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Best Pest Control Services 2020: Bug, rodent, and reptile removal

Best Pest Control Services 2020: Bug, rodent, and reptile removal
(Image credit: Terminix)

The best pest control company is where you will want to turn if an unwelcome visitor makes themselves at home where you live. Sorting the nuisance as quickly as possible will usually be a priority, but you'll also want to be reassured that the problem has been dealt with properly, to prevent the pests from coming back. If the pest in question is one that even the best pest control company is having trouble removing in one go, some exterminators are available who will return regularly to make sure your issue is kept in check. The top-rated pest control companies will usually offer both single visit and and recurring services.

Expert Advice

(Image credit: Terminix)

"Bugs often like to hide in the attic and basement, where they can remain undisturbed for long periods of time. Sealing potential entry points can help, but tiny bugs will likely find a way inside. Silverfish and centipedes are commonly found in storage boxes that have been sitting in the dark for a long time. Doing some organizational cleaning can help remove potential hiding spots. Throw out unneeded clutter so you don’t have silverfish taking up residence in your home."
Terminix Cleaning Tips

Our shortlist of the best pest control services includes companies that operate across the United States. Although there is no single company that has a presence in each and every state, there will definitely be an exterminator among our selection that will treat pest control needs where you live. Indeed, it is usually best to choose a pest control company in your local area - or at the least, a service that might operate nationally but has representatives local to you - as they will have more experience of pests that prevail in your area.

The majority of the best pest control services will provide a quote free of charge off the back of a first assessment of the problem. Aware that home owners want quick riddance of pests, most services will also arrange a visit within 24-hours of you first making contact. It's not uncommon for exterminators to provide a quote without having sight of the problem, either online or over the phone, although this gives rise to the potential for the cost of the job to rise when it has been fully evaluated or even completed. In this respect, it is the most reputable pest control companies that you'll want to deal with your problem, and ones that will provide a guarantee as well. Some might promise a free return visit if your problem reemerges within 24 hours, while others might guarantee for 30 days or longer.  

In order that you can help yourself, a pest control company will usually offer advice on preventing a pest coming back, and can often help identify and address weaknesses within your home that have contributed to the pest becoming a problem. The websites of pest control services also usually contain useful information about various pests - in some instances, you might even learn enough to try and rectify the problem yourself. That said, there will always be circumstances where calling on the services of a pest control company will be a must, particularly if you're unsure of the critter you're dealing with or believe your health and safety is in danger. 

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There's no 'one-size fits all' solution when it comes to pest control. While methods for removing pets remain fairly standard across companies, the size of your home and the severity of the infestation will dictate not only the type of pest control you need, but also the price and the time it takes to get done. In most cases, pest control companies will need to either visit your property to survey it, or at least speak to you in person to get an idea of what they're dealing with.

As such, getting multiple quotes and comparing providers is essential. Some may understand your house-type or area a little better than others, and different pest control companies tend to specialize in certain types of pest. There are plenty of generalists out there, but they tend to quote higher based on more generalized service types, so we suggest getting quotes from both local an national companies so you can do an accurate and fair comparison. An aggregator like BuyerZone will help you to do exactly that, so give them a try.

How we chose the best pest control companies

In order to make sure you select the right pest control company for your particular problem, we recommend considering the following things. These are areas we looked at when assessing the candidates for this guide.

Locality

What pest control services operate in your area, and how local are they really? Just because one operates in your state, this doesn't mean they're truly local. You should look to see what companies operate in your county, and whether or not they can get to your home quickly and easily. Not only will this make the process quicker, but you'll also be able to get them back easier if the problem recurs.

The more local your company, the more likely they are to recognize and deal with your infestation. Exterminators in southern Florida, for example, know how to deal with crocs, whereas Washington State operators will be very familiar with termites and ant infestations (for example). 

Service Plans

In some instances you'll be able to get a one-time call-out for a pest infestation and never need to bother with that company again. Good for you - your home is pest free! However, for many, infestations are just a persistent problem of the area they live in, so if you fall into this category, make sure you look at what service plans are on offer. Some companies will revisit once per month (or every other month), whereas some will come over per season, and others whenever you want to call them out. Choose the right plan for you, and don't rely on one-off call-outs if you know that your pest issue will persist.

Account Management

If you have an account with a company, for regular visits, we suggest you pick a provider that allows you to manage your account online via their website, rather than on an ad-hoc basis. It makes it easier for you to track your services and know how much you're paying for them.

