Apart from being carriers of various diseases and allergens, mice can cause plenty of damage to your property and your food stockpiles. There’s never a good reason not to kill or trap mice roaming on your property as they can only do harm.
While you won’t always need an exterminator to do this, it’s helpful to know how much the average mouse exterminator cost, so that you can decide for yourself if it’s worth or not to risk getting infested with mice while you try to do it all on your own.
- An Overview of Costs
- What Do the Common Methods Consist of?
- When Should You Consider an Exterminator
- How to Monitor Mouse Activity in Your Home
- What Exterminators Can Do Better Than You
- When in Doubt Just Pick Up the Phone
An Overview of Costs
Calling in a mouse exterminator can have you put up well over $1,000 if your situation is dire. Dealing with an exterminator is a multi-step process. Each step can vary in pricing depending on the amount of work involved or the size of your property.
Consider this. You can pay anywhere between $50 and $300 just for the consultation or property inspection. Then you can pay up to $600 or more for the extermination or treatment.
But in some areas, a single treatment won’t be good enough. What if you need to schedule a follow-up? Then that could cost you as much as the initial extermination. Here are the things you need to consider before calling in an exterminator, at least in terms of finances.
Larger homes will always cost more to inspect. There’s a lot of ground to cover, more entry points to check, and of course, the possibility of large mice populations.
Be prepared to tell the exterminator over the phone the square footage of your property, any annex buildings, how your home is compartmentalized, and all other details you can think of.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get an accurate quote over the phone, based on those details the exterminator should be able to give you a close enough estimate of what the inspection will cost.
The prices between residential projects and commercial treatment jobs can also differ a lot. Not just because a business owner is more likely to have more funds to tap into, but also because of the larger property size and potential risk to his business if he lets the infestation carry on for too long.
How many mice did you see on your property? Are they constantly making noise? Do you see grouped droppings all over the place? Did you see them inside and outside your home?
These are very important details. The more the exterminator has to look on his own around your property the more he’s going to charge you.
If you can spot hot spots before you put in a call and lessen the workload, chances are you can get a better deal.
Another way to indicate the severity of the situation is to let the exterminator know when was the first time you first noticed any signs of mice.
Credentials, References, and Experience
Ideally, you would want to hire someone that plenty of others have used successfully in the past. But here’s the thing. As with any other job or service, the more experience someone has in their line of work, the higher the costs associated with their services.
You should of course only work with licensed exterminators. But not all licensed exterminators have the same fees. It’s important to understand that the top professionals in your area may very well be using the same products and tools to get rid of mice in people’s homes or places of business.
Therefore, it comes down to their credentials and experience when settling on a price. And yes, it is possible to negotiate the price. Not all exterminators are sticklers for money. Some are more interested in having many happy customers for the purpose of word of mouth advertising and repeat business.
Can You Get a Guarantee?
Not all exterminators offer guarantees. That’s because there are many things even professionals can’t account for. So, when comparing prices and talking to different exterminators, try to find out if someone’s willing to offer you a guarantee.
What does a guarantee mean? It means that the exterminator stipulates in your contract that if the treatment is unsuccessful, the follow-up treatment will come at no extra cost.
This could very well mean that the inspection and initial treatment costs will be higher. But in the long run, it could be cheaper than having to pay for an extermination all over again.
In my experience, exterminators willing to sign off on a guarantee of a job well done are more reliable, not just more cost-effective in dire situations.
At the end of the day, the labor cost will likely make up the largest portion of the fee. If the exterminator uses reusable traps, then it’s clear that he can’t charge a lot for that. But he can charge a premium based on experience, positive reviews and testimonials, and of course the amount of labor that goes into fixing your mice infestation.
What Do the Common Methods Consist of?
You may be asking yourself what can an exterminator do that you can’t? For one, professional mice exterminators have access to much better products than you. Much more efficient I should say.
But their methods are not trade secrets. Exterminators use a combination of traps, baits, and various other products to bring mice out of hiding and kill them. Or just trap them and remove them from the property if you’d like. Though this last method might prove more costly.
Some exterminators are also equipped with the tools to seal potential entry points, make repairs to affected areas, and of course clean up after themselves. This means cleaning your property of leftover dangerous substances and gathering and disposing of dead mice.
Do Some Traps Cost More Than Others?
Yes, they do. If you want a simple ranking based on the average cost you have the following types of traps from cheapest to most expensive:
- Snap traps
- Glue traps
- Bait stations
- Electric traps
Snap traps are usually the easiest to set and they’re effective killers too. Powerful snap traps are also considered humane. When they work properly, they kill the mouse instantly without causing more than a moment of pain.
