Why You Should Hire an Exterminator for These 9 Pests (and Skip the DIY)

Mizuki Hisaka
Written by Mizuki Hisaka
Updated April 1, 2022
A bedroom interior with a huge window behind the bed
Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty images

Leave the big infestations for the pros

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They don’t call them “pests” for nothing, and you might have already pulled your hair out trying to get rid of them with DIY tricks. On the other hand, you might just have a low tolerance for creeping, crawling (or flying) things. 

Whatever the case, there is a lot you need to know about your pest problem to get it under control. There is a point of no return when you have to call a pest control company, and here are the ways to spot the signs of a major infestation.

1. Termites

It may take three years or longer to be able to detect termite infestations, and the colonies can range from a few thousand to millions of termites. By the time you notice something is wrong, it is likely too late for DIY solutions.

Call in state-licensed exterminators that can safely apply termiticides that can last four to 10 years. Common pest control solutions include liquid soil termiticides, injecting building materials with termiticides, bait stations, and wood treatments. These extermination options are complex and require knowledge and skill to complete safely and correctly.

2. Bedbugs

A serious bedbug problem can spread to all corners of your house, with the tiny pests burrowing in every small crevice and crack they can find. If you have a large, visible infestation or have recurring infestations, call in a bed bug exterminator.

An exterminator uses professional-grade equipment to kill the bugs. They have the equipment to do whole room treatments to kill bugs with extreme heat. They may also use portable heat boxes or high-grade steamers. A pro may also apply powerful insecticides or use spot-freezing techniques.

3. Ants

Leftover food on the kitchen counter is one of the top problems that lead to pest infestations, along with unmaintained yards and crawl space gaps. Ants are a fairly common problem, but they usually go away once you clean up any messes.

But if you consistently see a large number of ants in your house no matter how well you clean, it’s time to get professional help. Exterminators will identify the ant types invading your home and treat them with insecticides.

Fire Ants

If you find a fire ant mound in your yard, it’s a good idea to call an exterminator. Although you can only see the mound, there could be enormous underground tunnels that extend over 25 feet from the mound.

These aggressive ants will attack anyone who dares to disturb their nest, and they are capable of biting you multiple times. A licensed art exterminator will use a non-repellent pesticide to treat the mound and the surrounding areas.

4. Spiders 

Seeing a spider or two every once in a while is pretty normal. However, if you are noticing an extremely large number of spiders or if you’re spotting dangerous spiders like black widows or brown recluse spiders, call an exterminator.

Black Widow Spiders

The good news is that black widow bites don’t usually lead to fatalities. The bad news is that the bites can cause complications like muscle cramps, vomiting, and trouble breathing that could require medical attention. If you’ve noticed a black widow infestation, immediately call an exterminator. You’ll notice lots of messy spider webs and silken sacs with eggs.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders aren’t aggressive, but their bites can inflict pain. Symptoms include a deep sore, fever, chills, and weakness.

These spiders multiply quickly so it can be hard to get an infestation under control. They also like to live in dark, hard-to-reach places, which makes treatment difficult. DIY options could take months, and success is not guaranteed. Exterminators will use products only available to professionals like pyrethroid dust or pyrethroid insecticides.

5. Cockroaches

A cockroach infestation, along with ants and rodents, is considered one of the worst types of pest infestations that you can have.

Spotting one American cockroach is one thing, but if you start to see them consistently during the day, you likely have a serious problem on your hands. On the other hand, if you see just one German cockroach, there’s a chance you already have an infestation.

Cockroach exterminators can use professional-grade insecticides, or you can opt for boric acid products that are effective, but safer to use around pets and kids. 

6. Fleas

An exterminator disinfecting an empty house
Photo: PixelsEffect / E+ / Getty images

In most cases, you can get a flea infestation under control by treating your pets and home. But if you’re not seeing an improvement, or if you’re dealing with a second round of fleas in your home, call a professional. 

They will kill all the fleas and treat the inside and outside of your house. You can hire GreenShield certified companies that are mindful of chemical usage while providing effective pest control.

7. Stinging Insects

You’re not alone if you’re afraid of flying, venomous insects. Although stinging insects are part of nature, they can pose a danger to us when they build nests on, or near our homes. If you have known allergies to these insects, don’t wait to call an exterminator.

Wasps and Hornets

Different species are more aggressive than others. To avoid starting a war with an aggressive species of wasps or hornets, pass the job along to an exterminator. Moreover, nests that are bigger than the size of your fist are too dangerous to remove on your own.

Bees

Just like with wasps and hornets, bees become a problem if they set up shop near or on your house. But because bees are an important part of our ecosystem and pollinate our food supply, you may consider calling a humane bee removal service rather than killing them with chemicals. 

Local beekeepers may also be open to removing your honey bee colony. The American Beekeeping Federation maintains an online state-by-state directory of beekeepers.

8. Mice and Rats

If you see a rodent once in a blue moon, you can probably fix the problem by setting out traps. But if you notice a lot of fresh droppings or chew marks on your packaged food or furniture, these are signs of a large infestation. You may also hear strange scratching sounds behind walls and ceilings or notice a strong ammonia smell. 

For large infestations, calling a rodent exterminator is your best bet. They will seal all entry points, set up traps throughout your house, use bait stations, and potentially fumigate the house.

9. Snakes

If a snake ends up in your home and you’re not sure if it’s venomous, you should assume that it’s dangerous and call an exterminator. Some snake bites can be deadly so you can’t take any chances.

If you find what looks like a venomous snake outside, you can leave it be and see if it leaves your property. If you’re concerned, call for help. Exterminators will remove the snakes and apply repellents so you don’t have the same problem again.

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