Exterminator and Pest Control Services Compared

Do you know the difference between an exterminator and pest control services? Knowing the difference can save you time and money!

Do you have a pest problem and are not sure whether to call an exterminator or a pest control service? Often these terms are used interchangeably, but the two services are quite different. If your infestation is significant then you may want to go with an exterminator, while ongoing prevention and maintenance services fall under pest control.

Exterminators provide a total kill solution. Pest control services provide systemic intervention, maintenance and prevention long term. The comparisons do not end with these simple definitions, however. While both types of services are focused on eradicating a pest problem, there are many differences between the two. Read on to view a comparison of exterminator vs pest control services, including costs, and make an informed decision today. 

Residential Pest Services

One of the key differences between pest control services and extermination companies is that pest control companies tend to work on the long term goal: preventing infestation from happening at all. To that end, most pest control companies train their technicians on the typical types of pests, how to prevent infestation, and how to treat homes that are already infested, and how to offer a long time maintenance plan thereafter. Each visit by a pest control technician is customized for the size of your home, whether you have children/pets, and the types of pests most common in your area. Many companies have switched to environmentally safe chemicals and prevention, and often after a maintenance treatment you may have little to no chemical smell in the home. Residential pest control services take care of the immediate problem, if it exists, but then provide maintenance thereafter. 

Residential Exterminator Services

If you are suffering from a huge infestation, then you may be tempted to request the services of an exterminator. Exterminators relay heavily on pesticides and chemicals to eradicate an infestation, and often they are there to treat only that infestation. Very often they only come in and treat for a specific type of pest problem, rather than a wide array of pests. If you have roaches in your home, then exterminators can come out and treat for roaches. However, the chemicals they use may only kill the roaches, and anything else that might be there would be untouched. Exterminator services are great if you have a terrible infestation of something, and you need a fast solution. Keep in mind they often use the highest concentration of chemicals allowed in order to eradicate the pests. This means you may need to move pets and children away from the treated areas for a few hours until the chemicals are dry. 

Typical Pest Control Services and Costs

Pest control services can vary widely depending on where you live in the U.S., how big your home is, and how badly your home is infested. Expect to pay, on average, between $300-500 for a one time visit. Many companies give a significant discount if they place you on a maintenance schedule. If you have them diagnose and treat the problem, then schedule a time to have them return regularly, then expect to pay between $40-250 every few months. If your home requires a full home fumigation, then your expense will run between $2000-8,000. This is because of the cost of labor and the specialized equipment required. Factors affecting costs include the following:

  • Size of your Home

  • Location of your Home

  • How Often You Need Service

  • Type of Service Needed

  • Type of Pest Involved and Infestation

Typical Exterminator Services and Costs

The cost for an exterminator depends on many of the same factors as for a pest control company. Size of your home, its location, what type of pest is involved and so forth, all come into play. Exterminators may need to return to retreat any infestations that are particularly large. Chemical sprays are most often used, but if your extermination issues include live animals, such as rats, racoons, or bees, then live traps must be utilized. On average, if physical pest control (traps and removal) are required, expect to pay between $300-700 each time the technician visits. Chemical intervention costs between $150-400 each time they visit, and you must leave the home while it is treated. If fumigation becomes necessary you may not be able to inhabit your home for several days. Expect to pay between $2000-8,000 for fumigation. 

Best Pest Control Providers Near You

The following pest control providers are nationally based companies. However, each county often has its own independently owned pest control services. It pays to work with local pest control, if it exists as they often are very familiar with the types of pests prevalent in your area. However, the following companies have a long standing reputation for service and delivery. 


With over 300 locations in the U.S. chances are good you can locate them.  While they are known for their termite treatments, they also rank highest on bed bug removal. Their guarantees are the strongest in the market, and they have been around for a very long time. 


This company has won many awards lately and offers a very popular four seasons protection plan that includes free retreatment if needed, as well as 5 yearly visits for maintenance. Highly customizable and a good service if you are on a budget. 


If you have a bad infestation and need immediate service, the Orkin offers a same day service if you request service before 2:00pm. Additionally, Orkin offers retreatment, maintenance plans and also treats your lawn and your attic. 

Best Exterminator Services Near You

If you need a quick kill and have a significant infestation, then extermination services may be called for. The following services are nationwide and have excellent reviews: 

Arrow Exterminators:

Family owned and operated since 1964, this company has a long standing reputation for eradicating pests. They are one of the largest exterminating companies in the U.S. 


Limited to just 10 states, they are a very cost effective extermination company. 


They specialize in termites and bed bugs, and offer both residential as well as commercial treatment. 


Bulwark guarantees total kill, or they retreat for free. They often utilize green pest control treatments when possible, and they are well known for their mosquito control. 


This company not only treats the inside of your home, but also treats the outside areas and lawn. They offer a 100% money back guarantee. They offer a $50 discount for spring treatments.