Need a Mice Exterminator? Know These Cost Considerations Before Hiring
While some homeowners may be comfortable handling mice removal on their own, others are not. A mice exterminator costs an average of $377, with a cost range of $176 to $579, making it an affordable expense for many homeowners.
- The typical range for mice extermination costs is $176 to $579, with a national average of $377.
- The most significant factors affecting the cost of exterminating mice are the inspection, infestation severity, infestation location, home size, property type, removal method, exclusion methods, and geographic location.
- Some signs that a home needs mouse extermination are mouse droppings, nests, brown marks or gnaw marks, a musky odor, scratching noises, and mouse sightings.
- Homeowners and renters may be able to catch one or two mice with traps themselves, but a full-on infestation is best left to professional mice exterminators such as those from Orkin or Terminix.
The pitter-patter of little feet isn’t a welcome sound when it’s coming from inside the walls—or the cabinet, or underneath the sink, or under the stove—and can send a home’s residents scurrying to search for “rodent control near me.” While some people find mice cute, they are unfortunately unsanitary guests and can carry diseases, so it’s important for residents to deal with them as soon as their presence becomes apparent. But how much does professional extermination cost? According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the cost ranges from $176 to $579, with a national average of $377, but the total exterminator cost will depend on a number of factors.
How do residents know if they have mice? And does it matter whether it’s a house mouse or a deer mouse, or some other kind entirely? If only one or two mice have moved in, some residents may be willing to take on the job of removing them on their own. But if there are more than just a few mice, it makes sense to call in a professional. Professionals can be located by searching “mice exterminator near me” or, if the guests are a little larger, “rat exterminator near me.”
Factors in Calculating Mice Exterminator Cost
No infestation is exactly the same as the next, and different home situations can affect the complexity—and expense—of the extermination. For this reason, answering the question “How much does an exterminator cost for mice?” may be more complex than it would seem. Taking the following factors into consideration while budgeting can help customers prevent the total cost of the mouse exterminator or rat exterminator from being an unpleasant surprise.
Inspections determine the location and severity of the infestation and the need for any repair services. In many cases, extermination companies will offer a free inspection and consultation so that they can provide a plan and an estimate. Some companies do charge an inspection fee but will waive the fee if the customer hires them to provide services. When they’re not free or waived, inspections cost in the neighborhood of $100 to $250, depending on the size of the home.
Infestation Severity and Location
Many homeowners rightly wonder, “If I see one mouse, how many do I have?” Unfortunately, if a resident is aware of one, chances are there are at least several more. The size of the infestation will determine which methods of extermination will be most effective and how many follow-up visits after the initial visit will be necessary. After all, even the best mouse traps cannot eliminate an advanced infestation. Removing a small infestation can cost as little as $200 to $400, while a large problem can cost between $330 and $600 to remedy.
For nests that are tucked away in areas that are difficult for the exterminator to reach for bait, traps, or removal, the cost of the extermination will be higher. Costs will also increase for very large spaces because there is more ground to cover. For example, mice extermination in a barn could cost as much as $1,000, while taking care of a mouse problem in a shed will run only about $200 at most.
|Average Cost (Materials and Labor)
|$250 to $475
|$650 to $1,000
|$250 to $425
|$300 to $400
|$250 to $500
|$250 to $500
|$550 to $750
|$250 to $425
|$150 to $300
|$50 to $200
|$450 to $600
|$300 to $500
Extermination plans are commensurate with the amount of space that requires treatment. A larger area equals more removal tools, more setup time, more repair of potential entry points, and more follow-up. For reference, customers can expect to pay about $200 to $400 more for mice extermination in a 1,000- to 2,000-square-foot space. A 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot area may cost as much as $1,000.
Mice can be trapped alive and relocated; trapped, killed, and removed; or killed via other methods and removed. Trapping is the least expensive method of removal. The cost of live removal varies based on the type of property and extent of the infestation. Relocating the trapped mice is the primary expense with this method. Fumigation is the most expensive option, as charges are assessed by square foot and require significant cleanup after the process is complete.
One of the most effective ways to stop a mouse infestation is to have an exterminator identify potential access points to the home and block them, essentially rodent-proofing the home. According to Emory Matts, board-certified entomologist and a technical service manager for Rentokil Terminix, the best way to do this is as follows: “Seal up any gaps greater than a quarter inch (6 millimeters). Seal up any holes greater than a half an inch (10 millimeters). The gap or hole should first be filled with a rodent-resistant material such as metal wool and then held in place with a sealant or other appropriate materials.” Often this exclusion process is included in the base cost of the extermination, but if not, it’s worth inquiring about the extra fees.
Once the home is sealed, prevention measures can include pruning back trees and shrubs that help rodents climb up and into the home, installing screens over air vents to block rodent access, and repairing any holes in roofs and attic windows. Homeowners can hire a handyperson or contractor to do this work for about $50 to $300.
