How Much Does a Mice Exterminator Cost?
While some homeowners may be comfortable handling mice removal on their own, others are not. A mice exterminator costs an average of $357, with a cost range between $172 and $543, making it an affordable expense for many homeowners.
- Typical Range: $172 to $543
- National Average: $357
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.” Mice are a fact of life for many homeowners and renters, especially as the weather turns colder, and an infestation doesn’t necessarily reflect the cleanliness of the home: Anywhere that provides a good water supply, a crumb here or there, and a warm place to nest is inviting to a mouse. 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.
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? Signs can be subtle if there are only a few mice, but as the problem grows, so do the number of indicators. Sounds such as scuffling in the walls and sudden small movements when a resident is entering a room can be the first signs. For most people, the first sure sign of mice is a small trail of droppings. Eventually, a musky, sweet scent may indicate that a mouse has died inside the walls or in a recess tucked away. In that case, it’s probably time to call in some help. While there are several kinds of mice that take up residence in human homes, it doesn’t particularly matter if the guests are house mice or field mice: It’s time for them to go.
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. Others simply might not want to deal with the mess and distasteful nature of handling the mice after they’ve been trapped or killed, and if there are more than just a few mice, it makes sense to call in a professional. This is because the extermination is about more than just removing the existing mice—the point of entry needs to be identified, and preventative measures need to be put in place to reduce the likelihood of future infestations. Professionals can be located by searching “mice exterminator near me” or, if the guests are a little larger, “rat exterminator near me.” But how much does professional extermination cost? According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the cost ranges from $172 to $573 with a national average of $357 (not much more than most people would spend on traps and spray foam for a DIY job), but the total exterminator cost will depend on a number of factors.
Factors in Calculating Mice Exterminator Cost
While the mechanics of mice extermination are fairly straightforward, the steps involved determine the overall cost. No infestation is exactly the same as the next, and different home situations can affect the complexity—and expense—of the extermination. Taking these factors into consideration while budgeting can prevent the total cost of the mouse exterminator or rat exterminator from being an unpleasant surprise.
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. Inspections determine the location and severity of the infestation and whether repair services are also necessary.
It is very, very rare to have only one mouse living in a home, so if a resident is aware of one, chances are there are at least several more. And if there seem to be many, the problem may be quite large. The size of the infestation affects the cost because it will determine which methods of extermination will be most effective and how many follow-up visits after the initial visit will be necessary. Removing a small infestation can cost as little as $200 to $400, while a large problem can cost between $330 and $600.
Mice are small and very flexible, and they prefer to nest in tight quarters where they feel secure. For nests that are tucked away in areas that are difficult for the exterminator to reach for baiting, trapping, or removal, the cost of the extermination will be higher: Think tight crawl spaces underneath the floors or recesses around pipes in exterior walls or basements. Nests or runways that are easier to access are easier to deal with and take less time, hence the reduced cost.
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. Homes that are much larger than average for their geographic location may incur extra charges to cover the cost of the time and materials necessary to complete the job.
If mice have taken over a shed and need to be removed and excluded, the cost of the extermination will generally be low, as the whole job is restricted to one small part of the property. On the other hand, a large home with an attached garage and outbuildings provides many hidden nesting areas and a large number of potential entry points, which means more time and materials and a higher overall cost.
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.
Most companies include the cost of removing spent traps and dead rodents from the home after the extermination process is complete. With larger infestations that require multiple visits, the cleanup may be added to the total cost as a separately billed item, but even if it adds to the cost, it’s a necessary expense. It’s critical to remove chemicals, poisons, and deceased rodents from the home promptly.
Exterminators can keep killing or removing mice and rats endlessly—and in some wooded areas, this may be necessary. In most cases, though, it’s good to have the exterminator identify potential access points to the home and block them, essentially sealing the rodents out of the home. 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, the residents have some work to do. This 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; all of these measures go a long way toward preventing reinfestation. These improvements may be DIY projects, or residents might prefer to hire a handyperson or contractor to do the work.
Some areas simply have more mice than others, or they have seasonal changes that drive the mice indoors. In other cases, the terrain lends itself to a large rodent population. 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. In addition, the costs for extermination tend to be higher in cities, where licensed exterminators are in high demand and treating one unit in an apartment complex can mean trying to get access to neighboring units as part of the abatement plan. Live removal in a city is particularly costly because of the distance the rodents must be transported for their relocation.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Once the mice or rats are out of the home, there’s still work to be done, 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.
Entry Point Repairs
Exterminators will block potential entry points, but if mice have been using them regularly, the area may need additional repair. Costs will vary depending on the location and type of repair; caulking and smoothing a crack in concrete are quick and easy fixes, but removing siding that a mouse has chewed through and replacing it will be more expensive.
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 in addition to 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 (even if the company doesn’t do the repairs, it should be able to point out problem areas). If the repairs look like they’ll add up to a significant cost, it may be worth checking with homeowners insurance to see if it covers repairs for this kind of damage. Some policies exclude damage resulting from pest infestation, but others will cover the cost of the repairs after the deductible is met.
While exterminators will handle basic cleanup, including removal of traps, bait stations, and dead mice, some people can’t shake the icky feeling that comes with knowing mice have been in the home. As a result, 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 so they can feel confident that all traces of the rodents are gone. While the $100 to $250 cost for this service may seem like an extravagance, it may be necessary for gaining peace of mind as well as truly sanitizing the house.
