The only thing preventing household owners from calling bed bug exterminators is the price. Even if the infestation is very big, people often tend to use home-made solutions for eliminating bed bugs. There’s one huge caveat when it comes to these methods – they can’t eliminate the whole infestation and they’re not effective for large infestations.
We often wait until the last moment, when the bed bug infestation is so big, that you often start finding bed bugs in your electrical appliances and electricity sockets. This is a sign that you have to call bed bug exterminators, whatever the cost.
How much does an exterminator cost for bed bugs? On average, you’re looking at a total cost of $1000 to $3000 for a bed bug exterminator and this is if we’re talking about a small to an average-size household. For larger houses or apartments, users can expect to pay up to $5000 or more. The cost of the bed bug exterminator depends on many factors such as the size and the accessibility of the infested area, the type of treatment that is going to be used and from what region you are coming from. Total cost is really hard to calculate as they are many things to factor in, but we have given you a rough estimate.
Related: Bed Bug Signs: How to Know If You Have Bed Bugs?
Speaking of the total cost, this will be the main focus of this article. Aside from that, we also need to discuss other factors related to bed bug exterminators, so we’ll examine the problem from the customer’s perspective. Not every bed bug infestation case must be solved by exterminators but unfortunately, most cases require bed bug exterminators.
Without wasting more of your time, we’ll jump straight to the topic and go in-depth about how to solve your problem. We suggest you stay with us because this will be a comprehensive analysis of the average professional bed bug extermination cost.
When Is the Right Moment to Call Bed Bug Exterminators?
To be completely honest, the moment you see bed bugs in your house, that’s the right moment for calling the exterminators. If this is your first time using such service, chances are that you don’t know much about bed bugs. Just because you’ve seen a bed bug in your house, that doesn’t mean that the infestation has just begun. Bed bugs are excellent at hiding from you and in many cases, you’ll be surprised when you see how big the infestation is. This means that as soon as you see bed bugs in your house, you should call the professionals.
Home remedies can eliminate a portion of bed bug infestation. We don’t discourage you from using home remedies, we just say that professionals are very efficient at killing bed bugs. If the infestation is large, you can use home remedies to buy yourself some time before calling the professionals. Either way, if you’re willing to pay for a professional, you should contact them right away.
Bed Bug Exterminator Cost
This is the nitty-gritty of the article, so pay close attention. First of all, there are several types of contracts for bed bug treatments. People who want to eliminate the infestation in a day can go for a one-time treatment, which will often be more expensive because the exterminator visits your home just one time. If you’re a busy person, this type of treatment will be great for you because you don’t have to spend time home with the exterminators.
On the other side, there are contract-based treatments that you can sign with the treatment provider. This means that the exterminator company can charge you per visit, so you can have monthly, semi-monthly, and quarterly visits. On the contrary, the companies can also charge you per square meter, where treatment for one room will be the cheapest, and treatment for the whole house will be the most expensive.
Furthermore, the companies can also charge you according to the treatment type. For example, the heat treatment is often the least expensive (yet the most effective), whereas steam treatment tends to be most expensive.
The Size of the Infested Area
DISCLAIMER: Since every company has a different way of billing, it’s hard to tell you the exact amount of money you’re going to pay.
But, when it comes to the size of the infested area, here’s a table that shows the average cost per visit:
If you have a one-bedroom apartment, you’re looking at the price of a total treatment being much closer to $1000. The same principle applies to big houses since the visit will cost anywhere from $800 to $2500.
The number of visits required to clear the infestation depends on its extent. If we’re talking about the small infestation, in most cases, the exterminators can deal with it in one visit.
For larger infestations, two or three visits are required. Plus, some companies will charge you more for clearing out these infestations since more labor is required. Also, some cases will require a combination of treatments, which raise the price.
Types of Bed Bug Treatments
There are 4 types of treatments used by bed bug exterminators:
- Heat treatment
The most used type of treatment is heat treatment, followed by insecticides. The least used are the last two, especially fumigation, since it requires a fumigation mask, meaning that it can be dangerous to the health of the family living in the house. Nevertheless, here is the table of average costs of every aforementioned treatment:
|Heat Treatment||$1-$3 per square foot|
|Insecticides/Pesticides||$100-$500 per room|
|Steam||$250-$1000 per room|
|Fumigation||$4-$7.5 per square foot|
• Heat Treatment
The heat treatment seems the cheapest out of all the treatments in the table. In the best-case scenario, you’ll pay only $1 per square foot. If you live in, let’s say, 2000 square feet, the heat treatment might cost you anywhere from $2000 to $6000. On the contrary, if you live in an apartment of 1000 to 1500 square feet, the costs will be drastically reduced. The average price most users here in the USA pay for the heat treatment is $2000 to $4000.
Related: How to Kill Bed Bugs with Heat Treatment
For this kind of treatment, most companies will charge your per room, so we get to pay $100 to $500 for one room. Beware that this treatment isn’t more effective than heat treatment, yet it will cost almost the same, if not more. The reason for this is that exterminators use professional-grade chemicals that are much more expensive than commercial chemicals. Because of that, the company must cover all the expenses.
This treatment is effective for those who live in small apartments with one or two rooms. In that case, the treatment can cost you far less and still be very efficient.
Related: Top 10 Bed Bug Sprays in 2019: Detailed Reviews and Tips
Although not used very often, fumigation is one of the best methods for eliminating bed bugs. With its very expensive price per square foot of $4 to $7.5 square foot, the total cost of this treatment can be from $5000 to astonishing $50000 but of course, it depends on the size of your living space.
