How much does it cost to exterminate rats?
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Rat Extermination Cost Guide
Updated: 09 Jun 2022
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Irene Pomares remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
The last thing anyone wants is a rat infestation. These pesky creatures can make you squirm and carry diseases that can make you and your family sick. Rats can quickly become a huge problem. Once you see evidence of these rodents, you already have a bigger problem because rats often go unseen until several are in a dwelling.
Rat extermination can be time-consuming, depending on the rats and the number of entry areas. The national average for rat extermination ranges from $500 to $750, with most homeowners paying $600 for professional rat extermination, including bait and trap of a medium infestation in a 2,000 sq.ft. home and sealing entry points in easy-to-reach areas. This project’s low cost is $300 for a free consultation and removal of rats in a 1,000 sq.ft. home. The high cost is $3,000 for baiting and trapping a severe infestation, sealing entry points, and treating a barn infestation.
Rat Extermination Cost
|Cost to Remove Rats|
|National average cost||$600|
Rat Extermination Cost vs Rat Removal
Rat removal and extermination often describe the same process. If removal is your goal, a wildlife removal specialist is the best option. Live rat removal moves the live rats to a different area. However, do not be fooled because this method may still result in the rats dying as they are released outdoors in rural areas where food and water sources are limited. A more humane option is to move the rats from the home but not far away so they can find familiar water and food sources. The removal process by a wildlife specialization company costs $350 to $650 for a medium-sized infestation.
Rat extermination is often more effective because it uses bait to draw the rodents out, and then they die. It is more expensive because it includes sealing entry points, traps and bait, corpse removal, and clean up. Expect to pay $500 to $750 for a medium infestation. Professional exterminators handle this process.
|Removal||$350 - $650|
|Extermination||$500 - $750|
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Average Cost to Exterminate Rats by Home Size
If you have rats throughout the entire home, the home size impacts how much poison or how many traps are needed. The costs below are what you can expect to pay when removing a medium rat infestation from the home. If you have a home beyond the listed sizes in the table below, the costs can go higher than $1,000.
|1,000 sq.ft.||$200 - $400|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$400 - $600|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$600 - $800|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$800 - $1,000|
Rat Extermination Cost by Method
Exterminating rats is a messy business, and you may be asking how to get rid of rats. Professionals use several methods. Rat traps, bait stations, and rodenticides are common choices. Fumigation is another method when an entire building must be treated. Many extermination processes for rats are similar to those for mice. While some prices vary, many traps are around the same price. Below is more information about the pricing for each and what the process is like for a 2,000 sq.ft. home.
|Rat Traps||$250 - $650|
|Bait Station||$450 - $650|
|Rodenticides||$750 - $1,000|
|Fumigation||$2,000 - $6,000|
Trap costs vary based on the type but range from $250 for snap traps to $650 for electric traps. They are important because traps are often the first line of defense against rats in a home. An exterminator can visit the property to determine the best places to install the traps based on type, location, and if the home includes pets or children.
|Type of Trap||Cost|
|Snap||$250 - $300|
|Glue||$300 - $500|
|Live||$300 - $500|
|Jaw||$300 - $500|
|Electric||$450 - $650|
Snap Rat Trap
They are effective in a situation with only 1 or 2 rats and cost $250 to $300. The consumer is left with disposing of the dead rat. It is not the most humane way to deal with the problem, but it is quick and easy. These traps may be dangerous for household pets and children because the trap may go off when touched.
Rat Glue Trap
These sticky traps are chemical-free and safe for children and animals, costing $300 to $500. This might not be the best choice for animal lovers because it is not humane. The death is slow because the rodent is stuck in the glue and struggles to escape for several hours. This also leaves the dead animal until the exterminator returns.
Live Rat Trap
Live rat traps cost $300 to $500 and are a more humane way to capture and release rats. Some rodent capture companies use these traps and dispose of the animal for you. The rats are taken to a faraway location in a habitat that is more conducive to living without humans around to pester.
Jaw Rat Trap
Jaw rat traps are another option for exterminating rats and they cost around $300 to $500. It is similar to snap traps, but they have a serrated edge that snaps when the rat sets foot on it. They may need some kind of bait to attract the animals. They break the rat's neck without breaking the skin, making them easier for the homeowner to clean up after.
