiting and trapping.

Ants in Pantry

Extermination of ants in the pantry should cost between $80 to $300. The pantry is a good source of food for ants. However, you can prevent infestation by adequately storing and sealing your foodstuffs. The ant control cost will depend on the size of the infestation and types of ants. Ants in the pantry cost the same estimated price as kitchen ants with baits used to eliminate the pest.

Ants in Stove

To remove ants from the stove, expect to pay a professional between $85 and $350. Ants inside the stove is a problem that homeowners must address immediately for sanitary reasons. In most cases, the ants behind the stove have relocated into the appliance to seek out food. Bait traps are typically used to remove ants from the stove area. Once exterminated, the kitchen must be deep cleaned to eliminate any crumbs and other debris that could be attracting the pests.

Ants in Carpet

It costs between $100 to $300 for ant removal under the carpet. You could have an infestation if you notice some ants in your carpet. A colony of ants could nest under your carpet if you have any leaks or decaying wood. Food crumbs also attract ants to your carpet. It is advisable to get maintenance for leaks and rotting wood, and remove crumbs. The cost includes lifting up the carpet to apply pesticide treatments beneath the flooring.

Ants in Shed

The average cost to treat ants in a shed ranges from $100 to $300. Ants are particularly invasive in outdoor structures like sheds. When carpenter ants are seen in a shed, they frequently have damaged the integrity of the wood. Spray treatments are used to get rid of ants inside a shed. Sheds should be disinfected after treatment to prevent reinfestation.

Ants in Plant Pots

You will pay about $100 to $350 to exterminate ants in plant pots or the surrounding areas. Ants can also get food and shelter from plant pots. Pests that suck sap from your plants usually attract these ants because of the sugary sap they leave behind or have in their bodies. The ants could be nesting in your yard or home. Treating the actual plants with a repellent is the least expensive way to remove ants from potted plants.

Ants in Walls

Exterminating ants in the walls will generally cost you between $100 to $500. Numerous types of ants nest in walls. Examples include carpenter ants, acrobat ants, pharaoh ants, argentine ants, and odorous ants. You can notice ants in walls via hollow sounds if you tap on the walls, visible ant trails, sound of activity within the walls, and ants coming out of sockets. The cost of ant extermination in walls depends on the level of infestation and type of ants, but most contractors use bait to lure out the ants to bring back a poisonous agent to the queen. Cost may increase if any type of holes need to be drilled to access the ants’ nesting grounds.

Ants in Lawn Removal

Expect for the cost to be between $100 to $500 removal of ants in the lawn. Ants destroy grass routes and cause dead patches of grass to appear on your lawn. They also build anthills in the grass, and people can easily trip on them. On the other hand, they also prey on larvae and other pests. A professional can effectively and safely control ants in lawn removal. Ant pesticides are a standard treatment that could be applied with a spreader as part of your lawn care schedule.

Ants in Bathroom

Professionals will charge between $100 to $600 for the removal of ants in the bathroom. Carpenter ants are attracted to the moisture from the bathroom and prefer nests in decaying wood. In many cases, people will need ant control in bathroom walls. Carpenter ants usually come back so you may schedule multiple visits, especially on large properties. Cost will also be affected if any holes need to be drilled into the walls to apply the treatments.

Ants in Garage

It may cost you around $100 to $600 to remove ants in the garage. Ants have a tendency to nest in garages in search of food and shelter. Carpenter ants living in garages are common, and they are known to damage wood. Extra labor may be necessary to access the ants nest if your garage has a lot of things. To prevent future infestations, make any roof and floor repairs since these are both possible entry points for ants.

Ants Coming in Through Window Frame

It can cost between $125 to $400 to get rid of ants coming in through window frames. Ants coming in through window frames are usually on a food scent trail. It also means that they are nesting nearby either inside or outside your house. Cost could be adjusted by the height and location of the window frames and the number of frames needing pesticide treatments. Repairs may need to be made to stop ants from returning such as caulking the frame. If carpenter ants damaged the wood frame, it may need to be replaced completely.

Ants in Ceiling

To get rid of ants in the ceiling, homeowners will pay about $125 to $500. Ants falling from the ceiling is something that no one wants to occur in the home. Similar to the way ants infest the walls of a home, they can take up residence behind the ceiling. Carpenter ants are the most frequent culprits for infesting ceiling areas. Pesticides and bait traps are strategies utilized for the elimination of ants in the ceiling.

Ants in Heating Ducts

Homeowners can anticipate paying around $135 to $350 for the removal of ants from any ductwork. Ants in heating ducts can be a headache for homeowners. Most exterminators will not use sprays to target any colonies that have taken up residence in heating vents. Instead, bait traps are used to get rid of the ants. Duct cleaning is performed to remove any moisture that could be attracting the pests.