The size of the rodent population in an area affects the number of exterminators, which can mean a higher charge due to fewer professionals in the area. For example, mice exterminator costs in Atlanta (where mice and rats are common) are close to $765 on average, whereas in Pittsburgh the average price is $192. In addition, the costs for extermination tend to be higher in cities, where licensed exterminators are in high demand. Live removal in a city is particularly costly because of the distance the rodents must be transported for their relocation.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Even after getting rid of mice, homeowners still have work to do, and failing to budget for these extra costs can leave an extermination job unfinished or lead to reinfestation. Not all of these costs will apply to every situation, but they’re important for residents to take into account if they’re not included in the exterminator’s base services.
Mice may cause some damage while gaining access to the home, but once inside, they can really wreak havoc. Chewed drywall, gnawed electrical wires, damaged HVAC systems—the costs to repair these problems can quickly mount up. And if a mouse has chewed through a pipe and caused a leak, the costs can skyrocket quickly as the homeowner has to cover the costs of plumbing repair in addition to wall, ceiling, and floor repairs as well as potential mold or mildew damage. The inspection provided by the extermination company should give the home’s residents a good idea of what kinds of repairs may be necessary.
|Average Cost (Materials and Labor)
|$100 to $200
|$350 to $800
|$150 to $500
|$75 to $2,100
|$180 to $450
|$350 to $1,500
|$1,200 to $5,000
While exterminators will handle basic cleanup, including removal of traps, bait stations, and dead mice, many residents choose to hire a professional cleaning service to come in after the extermination is complete to give the home a thorough once-over to remove all traces of the rodents. Hiring a cleaning service costs $100 to $250, and doing so may provide peace of mind as well as a sanitary house.
Emergency Visit Fees
It’s a good idea to opt for emergency service if any residents of the home are immunocompromised and therefore vulnerable to diseases carried by mice. Most extermination companies have technicians on hand at all hours to come for emergency visits to do a quick investigation and set traps to begin the extermination. The exterminator will also need to return to do a full inspection and seal entry points at a later date. Customers can expect to pay between $550 and $750 for an emergency visit from a mouse exterminator, or more if it’s an after-hours or weekend call.
Dead Mouse Removal
Whether a homeowner sets traps themselves or hires professionals, dead mice are an unpleasant side effect of mouse extermination. Even one dead mouse can produce a foul odor, as well as potentially carrying diseases. Homeowners may choose to remove mouse carcasses themselves to save money. However, it may be worth hiring a professional who can dispose of the mice properly and safely. Professional dead mouse removal costs between $100 and $200.
In general, the initial estimate for the cost of mice extermination includes at least one follow-up visit so the exterminator can check on the progress of the extermination and, if it’s complete, clean up. In some cases, one such visit isn’t enough; the mouse population may have diminished but not be completely gone. In that case, the exterminator will schedule an additional follow-up visit and continue doing so until the extermination is complete. These additional visits can cost between $50 and $150 apiece.
Pest Control Plans
For homes with chronic infestations, many extermination companies offer a preset plan of monthly or quarterly service. This helps residents stay one step ahead of the mice by regularly checking entry points and using preventive treatments to reduce the likelihood that the mice will find the home appealing. These plans can cost between $50 and $75 per visit, depending on the frequency of treatment.
Mice Exterminator Cost by Removal Method
The cost to exterminate mice will depend on the method used. While few people relish killing mice, most also don’t want them in the house. When it comes to deciding how to get rid of a mouse infestation, there are plenty of options to choose from.
|Average Cost (Materials Only)
|$5 to $15
|$1 to $3 per square foot
|$3 to $10
|$3 to $5
|$2 to $15
|$300 to $500
|$750 to $1,000
|$2.48 for a 4-pack
Bait stations cost approximately $5 to $15 apiece. They house poisons in such a way that the mice can reach them but pets and toddler hands cannot. The only downside is that like basic poison, bait stations’ poison can present a danger to any animal that preys on the affected mouse.
Electric traps are one of the most humane and effective traps on the market. The mouse enters the trap to investigate the bait, is briefly stuck on a gluelike pad, and is immediately stricken with a quick jolt of electricity that the mouse never feels. While at around $24.98 each they cost considerably more than a simple plywood snap trap, the contained nature of the trap means residents don’t have to see or smell the dead mouse or touch it to dispose of it.
Costing between $1 and $3 per square foot, fumigating essentially means sealing the home and releasing a gas form of poison into the air, killing any mouse (or other animal) that breathes it in. After the fumigation has concluded, the home will need to be aired out and cleaned before the residents can return. There are many drawbacks to fumigation: Residents must leave the home for several days, the chemicals can be dangerous for pets and small children, and dead mice may remain hidden in the walls. That said, for a major infestation where the more humane options are less effective, fumigation may be the only option.