Cost

In a way, cost is something you have little control over when it comes to pest extermination. While you will get different prices by comparing quotes, we definitely think it's best to get the appropriate level of service you need, rather than saving money and not quite getting the right solution. You may also find that only one pest control company operates locally, and that does cut down your options.

Speed and service

You will know how urgent your problem is. Some pest control companies are quick to quote and slow to service, so look at user reviews in your local area to see how companies really operate. Sadly, service can vary from office to office, so while we can give you an overview of the companies we found to be the best overall, you may get better or worse service in your particular area.

Pest control companies at a glance

While many pest control companies offer similar services, they will vary in terms of extras, after-care, and the actual states in which they operate. Some may deal with specific types of pest that others won't handle, so it pays to know what's what. The table below should give you an idea of what features are on offer.

Pest Control Companies features
TerminixTruly NolanOrkinRentokilBulwark
States covered4718451612
Yearly plans?
Exotic pest removal?
Free quote?
Guarantee30-day money back24-hour return24-hour returnVaries per officeReturn visit

Best Pest Control Companies

We tested a range of pest control companies to create the below list. Not all of them will necessarily operate in your area, or deal with the pests present in your home, but you should be able to find a number of providers that can deal with your issue quickly and professionally.

Terminix: Best pest control company overall

(Image credit: Terminix)

What we like

  • Operates in most US States
  • Great customer service

What we don't like

  • Not in all states
  • Costs a little more overall

Terminix is a pest control company that operates through a wide selection of states, offer fast response times and cover a wide range of pests. Terminix offers a wide range of pest control solutions and deals with almost every pest infestation imaginable, from bugs like ants and cockroaches to arachnids like spiders, as well as, rodents like mice and rats. It even has experience covering the rarer, and geographically specific pest problems, like scorpions.

Terminix has a vast array of plans in place that are designed to treat specific scenarios of pest infestation. The most basic pest control plan it offers is a one time treatment remove and help prevent further infections, but there are yearly protection plans where a pest control technician visits a property quarterly to help protect your home. There are special termite protection plans in place, where Terminix will help prevent damage from termite infestation by creating bait barriers and yearly inspections. You can also get free inspections and quotes if you are just discovering a pest problem and are unsure what to do.

Terminix offers a guarantee for most services and plans - although this can vary depending on the nature of the plan. If you are not satisfied by the results of its pest control service in 30 days you get a refund of the treatment cost, and the plan is cancelled. Terminix also has a very helpful and accessible customer service department that offer around the clock assistance and advice.

The biggest disadvantage of Terminix is the slightly higher prices it charges when compared to other pest control services. Although Terminix offers pest control services in a lot of states, it doesn’t operate in Alaska, Montana, or North Dakota.  

Terminix User Reviews and Ratings

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  • Scores B+ rating via Better Business Bureau
  • Scores 2 out of 5 via Consumer Affairs

We looked at over 650 reviews of Terminix via sites like the BBB and Consumer Affairs, and found them to be well liked. Their local reps are often praised for good service, and they are well liked by people newly moving into homes who have to then deal with a historical pest infestation. More recently, their services appear to have suffered during COVID lockdowns, but this is completely understandable, and they appear to be trying to get back on track with these issues.

Where complaints occurred - usually about operatives not showing up to scheduled appointments - Terminix usually responds well to the criticism and offers resolution. Another criticism of Terminix appears to be customers failing to understand quotes, and complaining when they were charged more than they expected.


Truly Nolen: Best value service

Truly Nolen is a great low-cost option

(Image credit: Truly Nolen)

What we like

  • Competitive prices and detailed plans
  • Strong removal and prevention methodology

What we don't like

  • Only operates in 18 states
  • Customer service varies between branches

Truly Nolen currently have offices in just 18 states, and it has a comprehensive list of offices on its website; searchable by ZIP code. If you are looking for a quality level service for a lower price, Truly Nolen is a great option. It offers lower prices than most pest control companies we contacted in most scenarios. Truly Nolen also puts an emphasis on fast response times. It strives to respond to all queries within a 24 hour period, and it was extremely fast in responding to our query. However, as it is a franchise, the standard of customer service can vary greatly between branches. 