Ants in Yard Control

The ant control cost for garden infestations is between $150 to $300. Ants in the garden stay for the food and shelter. They usually help your garden with pollination and pest control. However, they can still be a nuisance and cause damage. They will build mounds and also move aphids to the garden. Pest control companies may adjust cost on how easily accessible the treatment area within your garden. You may also have to pay for any replanting post-treatment.

Ants in Floorboards

Treatment for ants under floorboards will cost approximately $150 to $350. Homeowners may notice ants coming through floorboards on their properties. Ants coming from the floorboard will usually be seen on wooden planks. Ants can squeeze in between any cracks in the floorboards. Winter heating causes gaps between floorboards and makes it possible for large-scale pest infestations. A combination of sprays and baits may be needed to stop ants from entering through the floorboard.

Ants in Basement

The average cost of removal of ants in the basement is $150 to $500. You can easily sight ants in the basement, especially during winter. Their presence may be a sign of infestation in the basement or any other part of the house. Consideration should also be given to sealing any holes or cracks in the basement walls since the ants could be entering the home through these points.

Ants in Attic Insulation

Either way, you may pay between $150 to $600 to exterminate ants in attic insulation. Carpenter ants may nest in attic insulation if it is damaged because it provides moisture. On the other hand, they can still build a satellite nest if your insulation is working correctly. Since ants can chew through insulation, you may need to replace sections inside the attic after ants have been eradicated.

Ants Under House Foundation

It costs about $175 to $500 to exterminate ants under the foundation. Ants nesting under house foundation are usually pavement ants. Pavement ants like to be under rocks and slabs. Thus, it can easily access and nest under the foundation. A major sign of pavement ant infestation is some soil on the entrance of cracks and holes. Pesticide treatments are ineffective at reaching ants under a foundation, so baits must be used instead.

Ants in Bedroom

The price for pest control for ants in the bedroom is about $200 to $500. Ants in the bedroom are a nuisance. They usually nest in clothes and other areas like behind furniture. Bedrooms built next to bathrooms can also get ants because they could attract species that prefer cool damp wood. Since there are many small crevices for ants to hide within a bedroom, furniture may need to be moved as well as baseboards removed, which could impact cost.

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Ant Extermination 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:

Cost to Exterminate Ants Using Ant Repellent, Mound Control, Poisoned Bait, and Two-Step Method

Cost to Exterminate Ants Using Ant Repellent, Mound Control, Poisoned Bait, and Two-Step Method

Ant Repellent$100
Mound Control$125
Poisoned Bait$150
Two-step Method$750

Ant Repellent

On average, you’ll pay around $100 for a professional to treat a defined area of your home with a repellent. Ant repellents are a form of pesticide used to get them away from your home without exterminating the bugs. The idea is to make the area unattractive to the ant as a way to keep them from nesting in your home or garden. Aerosol sprays, gels, and powders are examples of pesticides that can be formulated to repel ants.

Ant Mound Treatment

The cost for this method is $5 per mound with an average total treatment cost of $125. This is one of the most effective methods of 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. It is very time consuming and difficult to ensure you got all the mounds. This method is usually used in conjunction with other interior methods.

Ant Bait

Expect to pay $150 to use bait to get rid of ants. 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. It is effective at controlling most types of ants. Bear in mind that this method can take up to 7 days to work, and must frequently repeat to prevent reinfestation.

Two-Step Method

The average cost of this method is upwards of $750. 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. It is very effective at controlling fire ants, but it may still miss some other types.

Ant Extermination Cost by Level of Infestation

The cost of ant 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 the ants have infested your property.

Cost to Exterminate Ants in a Small, Medium, Large, and Severe Infestation

Cost to Exterminate Ants in a Small, Medium, Large, and Severe Infestation

Level of InfestationCost

Small Ant Infestation

A small ant infestation is an infestation that has recently started. The ants will be looking to grow their colony, and you can spot a few ants. Moreover, the signs of infestation will be small and harder to notice. Controlling an ant infestation using baits or pesticides will cost you about $250.

Medium Ant Infestation

A medium ant infestation is an infestation with a growing colony of ants. More ants are roaming around, and you can notice some frass on cracks. A medium ant infestation could cost you about $350 for treatment areas under 3,500 square feet using baits or pesticides.

Large Ant Infestation

A large infestation is a nuisance. The ants are more daring and highly noticeable. For example, there will be more grass and holes on wood. Moreover, you will notice mounds in the case of ants like harvester ants. A large ant infestation costs about $500. The cost can increase if you need multiple pest control visits by a professional. Expect to pay a minimum of $75 to $100 per follow-up visit. The price may decrease if you enter into a routine pest control service contract with the provider.