These traps cost between $3 and $10 each. Essentially, they’re a pad of sticky glue on a plastic tray. When a mouse walks across the glue toward the bait, the mouse becomes stuck in the glue and immobilized. Glue traps are one of the least humane options because there is no injury to the mouse, so it takes quite some time for it to die. For this reason, it’s recommended to use a glue trap only as a last resort.
Jaw traps use a mechanical action similar to the action of snap traps, but because of the jawlike shape and ease of setting, they kill the animal much more surely and quickly and are therefore a more humane option. They’re also easier to empty, set, and reuse. Ringing up between $3 and $5 apiece, they’re an economical option as well.
Live traps are baited, then close around the mouse without harming it when it wanders up to the snack. The mouse is then relocated at least 1 mile from where it was removed. In mild climates, this is an easy and humane option that avoids killing the mouse. However, in areas with extreme temperatures, mice may die from exposure to the elements before they can be relocated. Live removal is also one of the more expensive options because while the traps cost only $2 to $15 apiece, the exterminator must spend time and mileage driving from the home to release the live mouse.
While poisons are one of the more effective extermination methods, they should be used only if nothing else can be done. For example, it may be the only choice if a trap can’t fit into the space where it’s needed or if there’s less certainty of the mouse’s location. Poisons present a danger to pets and young children if ingested and also to any animal that preys on the poisoned mouse. The best mouse poisons cost about $300 to $500 on average.
Rodenticides are pesticides designed to kill all rodents in large areas. When sprayed in the garden or garage, they’re effective at getting rid of rats, mice, bats, and other rodent pests. At $750 to $1,000, they’re more expensive than the basic poison bait option, but they can be used over a large area. However, most mouse infestations can be treated by a more humane and less widespread method.
The least expensive type of trap at $2.48 for a four-pack, a snap trap is what many people envision when they think of a mouse trap. A spring-loaded piece of metal snaps and pins down the mouse when it investigates the bait. “Baited snap traps can be very effective at catching mice,” says Matts. “It is important to maintain fresh bait on the traps and use foods that the mice are eating. Position the traps in areas such as along walls, in corners, and other areas where the mice will likely travel near the traps.” While these traps are effective and cheap, they are not particularly humane, as the snap does not always kill the animal quickly.
Do I need a mice exterminator?
Knowing the signs of a mouse infestation will help ease the discovery for homeowners, when the fix may be a smaller campaign of traps and exclusion, as opposed to later, when the problem could be much more significant. The following are some signs residents may notice or want to look for.
Mouse Droppings or Nests
What does mouse poop look like? Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice, and fresh droppings are dark brown and moist, drying out as they age. Residents will want to look for them in places that are out of the way where a mouse might hang out undisturbed: underneath sinks, in back corners of cabinets or drawers, and underneath the stove or refrigerator, where it’s warm.
Mice build nests when they’re ready to breed. Their nests are a collection of random bits of fluff; fabric scraps, sawdust, and fibers are all common components. Nests can often be found in dark, confined spots, which is why it isn’t uncommon to find mice in the walls.
Brown Marks Near Entry Points
Mouse fur is like any other animal’s fur: It produces oils that eventually coat the mouse’s fur as a kind of protectant or waterproofer. When mice brush up against a wall or corner repeatedly, the oils on the fur leave behind a brownish greasy stain that is a telltale sign that the corner or hole is an entry point to whatever is beyond.
Mice’s long teeth allow them to make their way through cardboard, wood, and siding materials. The gnaw marks they leave behind are tiny but distinctive and get darker as they age, which can indicate whether the marks are old or new. Residents can check for gnaw marks on furniture, cabinets, and electrical wires.
Musky Odors or Scratching Noises
Mice use their own scent to return to places where they have previously found food or water, which means the scent will be especially strong along established paths. Residents who suspect they have mice will want to check in dark drawers or other small, enclosed spaces, where the musky scent will be stronger and more obvious.
The stereotypical scurrying sound is pretty distinctive in a ceiling or behind a wall, though wall sounds can be trickier to distinguish from the noises made by water moving through pipes. “You may hear mice squeaking, gnawing, or traveling through the walls,” says Matts. If there’s scratching and nothing else visible is moving, residents will want to check out the mouse situation as soon as possible.
Mice Extermination: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Can a homeowner or renter really DIY a mouse extermination? According to Matts, “For a few mice, usually that can be handled by the homeowner. However, if there are many mice, rats, unknown damage, or unique structures, a professional is better equipped to eliminate the issue promptly and thoroughly. They can also provide services that may prevent future issues.” Homeowners who are intent on tackling the problem themselves can head over to their local home improvement or hardware store for a few traps, pick up a pair of gloves and small disposal bags, and research how to get rid of mice themselves. They can even attempt to make their own homemade mouse traps.
