How much does an ant exterminator cost?
$200 – $300 average one-time treatment cost (2,000 SF home)
Average ant exterminator cost
An ant exterminator costs $200 to $300 for a one-time treatment of a 2,000 SF home or $800 to $1,200 to treat severe infestations. Extermination companies use borax, pyrethrins, and other insecticides to treat fire, sugar, and carpenter ants. Common ant control methods include baits, sprays, and mound treatments.
|Home size (square feet)||One-time treatment cost|
|500||$150 – $200|
|1,000||$170 – $250|
|2,000||$200 – $300|
|3,000||$240 – $350|
|4,000||$300 – $500|
Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.
Ant exterminator cost factors
The cost of ant extermination depends on the size of your home, the size and location of the infestation, the type of ants you have, and the treatments required to eliminate them.
The severity of the ant infestation affects the number of visits, time spent, and effort required by an exterminator. Mild infestations of small colonies are easy to treat using inexpensive DIY treatments, while treating networked colonies in the walls or massive infestations in the soil below the home is difficult and costly.
|Mild infestation||$150 – $300|
|Moderate infestation||$300 – $700|
|Severe infestation||$800 – $1,400+|
Most ant nests are found outside the home, but ants go inside searching for a food source. In the kitchen, they dine on open food containers or pet bowls. Treating outside spaces is easier but the larger area uses more chemicals. Inaccessible attics or crawl spaces are more difficult and costly.
|Kitchen / pantry||$80 – $300|
|Bedroom||$200 – $500|
|Whole house||$300 – $400|
|Carpet||$100 – $300|
|Floorboards||$150 – $350|
|Walls / ceiling||$100 – $500|
|Heating ducts||$135 – $350|
|Window frames||$125 – $400|
|Basement / attic||$150 – $600|
|Under house foundation||$175 – $500|
|Yard||$100 – $500|
|Shed / garage||$100 – $600|
Kitchens are easy to treat since you can follow the trail from the food to the nest. Once you treat the nest, simply throw away the contaminated food to prevent a recurrence.
Removing ants from the bedroom is more complex because the ants hide in clothes and walls and finding them is more difficult. Since you can't simply throw away your clothes, you may deal with multiple reinfestations.
Another factor in the cost of ant control is the type of ants you have. There are about 25 species that will infest a home. The most common ant infestations in the US are sugar ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, and pharaoh ants.
|Ant type||Average cost||Description|
|Fire||$100 – $300||
|Sugar||$200 – $250||
|Pharaoh||$200 – $250||
|Argentine||$200 – $300||
|Carpenter||$250 – $500||
Exterminators use several different methods to get rid of ants, each with their own treatment costs. Common ant control methods include barrier spray, mound treatments, and poisoned bait. More severe ant infestations may require a combination of two treatments or costly tent fumigation.
|Barrier spray||$80 – $120||
|Mound treatment||$100 – $250||
|Poisoned bait||$120 – $200||
|Two-step method||$600 – $900||
|Tent fumigation cost||$1,500 – $4,000||
These treatment methods use several different chemicals to treat ants, including:
Boric acid –A natural insecticide for killing ants, this slow-acting poison is used in baits or dusts.
Pyrethrins –A type of botanical insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers, pyrethrins kill ants on contact.
Permethrin – Asynthetic pyrethroid, similar to pyrethrins, these insecticides kill ants on contact.
Fipronil – This is a newer insecticide that is effective at killing ants systemically, meaning it is absorbed into the ant's body and kills it over time.
Abamectin – This slow-acting poison is commonly used in baits or dusts.
Hydramethylnon – This is a type of hydrazone, another slow-acting poison used in baits or dusts.
The cost to rid your home of ants depends greatly on the frequency of treatments. A one-time ant treatment costs $200 to $500 but pest control companies value repeat business and charge less for regularly scheduled services. Larger or recurring infestations require regular monthly, quarterly, or annual appointments.
|Frequency||Average cost per year
(2,000 SF home)
|One-time visit||$200 – $500|
|Monthly||$900 – $1,200|
|Quarterly||$400 – $500|
|Annually||$100 – $300|
DIY ant removal vs. exterminator
While DIY ant treatments save you money, getting rid of ants on your own is not always possible. Over-the-counter ant treatments may be ineffective against large-scale or repeat infestations. Pest control services cost $250 to $600 on average to treat for ants along with other pests in your home and yard.
|Granule ant baits||$10 – $20||Easily spreadable poison for large areas, including your yard and home's perimeter|
|Gel ant baits||$20 – $30||Seeps into hard-to-reach cracks and crevices but covers less area than granules|
|Bait stations||$20 – $30||Easy to place but can't reach into small spaces like granules or gel|
In addition to over-the-counter chemical treatments, there are several natural remedies for ant control, including:
Diatomaceous earth kills ants by lacerating their hard exoskeletons and dehydrating them. DE is applied in thin layers in hard-to-reach areas between cabinets.