Electric Rat Trap
Electric rat traps deliver a high-voltage shock for immediate death and can be installed for $450 to $650. This is considered more humane because there is no delay. This is not the best option for those with small children or pets for obvious reasons. These could be used in hidden places, such as the attic or garage, where access is difficult.
Rat Bait Station
A bait station is not a trap but a small box that holds the bait, and they cost $450 to $650 installed. The rat goes in, steals the bait, and later dies. It is a safe alternative because the bait is contained and cannot be removed by children or pets. This method can result in finding the dead animal before the exterminator comes back to dispose of it.
Rodenticides are pesticides specifically made to kill rodents and can be used for $750 to $1,000. The rodenticide is generally placed in a bait box that attracts the rodents so that it is safe from curious children and pets. These are basically the same thing as a baiting rat trap or rat bait station, so heed the warnings about safety.
Rat fumigation is sometimes used when bait or traps have not worked. Fumigation costs from $2,000 to $6,000. During fumigation, a tent-like material seals the home before fumigant is pumped inside. Many of the chemicals used for fumigation kill the rats almost immediately and do not leave a residue after the building has been allowed to air out. Experts recommend staying out of the home for 24 to 72 hours after the process to be safe. This method is a quick and effective way to handle large rat infestations found throughout an entire building.
Rat Exterminator Prices by Severity of Infestation
It is sometimes difficult to determine the severity of an infestation until the exterminator sets traps. Generally, a small rat infestation of 1 to 3 rats requires 10 traps. The expert returns within 2 to 3 days to remove the dead rats and dispose of them. A medium rat infestation includes a small family of rats. It costs more for additional traps. Larger infestations might have a larger family of rats or 2 families of rats, while severe infestations are anything beyond that. These prices are the broadest since the number of rats can range from dozens to hundreds in extreme situations.
|Severity of Infestation||Cost|
|Small||$300 - $500|
|Medium||$400 - $600|
|Large||$500 - $700|
|Severe||$1,000 - $5,000|
Rat Control Cost by Frequency
When you think the rat infestation has extended to the entire home, it is wise to treat the whole home. This involves setting bait and traps, sealing entry points, and treating wall infestations. A one-time visit without a contract costs between $300 and $500 and is enough for many people’s needs and includes an inspection of the building, finding where rats are coming in, choosing an extermination plan, and placing traps or poison. Those with a reoccurring need for rat extermination can choose an annual, monthly, or quarterly plan.
A monthly contract may be the best option for those with a persistent rat issue. Those with recurring infestations at a lower rate may choose a quarterly contract, where a pest professional visits every 3 months. Annual is a common choice for those with limited rat issues who want to have a space inspected and treated yearly. The table below shows the costs of each service.
|Frequency||Annual Contract Cost|
|Once||$250 - $450|
|Quarterly||$500 - $1,000|
|Monthly||$900 - $1,250|
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Average Cost of Rat Extermination by Company
Two major nationwide companies can handle rat-infested homes. They are an alternative to choosing a local contractor or small business. Homeowners may choose a larger company because they are available in most cities and states. Their services and information are easy to find. Plus, it is often easier to speak with past customers to see how they handled a rat infestation similar to the one the homeowner is experiencing.
|Company||Single-Visit Pest Control Prices|
|Orkin||$300 - $550|
|Terminix||$400 - $650|
Orkin Rat Control
A single visit from an Orkin rat control specialist ranges from $300 to $550. Orkin is a well-known company providing pest service for over 100 years. Orkin professionals use an integrated pest management solution for rats and other rodents. Both chemical and non-chemical methods are used. Orkin uses traps, removes debris where rats might hide, and keeps vegetation thinned near the home. They also provide interior and exterior sanitation and hole exclusion.
Terminix Rat Control
Terminix offers rat control for $400 to $650 per visit. This is the other significant national company in the United States. The business has provided pest control services for over 90 years and has almost a million more clients than Orkin. Terminix professionals fully inspect the home before creating a customized plan that meets your needs. Exclusion is included in the process, and an annual inspection can be scheduled to ensure no further rats enter your home.
Rat Extermination Cost by Location
The removal difficulty is often determined by the location of your rat problem. Two of the easiest areas to remove rats from are sheds and stoves. A few traps can handle the process by sealing holes in the shed. It is also fairly simple to remove rats from a roof. However, a ladder is needed to access the area where the rats are, so rat extermination cost is higher for a roof than for a shed or stove.
