Written by 7:25 am Health, Home & Garden

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Rat Exterminator?

Rat extermination costs typically range from $176 to $580. This cost varies based on factors such as the size and location of the infestation

selective focus of small rat near exterminator holding toxic equipment

Discovering signs of rats in your home can be worrisome for any homeowner. If you suspect these pesky rodents are exploring your house, it’s time to call in a rat exterminator. Swiftly dealing with a rat infestation is crucial, as rats can cause damage and spread diseases.

According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, rat extermination costs typically range from $176 to $580. This cost varies based on factors such as the size and location of the infestation, as well as the extent of damage to your home. To determine the cost, a rat exterminator will inspect your home, and the inspection fee is often subtracted from the final extermination cost.

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What Factors Influence Rat Extermination Costs?

Discovering or suspecting rats in your home can be distressing, as it adds an unexpected expense to your budget. To better estimate the cost of hiring a rat exterminator, consider the size of your home. Larger homes may have more entry points that need sealing and a greater area to search for rats, leading to higher costs.

Various factors affect the overall cost, including the location and severity of the infestation, the chosen extermination company, the method of removal, and the geographic location of your home.

Home Size

The size of your home plays a significant role in the overall cost of rat extermination. Larger homes provide more entry points for rats and more space for them to build nests. Consequently, extermination costs tend to be higher for larger homes. Inspections in larger homes may also cost more due to the increased number of places to inspect. Additionally, sealing multiple entry points in larger homes can incur costs of up to $500.

If fumigation is required, the size of your home will also impact the budget, as fumigation costs between $1 and $3 per square foot. Therefore, fumigating larger homes will be more expensive.

cropped view of exterminator standing near rats in kitchen

Location of Infestation

The cost of rat removal can vary depending on where the infestation is located within the home. If rats are in an easily accessible area like a ground-level room, removal tends to be less expensive compared to finding rats in more challenging spots such as crawl spaces or within walls. Instances, where rats are detected in ductwork or within walls, might require additional effort, including extensive cleanup and potential renovation to address any damage.

When rats are present but their nests are elusive, a rat exterminator might resort to using thermal imaging. This technology helps identify warmer areas in walls, floors, or ceilings, potentially indicating the presence of a rat’s nest. Conversely, colder spots might suggest that rats have disturbed insulation, leading to uneven temperatures. This added step in the inspection process may increase costs due to the extra time required to locate the nest.

Size and Severity of Infestation

Rat infestations can start small but escalate rapidly due to the rodents’ prolific breeding. With up to seven litters per year, each containing five to twelve pups, delayed treatment can result in multiple generations of rats and increased damage to the home. The extent of the infestation directly influences the cost of rat extermination. Small to medium infestations may cost up to $600, while severe infestations requiring extensive cleaning and renovation can exceed $5,000. Early detection and prompt intervention by rat control services are crucial to avoid more significant expenses.

Removal Methods

The method used to eliminate rats depends on the specific situation. Trapping and relocating a single rat is a cost-effective option, but larger infestations may necessitate killing traps. In extreme cases, fumigation can be employed, but homeowners should be aware that locating and removing the deceased rats afterward may require additional effort. To prevent future rat entries, homeowners can opt for a comprehensive exclusion service that identifies and seals potential entry points.

According to Matt Smith, owner and licensed pest control technician at Green Pest Management, the chosen removal method can impact costs. For instance, opting for humane removal methods may lead to higher prices due to the need for more professional visits.

House rat trapped inside the metal mesh rat trap cage.

Choice of Extermination Company

The cost of rat extermination is influenced by the homeowner’s choice of an extermination company, with factors such as location and company size playing a role. Larger, nationally recognised pest control companies, like Orkin or Terminix, often come with a higher price tag but provide expertise in rat control. Homeowners can explore online platforms to find reputable pest control services, with Orkin averaging between $300 and $500 for a single visit and Terminix ranging from $400 to $650. These companies typically offer convenient online forms for inspection requests and rat removal services.

