Almost everyone enjoys the natural world outside our homes, and that world includes the lovely creatures that share our planet. However when these ‘outside creatures’ invade our homes and gardens, they aren’t so lovely, and we’ll do everything in our power to rid ourselves of the problem.
We’ll talk about the usual pests found in our homes, later on, as they deserve a section all to themselves. But, for now, we’ll describe pests as anything that damages our property, belongings or health. Usually, pest control costs vary depending on what type of creature, how much damage it causes, where we find them, and how hard they are to control.
Most types of pests include common household insects. But even these aren’t always pests. No-one would consider bees a pest in the garden. But, if you have a bee nest in your loft or shed, then you’ll want to move them on. Likewise, spiders do a lot of good in the wild and in the home. But, many people have a pathological fear of these creatures, that are mostly harmless in the UK. We tolerate mice and other rodents outdoors because that’s where they belong. But, if any move into our home and start to feed on our property, we call in an exterminator or try a DIY solution.
The benefits of calling in a professional pest control specialist often outweigh the cost. They have specialist knowledge of the habits of common household bugs and other pests and the best way to get rid of them. They have access to chemicals and methods that need special training to use safely. And, usually belong to a trade association that regulates their behaviour.
Pest Control Prices
The table below shows common pests found in UK households and their respective estimated costs (per treatment).
|Pest Control Task||Cost|
|Flea fumigation||£80 to £150|
|Wasp nest treatment||From £60/nest|
|Woodworm eradication||£500 to £1000|
|Bedbug removal||From £150|
|Silverfish removal||From £120|
|Mouse and rat control||From £120|
|Ant control||From £100|
|Cockroach removal||From £120|
|Mole & squirrel control||From £100|
The cost of pest control will vary according to a few factors:
- Location. Where you live has a significant effect on pest control prices. London and Southeastern areas have higher labour cost and will be about 10 to 20% higher than elsewhere.
- Type of pest. Each pest has its unique habits. Some will require indoor nest eradication, whereas others will need extermination or ‘pest–proofing’ by closing access holes. If you have a flea infestation, exterminate the adults first. Then, after a few days deal with the newly hatched young.
- Level of infestation. Large scale infestations might need multiple visits to remove all the pests.
- How many visits required? Some pests such as wasps will only need the nest removing from the property whereas rodents will need 2 or 3 visits to check traps etc.
- Size of property. A large property will often have a large infestation before it’s noticed. This will require many visits and more intensive control measures.
Let’s talk about each pest in turn.
Flea extermination can be by a professional or if it’s not very bad, try getting rid of them yourself. Most flea infestations enter the home from pets such as cats and dogs. The obvious signs are if your animal is constantly scratching or biting their fur. Of course, it might be a skin infection, but if you can see tiny black specks crawling around their skin or on the carpet, then you know you have a flea infestation. If you’ve caught it before the fleas have a chance to breed, you can just treat the animal with a DIY treatment. Alternatively, go to the vet for a more professional and more effective treatment, which might involve an injection.
To be safe it’s always a good idea to also clean the pet’s bedding. But, you should also treat the carpets and around skirting boards too. If you have a bad infestation, not only do you need the vet to treat your pet, you also have to fumigate the house to ensure everything has been killed. Otherwise, before you know it, 2 or 3 freshly hatched eggs will set off another infestation. Fumigation fees vary between £80 and £150 depending on the size of your home.
Wasps, Hornets & Bees
It’s important to distinguish between these three flying insects as they will be treated differently.
Usually, if you have a bee swarm in your home or garden, they won’t be destroyed as they are very useful creatures. However, they can be a nuisance and will sting if threatened. Therefore, your first call should be to a local beekeeper who will gladly come and remove the swarm to add to their bee stock. You can find one local to you by visiting the British Beekeepers Association website. Furthermore, they often won’t charge anything for the service.
If you have wasps or hornets, that’s a different matter. Queen wasps emerge in the springtime and start to build a nest. This can be anywhere but usually is within a hollow tree, a loft or a garden shed. You need a professional exterminator to get rid of wasps and hornets.
Typical prices to remove wasps and hornets start at £60 per nest.