Many interior spaces in the home are more expensive to remove rats from. Bedrooms, pantries, bathrooms, and kitchens are the most common areas to find a rat or a whole family. An expert can often set traps and come back to remove the rats on a second visit. Rats in an attic removal can cost more because it is often challenging to reach.
The other places where you may find rats include lawns, basements, walls, and barns. These are some of the more expensive spots to remove rats from. For a lawn, rat control is often ongoing because rats come back to eat garbage, plants, or flowers.
Basements are also challenging because there may be many rats before they are noticed. Drywall needs to be opened before bait is placed. Barns are challenging because they often have grain and are open for rats to come back. The table below offers the prices for a one-time visit to handle a medium rat infestation in various locations.
|Location||Cost (One-Time Service)|
|Stove||$100 - $200|
|Shed||$100 - $250|
|Roof||$200 - $350|
|Bedroom||$300 - $475|
|Pantry||$300 - $475|
|Bathroom||$300 - $475|
|Kitchen||$300 - $475|
|Attic||$300 - $525|
|Basement||$300 - $750|
|Lawn||$350 - $550|
|Walls||$500 - $650|
|Barn||$700 - $1,500|
Rat Inspection Cost
Speak with a professional as soon as possible if you believe you have rats. Once you do, a pest control company can send someone to determine how extensive the problem is. The professional will look for nests, pathways, rub marks, gnaw marks, and droppings. In many cases, the inspection is free with other services. However, some companies have an inspection fee. Expect to spend $100 to $150 if the price is separate. If the inspection is bundled with other services, they include planning, consultation, and initial rat removal services. Ask the pest control company you contact if there is an additional inspection fee.
Rat Exclusion Cost
Rat exclusion is proactive by preventing rat entry and eliminating areas that may become attractive. There is a fine line between sealing entry areas and blocking appropriate airflow. Other problems can occur if a home is too air-tight, such as moisture development. Exclusion is typically provided with rat removal services but can also be purchased separately.
Exclusion experts check for gaps and holes you may not be able to see. In addition, certain framing can leave areas that invite rats. Professionals use a sealant called an elastomeric and not a plain caulk. All gap-sealing products must be breathable. Expect to pay $175 to $500 for exclusion by a professional, but the cost may rise if there are many holes. For example, the price may pass $500 if you have many holes because of the extra time and materials to prevent additional rats from getting inside. A handyman could also handle exclusion needs at a lower cost. Fixing a small hole costs about $50 to $100.
Rat Pest Control by Type of Rat
Various rat species may reside in a home and cause damage or other problems. Prices to remove the rats are the same between species when using a professional pest specialist. However, knowing the differences between the rats can give you information on how to keep them out or deal with them when you see them.
Norway Rat Control
Norway rats, also known as sewer or street rats, are known for being colorblind and having less-than-excellent vision. This makes their other senses much more capable. These rats can jump, swim, climb, and run. Once inside a home, they often cause damage. Norway rats may be drawn to wood piles for nesting, so these should be away from the home. It is also smart to seal holes outside because they come in looking for food and water. Professionals can handle them once they enter the home.
Roof Rat Extermination
Roof rats, sometimes called ship or black rats, are smaller than Norway rats. The name comes from their tendency to look for shelter in the upper areas of a home. After entering, they may destroy items, contaminate food, and spread disease. The most important way to handle roof rats is by sealing quarter-sized cracks and holes. Keeping shrubs and trees trimmed and cleaning fruit from the yard can also help. If already inside, a pest expert can help remove them.
Woodrats or packrats are rodents about the size of a Norway rat. They feed on vegetation and get moisture from the food they eat. Packrats are serious chewers and use their teeth to damage wires, shred upholstery, and steal shiny items for their nests. Outside, they chew branches and trees and can cause yard damage. A professional can remove woodrats, but you should also move boxes and other items near buildings, keep firewood off the ground, and ensure no holes allow entry into the home. These rats are found on the Gulf Coast and have small eyes and ears. These rats are the least common in homes but may come inside for food or water.
Marsh Rice Rat
Marsh rice rats are smaller than others and live in swamps and marshes with grass. These rats often spend time in the water and on land. They eat whatever they find, including plants, grasses, insects, eggs, and small crabs. Exclusion strategies are the best option to keep them out. A professional can take care of them if they get inside.
How Long Does It Take to Exterminate Rats?