However, if a resident suspects there are more than a few mice, or mice nesting in difficult-to-access spaces, professional help is likely required. Pros will know how to exterminate mice in a way that is both effective and humane. Calling a professional will likely be the fastest method, and in the end, the average cost of an exterminator for mice is not much more than the total cost of equipment, such as one of the best DIY pest control kits.
Regardless of whether a pro or a DIY job is the verdict, residents will want to consider the expertise a contractor has to offer when hunting for potential rodent access points. Mice can fit through incredibly small spaces, including many that don’t look like they’re big enough to squeeze through, but the extermination pro will be able to see the cracks and small holes a resident might overlook, as well as have good suggestions on how to fill the openings and often the equipment to do so.
Having a professional’s input can save money in the long run; the work will be done more effectively by someone who knows the job and has the instinct to hunt for and prevent critters from taking over the home. A quick search for “local pest control near me” will help residents find the best mouse exterminators for their needs. It’s also a good idea to research multiple pest control companies to find out which service is the best fit. Consulting reviews of Aptive, Terminix, and Orkin may be a good place to start
How to Save Money on Mice Exterminator Cost
While mice extermination isn’t inherently as expensive as some other home repair projects or improvements, it’s usually urgent in nature, which can make it difficult to work into the budget. When considering options, residents can check out the following potential savings tips to keep this project wallet-friendly.
- Reduce the chances of infestation. Get rid of what attracts mice—don’t provide a water source or a trail of snacks by leaving food out or open.
- Call an exterminator while the problem is still small. Doing so means they can address the problem before it gets too large (and therefore expensive).
- Consider a pest control service contract. If residents find themselves calling the exterminator several times a year, the service contract will pay for itself quickly—plus, they may be able to use the service for other invasive pests and in other areas throughout the year.
- DIY the deep cleaning. Once the exterminator has finished, residents can clean up minor infestations themselves using at-home cleaning supplies rather than calling a professional house cleaner.
Questions to Ask About Mice Extermination
Due to the potential health hazards of a mouse infestation, it’s important to choose one of the best pest control companies for extermination. The following are some questions residents will want to ask before signing a contract.
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of training do you provide for employees?
- Do you have any certifications?
- Are you licensed and insured to carry out this type of work?
- What kind of removal methods do you use, and why?
- What materials do you use to fill cracks and holes to preempt a reinfestation?
- Are your materials safe for my children and pets?
- What kind of cleanup will I need to do after the process is complete?
- What kind of follow-up do you offer? Is there a guarantee?
- Do you offer an annual plan, and if so, what is the cost?
- What payment methods do you accept?
Calling an exterminator for the first time is usually an act of panic or a knee-jerk response to finding mice or other pests in a home. There are many issues and questions that are specific to each situation, which can make it hard to make choices and get an idea of cost. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers.
Q. Is it worth getting an exterminator for mice?
In many cases, yes, an exterminator is worth the expense. Very small infestations can be handled by reasonably skilled homeowners or renters, but once it’s established that there are more than a few mice, it’s time to call a professional. Because the cost of DIY materials is similar to the cost of an exterminator, it’s usually worth it to call in a pro.
Q. What does an exterminator do to get rid of mice?
A good exterminator will search the house for potential nesting sites and for entry points. Once the entry points have been blocked and any old nests or remnants of existing mice are cleaned out, the exterminator will deploy a plan of action, usually funneling the mice toward a trap that’s been strategically placed and baited. Once the mice are caught, they’ll either be killed or released, and the traps will be reset until there are no more mice to catch. Then the exterminator will formulate a plan to help the homeowner or renter prevent reinfestation.
Q. Do mice come back after extermination?
Unless the dynamic that enticed the mice in the first place is eliminated, yes, they can return. The area will smell familiar to them, likely even if it’s been cleaned up, and if they sense that food and water are nearby, they’ll come back. This is why it is critically important for residents to identify and eliminate or block entry points.
Q. How fast can exterminators get rid of mice?
Generally, mouse removal takes between 1 and 3 months, though it depends on the degree of infestation and the size of the home.
Q. Do most homes have mice?
Each year, more than 21 million homes experience a mouse invasion. Many homeowners, then, spend time each year removing mice from their homes.
Q. What keeps mice out of your house?
The biggest draw for mice is a good source of food and water, and they can smell food from far away. Reducing damp or wet spaces and making sure that all food is safely stored away in glass or plastic containers makes the home less appealing. Once those elements are eliminated, sealing cracks, holes, and tiny access points will block the way for other mice trying to get in.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Angi, Fixr, This Old House, Pest Strategies, Pest World, Forbes