You can find woodworm everywhere outside. From trees in the garden to cut logs ready for your woodburning stove. In fact, they are so prevalent that it’s a wonder that people don’t have more serious infestations. This pest is the larvae of various wood–boring beetles that lay their eggs in wooden furniture and structural wood in the home. Usually, a small infestation in a piece of furniture isn’t a problem. But, it must be dealt with promptly otherwise over time, it can spread. Furniture isn’t that bad as you can easily remove the offending item and either treat or dispose of it. However, when woodworm infests roof timbers, floorboards and joists, you have more of a problem. Eventually, the wood crumbles away and becomes more susceptible to various types of rot and fungal infestations.
If you have any doubt at all as to the extent of the woodworm problem in your home, contact a professional for an initial survey. Remember that the holes you see are signs that the beetle has left the area. It doesn’t mean that you haven’t still got the larvae unseen within the timber.
Depending on the extent of the infestation a woodworm treatment can cost between £500 and £1000.
Bed bugs feed on the blood from warm–blooded mammals, usually humans. They easily spread from existing bed bug infestations such as hotel rooms, student accommodation, care homes and furnished rental apartments. You can tell if you have bed bugs by the blood spots on your skin. But, mainly from the shed skins as they grow, and faecal spots that look like tiny black spots. You’ll see them on bedding, mattresses, headboard, bed frames etc. They have an odour too. Usually, this isn’t strong enough for humans to smell, although dogs can. But, if you have a heavy infestation, you’ll notice a sweet scent.
Treatment can be chemical or by heat. Bed bug heat treatment affects all stages of the bedbug’s life cycle including the egg. It’s safe and easy to use and the Heat Pod can treat all kinds of different furniture and fabrics. Do not try to eliminate bed bugs as a DIY task. But, enlist the help of a professional who knows what they are doing. Bedbug removal starts at £150 depending on the size of infestation.
These insects are harmless to humans but can make a mess of our property and foodstuffs. They eat sugar, cellulose and starch and live in damp humid conditions. Therefore, they can damage paper, wallpaper, plaster, unsealed cereal, sugar and other dried food packets, and damp clothes. Their favourite environments include bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and attics. They don’t sting or bite and don’t carry human diseases. However, they can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Unfortunately, they move quickly and can hide almost anywhere so they aren’t easy to find. The best way to prevent them from taking over is to clean up food crumbs and place dried foodstuffs inside sealed containers. Remove clutter and old newspaper, vacuum clean along skirting boards to remove dust and debris. And, try to keep the house dry.
Ridding yourself of silverfish is very hard to do using shop–bought treatments. Instead, choose a professional BPCA (British Pest Control Association) technician who is fully trained in the use of the correct chemicals. Typical professional costs start at £120 and increase with the size of your property.
Rats & Mice
Rodents such as mice and rats have a few similarities but also have major differences. If you want to exterminate them you need to know which species you are dealing with and which subspecies they are (different types of rat and mouse have different feeding and breeding habits that make them difficult to find and deal with).
Some rats like nesting in high places so you will often find black rats in the attic, while brown rats live on the ground and in outdoor burrows. Mice usually nest on the ground and in burrows but can climb when necessary. Rodent control tends to concentrate on providing poisoned fresh food that they will take home to their many young, who are entirely dependent on the adults.
You can buy DIY mousetraps from most hardware shops but unless you know which creature you’re dealing with, they’re of little use. You can also buy humane traps that attempt to trap the animal alive so you can let them go somewhere outside. However, don’t release them too close to someone’s property or they will set up home there.
Rat removal costs about the same as mice extermination and starts at approximately £120.
We don’t have many ant species in the UK, mainly because they prefer warmer temperatures. However, the Garden or Black Ant found in the UK is a nuisance. Although they don’t carry diseases that affect humans, they forage far and wide. This means they could walk through just about anything that might transfer dangerous pathogens onto our kitchen worktops or into our food cupboards.
Mostly ants stay outside but come indoors in search of sticky sweet substances. Remove the attraction by clearing up after yourself in the kitchen and put sweet substances inside sealed containers.
Most ant baits work by combining a sweet sticky substance with a poison that the ants take back to the nest, thus eliminating the entire colony.
Professional exterminators survey your home and notice where the ants walk. They will leave caches of poison at various places along the route and come back after a few days to renew the poison. Ant control starts at about £100 and will increase depending on the size of the property and the size of the infestation.