Severe Ant Infestation

At this level, the ant infestation becomes a menace. There are more ants in areas like the kitchen, walls, on seats, and more. The colony is big, and the workers need to be more active in finding food. A severe ant infestation could cost you about $1,000 for professional services, especially if you need the two step method for removal.

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.

Cost of an Ant Extermination Treatment by Terminix and Orkin

Cost of an Ant Extermination Treatment by Terminix and Orkin

CompanyAverage Treatment Cost
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 ant control cost depends on the type of ant identified on your property. Standard ants can be treated at a lower Terminix price with a package for ant control. This package treats field ants, pavement ants, ghost ants, and house ants. Four types of ants require premium treatment from Terminix and include the fire ant, carpenter ant, pharaoh ant, 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 ant control cost will be around $225 to $400. The Orkin cost for ants 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. Ants such as fire ants and carpenter ants cost more to treat than house ants and pavement ants. Orkin prices for ants 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.

Ant Exterminator Cost

A typical visit from an exterminator will last one to two hours and will cost from $150 to $1,000 for the treatment, depending on the type of ant. You may require more than a one-time visit, and your exterminator may recommend the services of a handyman at a rate of $60 to $110 an hour to seal up any cracks in or around your home where ants are getting in.

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. It effectively treats ongoing problems but does not work on carpenter or fire ants. Expect to pay $1,080 for initial treatment followed by $30 monthly, $440/year.

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Ant Fumigation Cost

Ant fumigation is possible but should be the very last option to get rid of ants. You can request ant fumigation on the severest of cases. However, even then, there are effective alternatives like pest control or extermination. The difference between pest control and fumigation is that fumigation entails the use of fumigant gas or chemicals that release fumigant gas. Pest control, on the other hand, entails prevention, mound control, and use of bait.

Fumigation generally costs more than pest control. Professionals will charge around $160 for pest control on a 2,000 sq.ft. property. However, fumigation will cost about $1,500 for the same size property. Moreover, you will have to leave the house for three days to a week for fumigation and aeration to take place. On the other hand, you can stay in the house during ant extermination. You may need to follow up on extermination services, but you will not have to leave your house like with fumigation.

Fumigation results usually last for two to four years before you need a follow-up. However, in ant extermination, you may need quarterly follow-up services depending on the severity of your ant infestation.

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 ants usually build a mound in the field or your yard.

There are worker ants 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.

Red Ant on Top of a Concrete Fence

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. Ants 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 ants 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 ants have sheer numbers and crawl onto food, counters, and other common areas in our home.

Pavement and carpenter ants prefer to stay outside and are less likely to infest food compared to odorous ants. 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. Ants 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.

Group of Ants Infesting an Empty Dish

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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 ants, 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.

How to Prevent Ants

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. When an ant enters your home for the first time, it’s looking for food. If it finds some, it leaves an invisible trail from the food source back to its colony for other ants to follow. 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.

  • Ensure you keep your kitchen extra clean, and ants will lack food and shelter.
  • Dirty dishes are ant bait. Clean them immediately after use or rinse them and immerse them in soapy water.
  • Use soapy water to mop food spills and remove crumbs.
  • Take out the garbage often.
  • Seal all the kitchen containers tightly.
  • Cover all jars and containers and store them appropriately.
  • Fix all leaks and replace damp wood.
  • 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

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 ant control ensures that none of the products used will be toxic if ingested by cats or dogs. Pet-safe ant 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.

Termite Extermination vs Ant Extermination Cost

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.

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.

The only similarity is the use of poisoned bait, which the pests carry back to their colonies to cause extermination.

Generally, it is more expensive to exterminate termites than ants. The average cost of termite extermination ranges between $600 to $2,400, while the average cost of ant extermination is $150 to $1,000.

One Time Ant Treatment vs Contract-based Ant Treatment

A one-time treatment means they will only offer their services once. The cost of this kind of treatment ranges from $90 to $250. Some factors will determine the cost, for example, types of ants, size of the property, and severity of infestation.

Contract-based ant treatment services mean that the professionals will offer scheduled recurring ant treatment services. It could be monthly or quarterly. They charge around $40 to $45 per month and $100 to $300 for quarterly contract-based ant treatment.

Professionals will normally recommend one-time ant treatment for a small ant infestation, or extermination on small properties. They will recommend a contract based ant treatment for a severe, recurring ant infestation, or large properties.

Hire an ant exterminator in your area

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 ants and does not stop them from coming back. You should pay $250 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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 the ants 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 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.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Caulking 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.

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