The time it takes to treat an infestation varies. First, a professional visits to inspect the house and retrieve information. This person determines how bad the problem is and provides details about how long the treatment should take. The removal or extermination of rats takes two visits. The first is to place traps or apply treatments. A second is included in the process so that the professional can remove the dead rats and traps. These two services are typically included in a single cost. A follow-up visit may be included with some companies.
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When to Call an Exterminator for Rats?
Discovering rats in your home can be an unpleasant surprise. Whether it is a single rat, family of rats, or more, reach out to a professional rat exterminator as soon as possible. A sighting is only one reason you should reach out to an exterminator. If you see signs of rats, a professional is also needed. This could include scratch marks, paper shreds, or damaged wires and cords.
Another sign you may need to call a professional for rat extermination is hearing strange sounds at night. Scratching sounds or high-pitched screeching may be attributed to rats. These noises often come from the walls, ceiling, or floorboards during the late night or early morning. Rats are active at night, so they may be searching for and hoarding food or creating a nest.
Get in touch with rat extermination if you see these signs because rats carry diseases, and the longer they stay in your home, the more likely you are to have health problems.
Dead Rat Removal Cost
One of the most disgusting parts of rat removal is dealing with dead rats. Many of the same diseases mentioned earlier are also associated with handling dead rats or cleaning their mess. A professional rat exterminator has the supplies and training to deal with the carcass that may be dangerous for a typical individual to remove. The cost to remove the dead rat is $150 to $250. A professional should be hired because you could expose yourself to disease by removing a dead rat alone. Removal is typically included in a yearly rat extermination plan.
All About Rats
While there are several rat species, most follow the same life cycle. A female rat litter is generally 7 to 14 babies. Most females produce up to 5 litters yearly. The babies reach maturity at only 3 weeks and are sexually active at 5 weeks. Rats generally live between 2 and 3 years. A full-grown rat reaches 4” to 11” and weighs up to 20 ounces.
The typical rat has a pointed head with a slim body, easily recognized ears, and prominent eyes. These pests have fairly long legs with sharp, long claws. The soles of the back feet have a flesh pad that range based on the type. Rats come in various colors, including red, brown, gray, white, and black.
Rats are nocturnal and enjoy chewing most anything. Their teeth grow around 4” annually, so they must repeatedly chew to keep the growth under control. Rodents are known for destroying almost any crop. They demolish walls, wiring, flooring, furniture, clothes, and most anything you own. The critters can jump up to 4’ and climb walls, telephone poles, and trees. Rats spread over 35 diseases to humans through handling, contact with droppings and urine, and bites.
Rat Infestation Health Risks
According to the CDC, the health risks associated with cohabiting with rats are significant. The saliva and droppings are the most common sources of disease and illness spread by rats. These bodily fluids can get into food and water and spread to the home’s inhabitants. Because rats carry many diseases, it is good to know what and how severe they are if exposed.
Rat-bite fever is a bacterial infection from food contaminated by feces or scratches. It can cause joint pain, vomiting, muscle pain, headache, fever, and rash. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and hemorrhagic with rental syndrome occur by breaching in contaminated air or contacting droppings or urine. These health issues can be fatal. Salmonellosis is transmitted by eating food or drinking water tainted with rat feces. Tularemia happens through contact with dust, water, or rodents and causes ulcers and other symptoms. Lymphocytic is more common in animals than humans and can occur from simply smelling rat urine.
Emergency Rat Removal Cost
Many companies provide emergency rat removal. An emergency may be when you have a particularly aggressive rat or discover an extensive infestation affecting your home life. It is also considered an emergency if you need rat removal in the evenings or on weekends when the pest professional is usually not working. Emergency rat control can be performed by setting traps and bait and putting sealants, with a return in a few days to further inspect the property. All the same processes in a typical visit can be done on an emergency basis. A common price for an emergency visit is $100 to $200 more than a typical appointment visit.
Pet-Safe Rat Control
It may be challenging to remove rats without poison bait. Ask a professional what methods are available for rats and do your research about if they are pet-safe. Inform your exterminator if you prefer pet-friendly extermination, such as a warfarin-based substance or brodifacoum, difethialone, and bromadiolone chemicals. These pet-friendly rat control choices are generally the same cost as others at $200 to $500. Rodent relocation is another choice for a pet-friendly alternative. A critter trapper costs about $300 to $500.