Cockroaches carry bacterial infections such as salmonella, dysentery and gastroenteritis. They also carry parasites such as roundworm and tapeworm. And, carry viral infections such as polio. Their droppings and shed skins also encourage fungal infestations in the house. So, if you have an infestation of these, you should have them exterminated straight away.
They are very tough and can withstand almost all DIY treatments. Therefore it’s important to call in the professional with extermination methods powerful enough to kill them in all of their lifecycle stages. They breed fast and spread to nearby properties if not stopped immediately. Therefore call in the professional pest control technician with their proven insecticides and in-depth knowledge of these insects. The cost starts at about £120 and will increase depending on the state of the infestation. But, the cost is worth every penny.
Moles & Squirrels
Moles don’t directly harm humans and don’t share our foodstuffs. They live outdoors, burrow underground and mainly eat insects and earthworms. However, their tunnels and molehills can cause damage to turf, lawns, sports grounds, bowling greens as well as damaging plant roots. Professional exterminators use traps in conjunction with fumigation of their tunnels. Phostoxin is the most effective chemical to control moles. And, it eventually decomposes into a small pile of harmless yellow powder that does not affect soil or plant life.
Red squirrels are native to the British Isles and eat seeds, flowers, shoots, berries and caterpillars. The Red Squirrel isn’t classed as a pest. Instead, it’s a protected species under the Wildlife and Conservation Act 1981.
Grey squirrels damage property, transfer disease and threaten other wildlife. The grey squirrel is an invasive foreign species that threaten our native red squirrel among other animals. They will happily eat birds eggs and young birds, feed off young tree bark, as well as seeds and fruits.
Therefore, it is an offence to release a captured grey squirrel back into the wild. Instead, it must be disposed of humanely. Control of this species must be left to licenced professionals who know how to handle them and who are trained in conservation and wildlife management.
Moel and squirrel control will cost from £100.
Pest Control Methods
There are four main methods of pest elimination.
Fumigation is a very effective way to control pests. The method fills a volume with gaseous pesticides to either suffocate or poison the pests. However, it can only be effective if the pests can be confined inside the volume of the gas. Usually, the pests exterminated by fumigation include woodworm and wood–boring beetles, moles, moths, bedbugs and cockroaches.
This is a method of pest control that uses a pest’s natural predator to reduce numbers to more manageable levels. Professionals use this method against insects and their larvae and is a very successful way to reduce their population.
Poison and trap placement
These methods use insecticides and other poison chemicals usually disguised as food attractive to the pest being targeted. For best results, the poison must not just kill the creature that eats it, but also be transferred to either the rest of the nest or hive when dealing with insects like ants or cockroaches. Or, be taken back to the nest of young when dealing with mammals like rats.
Traps are also used to control pest numbers. For example with rodents or larger predators. There are two types of traps, humane traps where the animal (usually a mammal) is confined and then released far away in the wilderness. Or, traps where the creature is confined and killed humanely.
Complete Habitat Removal
Animals that need a nest or hive, often cannot live without it. Wasps and ants are examples of this method. A wasp colony builds a nest from masticated vegetable matter to make a type of paper. The queen stays with the nest while the workers forage for food. Removal of the paper nest from your house to a site such as a tree is a good method of control as the wasps will just follow the nest and stay with it. Alternatively, the paper nest can be burned to destroy the nest and the queen. The wasps no longer have a nest so will then disperse and either live on their own or find another colony. Both these methods must be done by a professional who has the correct protective clothing as in both cases the wasps will attack en-masse to prevent the destruction of the nest.
One of the first things one considers when thinking about pest control is the handling of poisons. In the UK, all handling of chemicals must be done to comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002. As you might expect, the regulations cover how to store and handle chemicals. Similarly, the Control of Pesticides Regulations severely restrict the sale and storage of certain pesticides and only allow access for qualified and trained pest controllers.
You must also be aware that traps and poisons that kill pests must work quickly to spare the animal as much pain as possible. Trained professionals are aware of how these traps and poisons operate and only use those approved by law.
The British Pest Control Association lists all the legal and approved methods available to control pests and provides training if you are considering doing it yourself. Any other method will be classed as illegal.
Habitat removal might be illegal depending on the creature you intend to make homeless. Typically, this includes bats, which are considered protected as are their roosting places.
You must protect other species of wildlife from harm when using poisons and traps, as most of them will be protected species.
