By Dan Simms
Updated Nov 15, 2022
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If you think you have rats in your home, you need to act quickly. Rats carry diseases like hantavirus, reproduce rapidly, and can damage your home if you let their population grow. Some homeowners choose to manage the problem themselves, but more serious infestations usually require a professional exterminator. Basic rat control services are not as expensive as most people think, although specialty services like fumigation cost significantly more.
This article serves as a guide for anyone considering hiring a rat control service. Below you’ll find information about:
Even if you think you’d like to give DIY rat control a try, knowing when to call an expert is important so you can act quickly and stay ahead of an infestation.
Hiring a rat exterminator usually costs between $150 and $500, with an average of around $350. However, severe infestations can be much more expensive to deal with and cost over $1,000. Where you live, what kind of rats you have, and the extent of the infestation all factor into how much you’ll have to pay for rat exterminator service.
Many professional pest control companies offer different tiers of rodent control services. Removing a few rats from an attic or crawl space may only cost a few hundred dollars, but eradicating an entire population of rats can cost between $1,000 and $1,500. Here is a breakdown of typical prices you can expect to pay for common rat control services.
|Type of Rat Extermination||Average Price Range|
|Basic rat removal||$150–$500|
|Full-service rat removal||$200–$600|
|Initial inspection and treatment||$150–$300|
|Monthly treatment visits||$50–$75|
|Rat fumigation service||$2,000+|
|DIY methods (traps, rodenticide, etc.)||$20–$600|
Rat exterminator prices vary depending on where you live, where your infestation is located, the level of the infestation, and what method the exterminator needs to use to remove the rats. Cities and areas with high costs of living will generally have higher exterminator rates but also usually have more competition driving prices lower.
No matter where you live, the following details about your rat infestation will ultimately determine your rat removal cost.
More severe infestations will cost more, and extreme cases where an exterminator needs to remove dozens of rats can easily cost over $1,000. Your exterminator will estimate your infestation level during the initial visit, but it usually takes up to a week for them to get a sense of what kind of infestation they’re dealing with.
Rats are nocturnal, so you’re unlikely to see them during the day. This makes it difficult to estimate the number of rats you have since you must extrapolate from indirect information like droppings and damage. Additionally, rats often avoid setting up a colony in areas with high human traffic, preferring to hunker down under floorboards, behind walls, and in other hard-to-reach places like attics.
Speaking of hard-to-reach places, where your infestation is located will also affect the price you’ll pay for an exterminator. If you have an infestation in the living area of your house — in a spare bathroom, pantry, etc. — you won’t have to pay as much as if the infestation is in a difficult location to access. Exterminator services get extremely pricey when dealing with infestations behind your walls or under your foundation, as these areas are difficult to inspect and require more effort to place and remove traps.
How your exterminator removes rats will also affect the price. If you want your exterminator to use live traps, for example, it will add to the cost. Live traps require your exterminator to remove live rats, which slows down service and drives the price up. However, live traps are more humane and are safer to use in areas where pets and children can access the traps.
If your infestation is completely out of hand, your exterminator may recommend rat fumigation as an emergency option. Fumigation is the most expensive rat control option and usually costs between $1 and $5 per square foot. It’s also extremely inconvenient since you can’t be in your house during the process. This makes fumigation even more expensive since you need to rent a hotel room for a few days.
Additionally, your exterminator would still need to find and remove the dead rats from your home; otherwise, they will start to decay and introduce bacteria and other health risks into your home. Fumigation is a better option for dealing with insects like termites and is not a great option for home rat control. You should only consider it as a last resort.
emoving a few rats from your house is a manageable problem for most people, but larger infestations can be a nightmare. DIY rodent removal has some advantages over hiring a professional exterminator in some cases, but a rat removal service can make your life much easier if you have a moderate or severe infestation.
Here’s a look at when DIY rat removal makes sense and when you should throw in the towel and call a professional.
If you catch sight of a rat in your home or find rat droppings or signs of chewing, you might be able to deal with the problem yourself if you act quickly. In general, you need to choose between traps and poison. Traps are safer and can be more humane than poison, although they take more work to use and can still be dangerous, especially for pets and small children.