While children may be able to understand that chemicals and bait should be avoided, pets do not understand. This means you need to ensure your pets are kept safe, especially when the bait is toxic to animals. Ensure the exterminator is aware of your pets and see if they have safety recommendations. Cats and dogs should be moved to areas that are not treated.
Move pets to other rooms or let dogs outside to play. Kenneling pets is another option, especially if the house has a large or severe infestation. Other pets like fish, birds, and hamsters should be moved to areas that are not treated whenever possible. Placing a sheet over the cages can help keep chemicals from reaching pets’ lungs if they cannot be moved.
Signs of Rat Infestation
If you are not paying attention, you may miss some early signs of a rat problem. Rats in the house signs are droppings, nighttime scratching noises, chewed power cords or gnawed wires, holes in walls or ceilings, visible burrows or nests, chewed or missing food, grease smears on walls, flooring, or cupboards, and a musky smell. If a rat dies, the odor is extreme.
It is vital to get treatment for a rat issue as early as possible. Numbers can grow quickly as reproduction occurs at an alarming rate. The population increase, possible diseases, and damage that can ensue are good reasons to hire a professional as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Rats
Homeowners should be aware that weatherizing or using spray-in foam insulation does not deter rats. Some steel fabric door sweep products with a rubber casing can keep rats from entering for $60 to $125 installed. Keeping vegetation trimmed, grass and weeds cut, and cleaning garages, kitchens, laundry rooms, and attics also discourage rats from feeling comfortable. Keeping food sealed and put away is imperative. Ensure you feed your pets indoors or remove the food immediately after eating. Also, seal foundation gaps. Keep your garbage in a can with a tight lid.
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Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Cleaning Up After Rats
Cleaning rat droppings and urine is key to removing smells and harmful bacteria. Hiring a biohazard cleaning service costs about $200 to $550. This includes removing feces and urine, deodorizing, disinfecting, and a biohazard fee. Some house cleaning companies also handle the process for $150 to $250 per visit.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permit. A permit is not required to treat rat problems. However, make certain your rat exterminator is trained and experienced in dealing with an infestation. Each state has certifications for pest and rodent control. The EPA offers a Pesticide Operator Core Exam, a certification. You can also check the BBB website to find more information on any company you consider.
- DIY. There are some DIY options for rat extermination. In these cases, the consumer is left with disposing of the dead rat. These traps may be dangerous for household pets and children. In addition, some are not humane because the animal suffers for many hours before dying. Included are the following: rat glue trap, and rat bait station.
- Warranty. You probably will not receive a warranty on your rat removal. If one is offered, it is usually for a limited time, and you must quickly report suspicions of rat activity.
- Rat damage repair. Home repairs, such as drywall replacement, flooring and ceiling replacement, removal of trash, debris, and unnecessary clutter to deter more rats are all additional costs you may incur. Costs for drywall repair can be $200 to $550 but may change depending on the damage extent. Flooring and ceiling replacement depends on the product and damage.
- IPM. Integrated pest management is a common method to handle rats and other pests. It considers sanitation, exclusion, control, and education. This is the best series to remove rats and ensure they do not move back into the home.
- Seasonal infestation. A seasonal infestation of rats most commonly occurs in the winter and throughout the cooler months of spring. When the weather outside is cold, rats look for warm spaces until the weather warms up. This is the most important time to be aware of rats that might enter the home.
- Rural vs urban removal. Most metropolitan areas have higher extermination costs than rural locations. When rats are in a condo or townhouse that connects to other units, the professional must contend with a lack of access to the entire building. In addition, the methods must not disturb the people living close to you.
- How much does rat extermination cost?
Rat extermination is $500 to $750 for a medium infestation.
- How does an exterminator get rid of rats?
Exterminators use several methods to remove rats, including traps, bait, electric shock traps, and rodenticides. The dead rats are removed and gaps/holes sealed to prevent further entry.
- How do you get rid of a rat infestation?
A professional can set traps with bait and remove the rats for you. You can also hire a company to trap the rats alive and release them in the wild.
- Is pest control effective for rats?
Chemical pest control is an effective treatment for rats, but it is not the safest method for humans. Rat exterminators usually use traps and bait rather than rodenticide for safety reasons.
- How long does it take to get rid of rats?
It depends on the method. It can take a few hours if professionals only need to set some traps or many hours for fumigating to clear a rat infestation.
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