Borax kills ants by disrupting their digestive system. A mixture of 1 part borax to 3 parts powdered sugar is placed under appliances and inside cabinets where pets or children can't reach it.
White vinegar makes a good ant spray as the acid kills ants and disrupts their scent trails, making it harder for more ants to follow the path.
Spices with strong scents like cinnamon, red pepper, mint, and coffee grounds deter ants from an area.
Cucumber and citrus fruit peels contain chemical compounds similar to those found in ant repellants. Placing these near an area of ant activity may encourage the ants to move out.
Signs of an ant infestation
Obviously, seeing a trail of ants marching from the window to the pantry is an indicator of an ant infestation, but there are less obvious signs you should be aware of, including:
Ant trails – Ants leave thin, dark lines leading from food sources to the nest.
Sawdust trails – Carpenter ants chew wood but don't eat it, leaving behind piles of sawdust.
Ant nests – Mounds of dirt in your yard indicate exterior ants, while hearing rustling noises in your walls may indicate ants or other pests in the home.
Ant droppings – Small, dark pellets found near food sources or around ant nests are a common sign of an infestation.
Wood damage – Hollow-sounding beams or floorboards may indicate ants have burrowed inside.
Food contamination – In the pantry, ants will often eat food and leave behind empty containers and ant droppings.
How to prevent an ant infestation
The best way to treat an ant infestation is to prevent them in the first place. Since ants are usually in search of food or a place to nest, following these steps can help prevent an infestation:
Keep your home clean and free of open food sources. Store food in sealed containers and don't leave pet food out unless it is mealtime.
Clean up drink spills and dirty dishes that attract ants.
Seal cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and the foundation to prevent small openings that allow ants in your home.
Remove moisture sources like leaky pipes and seal any leaks around windows or doors.
Plant mint or lavender around the home to deter ants.
Ant exterminator FAQs
How much does an exterminator cost for ants?
An ant exterminator costs $200 to $300 for a one-time visit. For repeat infestations, pest control companies offer discounted rates for monthly, quarterly, or annual contracts.
Are ant exterminators worth it?
Hiring a professional pest control service is worth the price. They offer guaranteed results and provide ongoing care to ensure your home is not overrun with pests. While over-the-counter ant treatments may seem cheaper than hiring an exterminator, the cost of repeat home treatments can quickly add up.
How do exterminators get rid of carpenter ants?
Exterminators first locate the nest of carpenter ants and then use several treatment methods, including insecticide sprays, poisoned bait stations, and desiccants like silica gel or diatomaceous earth.
When should I call an exterminator for ants?
While you can likely deal with a small ant hill in your yard using DIY ant treatments, call an exterminator right away if you see signs of larger infestations. Look for a trail of ants, ant nests, sawdust piles, or multiple ant mounds in your yard that indicate a more severe infestation.
Getting estimates from exterminators
Ants are a nuisance, but there are plenty of local ant exterminators to help you get rid of the ants quickly and effectively. Be sure to follow these recommendations:
Pick from licensed, bonded, and insured exterminators with years of success treating ants.
Look for highly rated and reviewed pest control specialists on HomeGuide and Google.
Ask about free ant control pest inspections and discounted ongoing treatment plans.
Choose from ant exterminators that guarantee their work.
Compare treatment methods and costs from at least 3 exterminators.
Questions to ask
Call an exterminator right away if you suspect an ant infestation in your yard or home. Here are some important questions you should ask:
How much do you charge for ant control?
What type of ants do you specialize in treating?
How long have you been in business?
What is your success with treating ants in this area?
What methods do you use to treat ants?
Are your treatments safe for my family and pets?
How long does it take to get rid of ants?
Do you guarantee your work?
Can I have a list of references?
Do you offer discounts for ongoing pest control services?