As its name implies, when using this method, the exterminator closes off your home and fills it with the gas that acts relatively quickly. You’ll need to be away from your home for a few days because the chemicals are very strong. This is applied only for the heaviest, largest infestations where no other treatments can help.
This is why calling professionals as soon as you see bed bugs is crucial. Large infestations equal more money for treatments.
Using steam to kill bed bugs is the most effective but also the most expensive method on the list. The professional exterminators use special steamers that can penetrate your furniture, killing all the bed bugs on the inside. However, not every type of furniture is eligible for this kind of treatment, which is why it’s not used very often. Of course, the second reason is the price because it can cost you up to $1000 per room.
How to Choose a Proper Bed Bug Exterminator – Simple Rules to Follow
When you search for a bed bug exterminator online, you’ll find out dozens of them. But, as always, not every bed bug exterminator delivers the promised results, hence you don’t want to throw your money away. There are some critical factors that you need to take care of before reaching for your phone and booking a treatment.
Check for License
Whenever you pay for services such as these, you need to look for licensed providers. In this case, you need to check the credentials of the chosen company, to make sure that the company is licensed, and that it respects the state laws for this area of work. You can do this by calling the company and asking the required questions. Is the exterminator licensed to apply different types of treatments? Is the company licensed to apply pesticides and insecticides?
Furthermore, you can call the pest control agencies that often conduct checks on these companies. The pest control agency can give you detailed info on the company you’re looking to work with. All complaints and law breakings are noted there.
This is what matters the most, after all. If the clients aren’t satisfied, chances are that you won’t be, too. Thankfully, Google offers you to see the company reviews right from the get-go, when typing the company’s name into the search bar. On the right side, you can see the customer reviews in a form of stars – one, two, three, four or five stars, accompanied by the written review. If that’s not enough for you, you can ask some questions on bed bug-related forums and get straightforward answers.
Beware that there won’t be a company that will have all five stars. Misunderstandings happen and sometimes, companies aren’t guilty of them. That’s why you need to check for the client’s opinions. If eight out of ten clients say everything good about the company, it’s probably worth checking.
The company’s experience isn’t tied only to its presence on the market. The particular company might be 30 years on the market, with almost no revenue, and just a handful of clients each month or year. Is that experience? Not exactly. On the other hand, you can also have a company that works five or ten years, with dozens of customers each day. That’s the company that can do you good.
Look for companies with lots of experience in different situations. Dealing with bed bugs, as much as it sounds simple, isn’t easy, and often includes other factors that must be deal with. The answer to this question can also be found on forums or by calling the company and asking them.
Type of Treatments Offered
Most exterminators will offer at least two treatments – heat treatment and insecticides/pesticides. In most cases, these two can wipe out a big bed bug infestation, with them never returning. But, if the infestation has gotten out of hand, you’ll need to bring in some bigger guns such as fumigation, that isn’t offered by every company. Before bringing in the exterminators, ask them if they offer all four types of treatments from above.
If they don’t offer, re-think your choice, and if needed, contact another exterminator who offers it. Beware that these exterminators are much more expensive, so if you don’t mind the price, we recommend going for them, to make sure that bed bugs never return.
What You Should Say to the Exterminator?
Location of the Infestation
Bed bug exterminators know that bed bugs mainly hide in your mattress, bed structure or mattress. We said mainly because they can hide in other places such as upholstery, shoes, clothes, nooks, and crannies. This is why telling your exterminator where you saw bed bugs is crucial.
This will allow the exterminator to examine your house thoroughly and focus on the spots you’ve told him, to eliminate bed bugs more efficiently. It will not only save you some time but will reduce the cost of the treatment, as less labor is required.
When Did You Saw Bed Bugs?
This question is here to determine the duration of bed bug infestation. When did you first notice bed bugs? Two days ago, three days or one month? And did you visit a hotel recently? These are all the questions the exterminator is going to ask you, to determine the size of the infestation and the way your house became infested by bed bugs. It also saves a lot of time, which is great if you’re busy.
Is There Any Smell?
Those who read our previous articles know that bed bugs have some kind of smell. It’s usually a musty scent released due to bed bugs’ pheromones during mating. If your room has that smell, there’s a chance that you’re dealing with bed bugs and not your dirty clothes from the sofa.
When it comes to killing bed bugs, you should know how important the temperature is. The typical room temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 °C) is what makes bed bugs grow fast, develop, mate, and increase their infestation. If there are rooms with a lower or higher temperature in your house, the exterminator will try to detect the possible hiding spots.
Bed bugs love feeling warm but not too warm. So, if it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit in your sleeping room, for example, the exterminator will try to detect bed bugs there first. Also, if the temperature in your house is constant and a bit higher, it will be easier to achieve the desired temperatures for killing bed bugs with heat treatment.
How Effective Are Professional Pest/Bed Bug Exterminators?
In 99.99% of the cases, exterminators will completely wipe out the infestation in your house. There’s a good reason why these treatments are so expensive – because they’re effective. Of course, there are cases in which a certain company doesn’t deliver on its promises but that’s the company’s fault. The treatments that exterminators have, if done properly, can easily destroy the entire infestation.
Now that you know the prices of bed bug exterminators, there’s one more question left to answer – is it worth it? Yes, it is. It’s far more effective than any home remedy and once you exterminate the bed bugs, chances of them returning are slim to none.
That being said, even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, we still suggest saving some cash and affording the exterminator. In the meantime, you can use home remedies to subside the infestation for a certain period. Best of luck!
List of Sources
Bed Bug Control in Residences, University of Minnesota
Bed Bug Treatment: What You Should Expect, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech
How to Select a Bed Bug Control Provider, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service