Geographic Location

The cost of hiring an exterminator for rat removal varies based on where your home is located. Generally, the average cost for rat extermination is lower in rural areas and for single-family homes compared to urban areas. In single-family homes, exterminators can easily access all areas, simplifying the process of sealing entry points and removing rats. This is more challenging in urban areas, especially high-rise apartment complexes, where exterminators might not have access to the entire building.

In urban settings, such as apartments or condos, exterminators may face difficulties accessing the entire building. This makes it harder to completely eliminate a rat infestation when rats nest in one part of the building but can move to other areas. If rats are caught, exterminators in urban areas may need to travel farther than those in rural areas to find a suitable place to release them.

Additional Costs and Considerations

Beyond the location, factors such as the size and severity of the infestation, the chosen removal methods, and additional costs should be considered by homeowners.

cropped view of exterminator standing near brick wall and rat

Inspection Fees

An inspection to assess the size of a rat infestation, determine the difficulty of extermination, and identify potential causes typically costs around $200. However, many exterminators offer free home inspections. If a company charges for an inspection, they often deduct the cost from the final bill if the homeowner decides to hire them for extermination.

Emergency Callout Fees

For urgent situations requiring immediate extermination or inspections, companies may charge emergency callout fees, which can range from $100 to $200 more than a standard visit. Emergency callouts usually occur on weekends, holidays, or after business hours, often prompted by the discovery of a large infestation or an aggressive rat that needs swift removal.

Follow-Up Visits

Rat removal typically involves multiple visits, including an inspection, a treatment visit, and at least one follow-up visit. Regardless of the infestation’s severity, exterminators usually schedule follow-up visits to check live traps for caught rats and identify new entry points. While the first follow-up visit may be included in the total extermination price, additional follow-up visits can add between $50 and $150 to the final bill.

Cleanup and Repairs

Rats residing in a home can cause significant damage, even with just a few rodents. Larger infestations may lead to home renovations and professional cleaning services. Dead rats pose a disease risk, and if left to decompose in walls or attics, they can cause unpleasant odours. Rats may also leave droppings and create water damage by chewing through pipes. Potential repairs from a major infestation include cleaning droppings, replacing insulation and wiring, fixing plumbing and HVAC systems, addressing water damage, and repairing the roof.

Cost of Rat Extermination Based on Removal Methods

Several methods can be employed to exterminate rats, and the selected approach impacts the average costs associated with rat and mouse extermination. Live traps, kill traps, fumigation, and rodenticides are among the methods available, each with its own cost implications.

Bait Station

A commonly used method involves the use of bait stations. According to Smith, most companies utilise bait boxes for rodents, strategically placing bait within them to attract rats. These bait stations are designed to be secure, preventing access by kids and pets. The bait aims to eliminate rats that consume it.

This method is considered safer than placing open poison, as the bait station is enclosed, reducing the risk of exposure to children or pets. Bait stations typically cost between $5 and $15 each for professional installation. Homeowners should inquire about whether the cost includes the removal of rats that succumb to the bait, as this may vary.

Exclusion

Exclusion is a technique focused on sealing entry points to prevent rats from entering homes. This involves sealing obvious holes and may include adding screens to crawl spaces or roof vents, as well as trimming trees that provide easy access to the roof.

The cost for exclusion ranges from $200 to $600 and is often integrated into the overall rat extermination price. Homeowners can request an itemised breakdown of the quote to determine if exclusion services are included.

Fumigation

Fumigation is considered a last resort due to its severity and higher cost. This method involves filling the house with chemicals to eliminate rats, requiring residents to vacate the premises for a few days while the chemicals take effect. One drawback is that dead rats may be left in the walls, posing a decomposing risk if not promptly removed by the exterminator.

Fumigation costs range from $1 to $3 per square foot, translating to $1,500 to $4,500 for a 1,500-square-foot house. Additional expenses may include alternative accommodations and food for residents during the fumigation period.

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