Ants are the No. 1 nuisance pest in the United States, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). No one wants them, of course, but nearly everyone’s home gets invaded when spring rolls around.
There are some 700 species of ants in the United States, 25 of which are known to invade homes. Ants carry bacteria, contaminate our food, bite us and/or damage property. The good news is, a professional exterminator can rid your home of ants entirely.
Because ants are so tiny, they can enter your home through the smallest of exterior cracks. They can squeeze through door frames, window sills and the like. Once they find food, ants submit pheromones telling other ants to follow, and the nesting begins. Before long, a few ants become hundreds or thousands.
Different types of ants cause different problems. Carpenter ants cause severe damage to homes by building their nests in soft wood. Red fire ants have a painful sting. Odorous house ants give off a rotten smell when crushed. Use this NPMA guide to learn more about the different types of ants and where in the country they are found.
Professional exterminators use a variety of techniques to eradicate ants. Most use a combination of baits and gels, but the type of treatment varies based upon the type of ant. What works for one type doesn’t always work for another. Although baits and gels do contain poison, a professional exterminator can place them out of reach of children and pets. Many companies also offer non-toxic treatments, too.
The price of professional extermination varies based on the species of ant, the severity of the problem and your geographic location.
- Budget about $150-$300 for a one-time visit. This service should come with a guarantee of at least 30 days.
- Treatment for carpenter ants tends to be more expensive because the species is tougher to eradicate. Budget $250-$500 for a one-time visit.
- Some companies will require you to sign an annual contract, which usually costs anywhere from $300 to $600 per year. For that price, you’ll get an initial treatment and then quarterly follow-up treatments.
Some people opt for DIY treatment because it is less expensive, but over-the-counter products are not as strong or effective as professional-grade products. They might kill the ants you can see, but they won’t get rid of the colony. Eventually, the ants will return. Some over-the-counter products actually make the problem worse, causing surviving ants to break off and form new colonies.
Further complicating DIY extermination is the fact that different types of ants require different treatments. Pharaoh ants, for example, can only be controlled by the use of baits. Other products or chemicals will cause the colony to split into two, making the problem even worse. A professional exterminator will know exactly how to eradicate the species of ant infesting your home.
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