A standard snap rat trap, like the kind you see in cartoons, is the cheapest option. These traps usually only cost a few dollars but can be a pain to set — literally. It’s very easy to trigger snap traps when setting them accidentally, so be careful if you choose this kind of trap.
A jaw trap is a slightly more expensive version of a snap trap that uses a plastic housing instead of a metal bar to suffocate any rats that set it off. These traps are less humane than snap traps since they prolong death and cause suffering. They usually cost between $5 and $10 per trap.
Glue traps cost about the same amount as jaw traps and are the safest option for your fingers and toes. However, they work by trapping rats in place, killing them by causing them to starve to death or dehydrate. These are the least humane traps, and we don’t recommend using them.
The most humane rat trap is a live trap. These traps work by catching rats inside a container without injuring them. It’s then up to you to remove the rat by taking it somewhere away from houses or buildings and releasing it. Live traps cost between $15 and $25 but are reusable.
The most expensive kind of rat trap is an electric trap. These traps use high voltage to kill rats with little suffering. They’re also safe to use around children and animals, making them an attractive option for most people. The downside is that they’re expensive, costing between $30 and $60 per trap.
You can also use rat poison in a bait station to try and eradicate a rat population, but we don’t recommend it. Bait stations seem like good options for infestations in hard-to-reach areas since they lure rats in, but they have a major disadvantage. It can take several days to kill a rat after it ingests the poison from a bait station, which means that it can die under your floorboards or behind your walls.
Chances are you won’t notice until the body starts to decay and stink, leading to a host of other problems and an expensive removal process.
If you have a larger infestation or if you don’t want to deal with having to set traps and remove them yourself, hiring a professional rat control service is a great option. Most pest control companies cover rodent infestations and offer free quotes and inspections, making it easy to get started.
Before you schedule your appointment with a professional rat exterminator, you should be prepared to answer a few questions your technician is likely to ask.
You should also prepare a set of questions to ask your exterminator to get a sense of how they approach rat control and whether or not they use your preferred methods.
Your rat control technician’s answers to these questions can help you decide if a company is a good fit for you and your family. Pay particular attention to whether the company offers a guarantee. Some companies offer free follow-up visits and treatments if you notice any rat activity between scheduled visits, which helps manage infestations larger than the initial inspection indicated.
There are a few easy steps you can take to protect your home from future infestations. In general, sealing as many potential entry points as possible is the best defense against rats, but storing food intelligently and maintaining a strict cleaning regimen are also essential for preventing infestations. Here are some specific tips for preventing rat infestations:
Rats can be difficult to get rid of once they set up shop in your home, but it’s usually possible to eradicate them yourself if you catch the problem quickly. For larger problems, hiring a professional pest control service like Terminix that handles rodents is probably a good idea. Traps can get expensive quickly if you need a lot of them, and managing a large infestation can easily become overwhelming in extreme cases. A professional service will take that burden off your hands and may not be much more expensive than doing it yourself.
from our #1 recommended pest control company, Terminix.
The average cost of a rat exterminator is $350, but the price can vary quite a lot. A simple removal of ten rats or fewer will only cost a few hundred dollars, but large infestations can cost up to $600 or $700 to remove. Extreme cases that require fumigation may cost $1,000–$1,500.
Rats are attracted to food sources, so keeping your food in sealable, airtight containers is the best way to keep rats away. Don’t forget to store pet food in airtight containers as well.
Garbage also attracts rats, so don’t leave your garbage cans uncovered. Investing in a good can with a tight-sealing lid will make it impossible for rats to feed on your garbage and disincentivize them from hanging around your house.
Sealing possible entry holes is also a good way to make it harder for rats and other critters like squirrels and raccoons to find their way into your home. Pay special attention to external air vents and gaps around doorways and windows.
Even if you haven’t seen any rats, you may have a rat problem. Rats are nocturnal, so they’re most active when we’re sleeping, making sightings rare. Common signs of rat activity are feces, damage to drywall and electrical wiring from gnawing and chewing, and scratching sounds behind your walls. The best way to know if you have rats is to call an exterminator and have them do a thorough inspection.
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