Walk through the aisles of a hardware store or browse Amazon and you’ll see dozens, if not hundreds, of DIY pest solutions. Sprays, poison baits, sticky traps, and essential oils all promise to rid your house of spiders, rodents, and other pests. With all of these options, you may wonder if hiring a professional pest control technician is worth the expense.

For small infestations, you may be able to handle the issue yourself. However, if the pests manage to get a foothold in your home or yard, they can be devilishly difficult to remove without the proper professional know-how and equipment. In this article, we’ll cover the difference between DIY and professional pest control services and provide some tips on how to hire the right pest control provider for your home.

Benefits of a Professional Pest Control Service

In general, shelling out for professional pest management services costs more than doing it yourself—at least in the short term. However, if you don’t take care of your pest problem quickly, it can turn into a full-blown infestation. If this happens, you may end up spending more on DIY solutions than you would if you’d hired someone at the first signs of an infestation. Keep reading for a few benefits of professional pest control.

Professionals Have the Proper Equipment and Training

To get rid of an infestation, you may need specialty equipment and the knowledge to get rid of the pest you’re dealing with—things that most homeowners don’t have. Additionally, some pesticides may not be available to the general public, as they may require training and experience to use correctly. For example, professionals will know how to deploy insecticides and rodenticides without endangering you, your family, or your pets.

Not to mention, some pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks, can carry communicable diseases, and technicians will have the know-how and the proper safety equipment to deal with them.

Professionals Can Provide Proactive Pest Control Services

If you don’t have active pest problems, you may not be thinking about how to prevent future infestations. A professional pest control company will know how to treat your current problem and should be able to help you prevent potential pest issues in the future. For example, a professional can identify entry points around your home during an inspection and provide tips on how to seal these areas to prevent pests from entering your home.

Professionals Can Provide Peace of Mind

Simply put, if you hire a professional, you don’t have to worry about getting rid of pests yourself. You won’t have to apply and reapply pesticides, check and empty traps, or remove nests, saving you time and energy. Additionally, a professional that can take care of the problem quickly will greatly reduce the likelihood of your home or belongings sustaining any damage from pests.

DIY Pest Control vs. Professional Pest Control

Here’s how professional and DIY pest control compare on a number of factors.

CostServices are more expensive in the short termSolutions are more affordable in the short term
Severity of infestationCan treat all levels of severityBest for small infestations
TimeQuicker and more efficientMay take longer to get rid of pests
Health and safetyA professional pest control service should have the proper training and liability insurance to protect you and your homeYou’re responsible for the chemicals you use and any potential damage to your belongings or home’s structure
Preventative measuresIncluded in servicesOptional

How To Avoid Pest Control Scams

Before hiring a professional pest control company, consider these tips to help you weed out potential scam pest control services:

  • Check the provider’s professional license and liability insurance. Make sure the technician who actually applies the treatment has an up-to-date certification.
  • If something seems fishy, get a second opinion. Most trustworthy companies, such as Terminix and Orkin, will offer free inspections and free quotes for pest control services.
  • If you sign up for seasonal services, read your contract carefully and make sure you understand what’s included in coverage.
  • Read third-party customer reviews. Most reputable companies will have an active online and social media presence and respond to any complaints about their services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pest Control

How much does pest control cost?

The cost of pest control will vary based on your location, the pest in question, and the severity of the infestation. For example, a severe bed bug infestation in Manhattan will be far more costly to remove than a few spiders in a home in Iowa. Here are some average costs for pest control:

  • For a one-time service, the average pest control cost is between $300 and $550.
  • If multiple visits are required, the initial assessment usually costs between $150 and $300. Subsequent visits will cost less.
  • For year-round pest control, the price will depend on the frequency of the visits. Monthly appointments will usually run between $40 and $70, while quarterly pest control services will cost between $100 and $300 per treatment.
  • Ants, cockroaches, and spiders are some of the easiest pests to remove, while termites and bed bugs are often the most expensive to remove and can be difficult to eliminate.

What does a pest control service do?

Professional pest control technicians do more than spray for bugs. They identify the specific type of pest you’re dealing with, locate the source of the infestation, and eliminate the pests. After this, they’ll work with you to prevent future infestations by providing you with home maintenance tips.

How can I prevent a pest infestation?

Follow these tips to make your home less appealing to pests:

  • Store food and beverages, including pet food, in sealed containers.
  • Use trash cans with lids and take out the trash regularly.
  • Stagnant water draws pests, so fix leaks and remove any standing water as soon as possible.
  • Patch holes in window screens and use caulk to seal cracks in your home’s structure.
  • Fill large holes in drywall or around pipes with steel wool.
  • Get rid of clutter in your yard, including leaf piles, toys, and yard debris. If you must have a woodpile, keep it away from the sides of your home.
  • Keep your lawn and plants trimmed and well-maintained.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and convenience factors, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.