Emergency Visit Fees
Spotting a mouse in the kitchen feels like an emergency—no question. And spotting that mouse definitely warrants a call to an exterminator for the soonest regular appointment that’s available. However, those who have vulnerable family members in the home who may be particularly threatened by the bacteria and pathogens a mouse can carry in with them may have an actual emergency on their hands when they see a mouse. Most extermination companies have technicians on hand at all hours to come for emergency visits to do a quick investigation and trap mice that are obviously present and to set traps to begin a full extermination. The exterminator will need to return to do a full inspection and seal entry points at a later date, but the emergency visit will add a significant cost to the total price, especially if it’s an after-hours or weekend call.
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 preventative treatments to reduce the likelihood that the mice will find the home appealing. These plans can cost between $40 and $70 per month or $100 to $300 per quarter when added on after an initial infestation has been cleared out.
Mice Exterminator Cost by Removal Method
Nobody really likes to think about the mechanics of removing mice from a home. However, the method used can affect the cost, as well as the residents’ feelings about the removal itself. Mice are, after all, reasonably sentient beings, and some people find them to be furry and cute. While few people relish killing them, most also don’t want them in the house. There are quite a few options for removing mice from a home.
Live traps are baited with a tasty treat for the mouse, then close around the mouse without harming it when it wanders up to the snack. The mouse is then relocated to a new home, usually at least 1 mile from the home from which it was removed. While certainly more humane than a kill trap, live traps do have some drawbacks. In areas with extreme temperatures in the winter, a relocated mouse may perish anyway once the winter sets in, much more painfully than it would have in a quick kill trap. In other climates, this is an easy and humane option that avoids killing the mice just because they found and enjoyed indoor accommodations. Residents will also want to keep in mind that live removal is one of the more expensive options, because while the traps cost only $2 to $15, the exterminator must spend time and mileage driving from the home to release the live mice far enough away that they won’t find their way back.
The least-expensive type of trap at $1 to $2 apiece, a snap trap is what many people envision when they think of a mousetrap. A spring-loaded piece of metal snaps and pins down the mouse when it investigates the bait. These traps are effective and cheap but not particularly humane, as the snap does not always kill the animal quickly.
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, it becomes stuck in the glue and immobilized. Probably the least humane option, glue traps are appropriate in some situations where no other trap will fit or work, but in general they are to be avoided; because there is no injury to the mouse, it takes quite some time for the mouse to die.
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.
Electric traps come at a slightly higher price tag, but they’re also 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: The death is almost instantaneous. The tests are effective, and while at $30 to $60 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.
There are some circumstances where poison is effective as a mouse removal method, for example, if a trap can’t fit into the space where it’s needed or if there’s less certainty of the mouse’s location in the home. Poisons are less expensive than many traps, but they present a danger to pets and young children if ingested and also to any animal that preys on the poisoned mouse. While poisons are one of the cheaper and more effective extermination methods, they should be used only if nothing else can be done.
Bait stations cost approximately $5 to $15 apiece. They house poisons so that the mice can reach them but pets and toddler hands cannot. If poison is the best option for the extermination, bait stations can make it as safe as possible for the home’s residents. The only downside is that like basic poison, bait stations’ poison can present a danger to any animal that preys on the affected mouse.
Rodenticides are pesticides designed to kill all rodents in large areas. When sprayed in the garden or garage, they’ll kill mice, rats, bats, and other rodent pests. Rodenticides are nonselective; they’ll kill or render ill any animal that breathes it in. 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.
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 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.
Do I Need a Mice Exterminator?
Sometimes the discovery of mice in a home is a sudden, shocking, undeniable moment. Other times, a small clue leads a home’s residents to look for more clues until the picture begins to take shape. Knowing the signs or indicators of a mouse infestation will help ease the discovery, 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.
Presence of Mouse Droppings
Mice produce a surprising number of droppings for such small animals. Anywhere a mouse pauses to sniff, snack, or sleep, droppings will accumulate. 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.
Presence of Mouse Nests
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, such as behind refrigerators or within wall cavities.
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.
Chewing is a particular talent of mice: Their 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.
Mice use their own scent to return to places where they have previously found food or water. By following the musky, stale scent, they can retrace their steps, which means the scent will grow even stronger along established paths. Residents who suspect they have mice should check in dark drawers or other small, enclosed spaces, where the musky scent will be stronger and more obvious.
Unless they’re sleeping, mice are looking for food or building nests. 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. Scratching noises can also be heard as mice rummage around in a pantry or storage closet. 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 DIY a mouse extermination? If, to the best of their knowledge, it’s a small infestation of just a few mice, then sure—they can head over to the home-goods or hardware store for a few traps, pick up a pair of gloves and small disposal bags, and check for mouse trails to determine where best to set the traps.
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 the appropriate plan of action and ways to deploy the chosen method of elimination most effectively. Calling a professional will likely be faster and, in the end, not that much more expensive than running to the hardware store to get the right equipment.
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 for a mouse 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 start to narrow down their options.
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 to keep this project wallet-friendly.
- Reduce the chances of infestation. 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 such as Orkin or Terminix 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 materials to do it yourself 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 should 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 homes, 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 the cracks, holes, and tiny access points will block the way for other mice trying to get in.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Angi, This Old House, Pest Strategies, Pest World