Cheap Pest Control Ideas
You can buy pesticides to use at home without supervision, from hardware shops and similar companies. Bear in mind however that they won’t be as effective as those poisons available for use by trained professionals. However, they should be okay if you have a very mild infestation.
Although many companies produce pesticides, one company in particular ‘ZERO IN ULTRA POWER’ sell many types of pesticides. These are designed for use against ants, wasps, bed bugs, flies, cockroaches and others. You can buy these from various shops but Screwfix is one of the best online retailers to buy them from. Prices vary between £5 and £20 depending on the size of container and type of poison.
You can buy slug pellets from all garden centres quite cheaply to protect your garden plants. These also work against snails too.
You can buy mouse traps from Amazon and other similar online retailers as well as all garden centres for a few pounds.
Remember that the items available to the general public aren’t designed to use against a large infestation. For this, you need to hire a suitably qualified professional.
5 Tips For Hiring a Pest Control Specialist
- Is the pest control company certified and properly insured? They must be able to prove the qualifications of their technicians and whether they are a member of a suitable trade association such as the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) or the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA).
- Does the company’s website look up to date and professional? Read every page and see what information they give. You are looking for a knowledgable site, that tells you something about the company’s history and the type of work it specialises in.
- How long has the company been trading? You need to hire someone who can demonstrate their experience and has many clients, resources and knowledgable staff.
- It‘s pointless hiring a company that deals with pests found on a farm if you own a takeaway restaurant. So, make sure the company is suitable for your specific industry.
- How easy are they to contact and ask questions? Their website will probably give lots of information about the company. But, does the person you speak to on the phone know the information too? Most pest control companies have an approximate price list. But, a reputable company will want more information than can be given from a phone call. A good company will not only cure your pest problem, but they will also present you with either, a way to prevent further infestation, or at the very least reduce the chances of infestation. And, they can only do this by doing a survey of your property and identifying problem areas that need to be addressed. For example, do you leave food about the house? Do you live next door to a farm? Or, have you a rubbish heap in the garden full of food waste.
Pest Control FAQ
Do ultrasonic pest repellents really work?
Ultrasonic pest repellers are supposed to emit sound at a frequency that will keep the pest away from your home. Some ultrasonic repellents might work in the short term. But, most don’t effectively control household pests.
Do I need to leave the house for pest control?
Generally, there isn’t any need for you to leave the house owing to the modern sprays now available. However, to be safe the technician might ask you to wait 15 or 30 minutes before entering your house to allow the treatment to dry and the fumes to dissipate.
What can I do if my neighbour has rats?
If you or your neighbour have an infestation of rats, contact the local council’s environmental health department. They will send out a technician to survey the location and apply poison in appropriate places if it’s needed. They will also make follow up visits to ensure the problem has been sorted out.
What is the quickest way to get rid of mice?
Buy various types of traps and place them in appropriate places around the house. Bait them with suitable food (not cheese). Mice prefer some type of cereal, so a piece of wholemeal bread will be good. Another favourite is a piece of chocolate. If one type of trap doesn’t catch one then another type will. As soon as you have caught a mouse, empty the trap, place more bait and wait for the next one to bite.
How do I find where mice are coming from?
Inspect your attic, loft space or crawl space for holes and nests. Inspect the pantry or kitchen cupboards for holes around skirting boards. Find where pipes and wires enter the house. Fill each hole with something inedible such as fibreglass insulation, cover this with plaster.
How do you clean your house after pest control?
Wait about 3 or 4 days for the treated area to dry, then clean your house as best you can with a disinfectant solution and vacuum cleaner. Now you have spent out on a professional pest control technician, you don’t want the pest to come back. Make sure you clear up after meals so no food is left out as an attraction to the pests.
How do I prepare my house for pest control?
Depending on the pest, wash your pet’s bedding in hot water and detergent or destroy it. Then vacuum all the carpets in the house and along the skirting boards. Mop hard surfaces with a solution of disinfectant and water. Don’t forget to clean inside closets and cupboards. Finally, vacuum and clean all furniture especially underneath and between cushions.
Find Pest Controllers Near You
Having unwanted pests in your home is no joke. Not only is it a nuisance but the pest could be a health hazard to you or your pets. You could try the DIY route. But, most pesticides you can buy aren’t very strong and won’t deal with a heavy infestation. To find out the best pest control prices for a survey and pest eradication, complete the form on this page and you will receive 3 or 4 quotes from professionals near you.