Glue traps are cheap if not cheaper than snap traps. But, they may not always be as effective against adult mice. It really depends on the strength of the adhesive. Sometimes you may only be able to catch fur instead of the rodent itself.
However, glue traps can be even more humane. That’s because you then have a choice to remove the mice alive from your property and dump them somewhere else so that they can survive in the wild. Although, it can quickly turn inhumane if you forget to check on those traps, so that the trapped mice die slowly and painfully without food or water.
Bait stations are used to trap everything from small insects to large rodents. These traps can be merciful, as in catching the mice alive, or not. It depends on the type of bait and bait station design. The downside is that not all bait stations are reusable.
Electric traps are considered very safe to use as it makes it difficult for household pets and kids to get inside. They are also reusable, which means that despite the higher upfront cost, they can continue to work for a long time, thus reducing the need for scheduling a new treatment.
Will Using Poison Cost Extra?
Not really. Common rat poison, which exterminators always have access to, doesn’t cost a lot. But, more and more exterminators are trying to avoid using it. That’s because it’s very toxic and can be harmful to pets and kids.
It’s also important to understand that some exterminators may actually charge extra if you ask them to use poison. That’s because a lot of things can go wrong.
Furthermore, you should know that rat poison won’t guarantee a kill within minutes or even hours. A poisoned mouse can still roam around your house for a few days before he dies. This means that it’s possible for your cat or dog to find the weakened rodent at some point and kill it.
If that happens, the rat poison could transfer to your pet causing a wide range of health issues.
When Should You Consider an Exterminator
Set aside for a moment the fact that calling in an exterminator won’t be cheap. Buying lots of traps and setting them down in various places in your home won’t be cheap either. There’s no guarantee that you can catch a single mouse with five traps.
If you’re already starting to notice damage to your property or missing food, then the situation may already be beyond your powers to control.
You should also know that mice prefer to stay out of sight. That’s why you always hear scratching noises and maybe a few droppings but not the pests themselves. So, if you’re at the point where you’re starting to see mice roam freely in or outside your home, the infestation could be very serious.
I recommend at least talking to an exterminator if this happens, if not calling one for an on-site inspection outright. Mice multiply with tremendous frequency. So, the more you postpone the more difficult it will be to get rid of them.
Of course, this also means that the cost of an extermination could skyrocket.
How to Monitor Mouse Activity in Your Home
The first tell-tale sign of having one or more mice living with you is the smell. Mice droppings can be very foul and they’re often grouped. Not only that, but the droppings tend to be left very close to the nest. This is helpful if you’re trying to zero-in on their headquarters, whether you want to take care of the situation yourself or with the help of an exterminator.
Stay alert during the night. Mice don’t just prefer to stay out of sight but they’re also nocturnal creatures. So while they will be hiding during the day in all the dark corners of your home, come nighttime they will go out in search of food.
Constantly check food cabinets. Mice are built in such a way that makes it easy for them to gain access to hard to reach places. While it is unlikely they’ll get into your fridge or freezer, food cabinets, pantries, and other such storage spaces are usually not off limits to them.
What Exterminators Can Do Better Than You
First of all, with years of experience, exterminators gain an affinity or skill in regards to locating mouse nests. They can spot points of ingress and egress much faster than you, locate mice through walls, and of course they have access to more “toys” that can deal with pesky rodents.
It’s important to understand that although most mouse traps are fairly intuitive in design, you may still not be able to set them properly. Exterminators know how much bait to put, what type of bait to put depending on the type of mice in your home, and most importantly, where to lay down the traps.
And, an exterminator is always prepared with everything from the most basic of traps to advanced modern traps, at all times. You, on the other hand, may have to put out a few orders to get all kinds of traps and test them all out to see what sticks and what doesn’t.
Exterminators also have protective gear. Don’t underestimate the need for protective gear when dealing with live or dead mice. If you were to do the exact same job as an exterminator could do for you, the total investment into gear and traps could end up costing you a small fortune.
Much of what an exterminator uses would be reusable on other projects. Hence they won’t charge you for more than labor and the cost or disposable or rented traps. By rented I mean electric zapper traps or high-end bait stations.
When in Doubt Just Pick Up the Phone
Whether you prefer to send an email or put in a call, you can get in touch with an exterminator in many ways and at any time. I recommend always using one if you’re dealing with a severe infestation. And, I especially recommend an exterminator for cleaning up commercial and industrial areas.
The amount of work you would have to do on your own, plus the cost of all the traps, may end up costing you more in the long run.