Truly Nolan is a pest control service that has expertise in dealing in a wide range of pest infestations. There's an emphasis on controlling insects and spiders in a lot of services and plans, but it does have coherent strategies in place for other kinds of pest control problems like termite infestations, rodent control, bed bugs, scorpions and wasps. There is also an emphasis on helping a homeowners develop a yearly pest control plan, with quarterly visits. All plans and strategies are developed around seasonal pest control issues that are local to the area, so TN offers targeted strategies that focus on the context of the infestation. 

Truly Nolan’s plans for interior pest control include powder application to treat pests hiding in doorways windows and under the floorboards, destroying spider-webs and their food source, monitoring stations to report on insect activity in your homes, bait stations to trap ants and cockroaches and botanical aerosols. 

Truly Nolan also offers a decent educational element on its website - even having a dedicated blog on pest control solutions for all kinds of infestations. It does offer more in-depth advice than Terminix, but this advice can be a little harder to find.

Truly Nolan User Reviews

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  • Scores 3.5 out of 5 via Yelp
  • Scores A+ rating via Better Business Bureau

We read more than 200 user reviews of Truly Nolan and found the company to be well liked when it comes to service. They're great at pest control, according to most reviews, although they seem to fall behind when it comes to lawn care and persistent problems. Many reviewers praised the knowledge of the operatives who visited their home.

Where there are complaints, they tend to center on the company failing to resolve long-term infestations like termites or bed bugs. The majority come from people with service plans who don't feel they have gotten value for money when their pest problem hasn't been resolved.


Orkin Pest Control: Best for service plans

Orkin Pest Control: Best for service plans

(Image credit: Orkin)

What we like

  • Good service plans
  • Great bug library

What we don't like

  • Not in all states
  • Some other services offer more

Orkin Pest Control has wide coverage throughout the United States, so you're likely to be able to use their services for your pest problem. The only states that are not currently covered are: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska. That's an impressive spread. Orkin will remove almost all pest types too, from cockroaches and ants, through to larger pests like mice and reptiles. 

Orkin offers coverage plans for persistent pest problems too, which means visits to your home every month. However, if the infestation is persistent, they will schedule visits even more frequently if necessary, which is an excellent service. Because Orkin's coverage is so good, they have speedy response times too. You can expect an operative at your home within 24 hours, on average, which is fairly standard for most pest removal companies, but still very reassuring.

The company's website, pest library, and customer service are all good, although the knowledge online isn't quite as good as some other providers. Overall, Orkin offers an excellent package for pest removal.

Orkin User Reviews

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  • Scores 2.5 out of 5 via Yelp
  • Scores 1.6 out of 5 via Consumer Affairs

Despite the lower overall scores, Orkin's customers seem very satisfied with the service they received. Most praise the fact that the operatives leave their home clean and tidy, and many appreciate that they get good service from their local operatives. In total we looked at more than 70 reviews of Orkin from this year alone.

The main source of criticism appears to be around the price that Orkin quotes and charges for its services. Pest control is rarely simple, and Orkin often charges additional fees for products and services necessary for different homes, and this is something the bulk of negative reviews appear to take issue with.


Bulwark Pest Control: Best overall local service

Bulwark Pest Control: A great local service

(Image credit: Bulwark)

What we like

  • Decent local knowledge
  • Good online pest library

What we don't like

  • Limited availability
  • Slower to respond

If you're lucky enough to live in an area serviced by Bulwark, it's a good option for getting rid of pests. It operates in 12 states, mainly based in the South, and has great local knowledge of the types of critters that plague these areas of the country. Even within these states, though, coverage is patchy so there's little guarantee you'll be inside the service area. Callouts can take up to 48-hours too, which is another downside, although this is only for customers who live a significant distance from the pest control specialists.

Online Bulwark has a good pest library, and a very professional site. While quotes can't be given over the phone - as is standard with pest control companies - prices are very competitive for both one-off callouts and service plans. You'll also find good customer service, and a comprehensive list of pests on the website, which offers information on how best to deal with them if they become a persistent problem.

Bulwark User Reviews

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  • Scores a 4.5 out of 5 via Yelp
  • Rating of A+ and accreditation via the Better Business Bureau

If you're lucky enough to live in an area where Bulwark operates, you'll get great service. This is the overwhelming message from the 200+ user reviews we read for the company. It's by far and away the most loved pest control company via Yelp, and has relatively few complaints on the BBB. People lavish praise on how prompt Bulwark is, how friendly and professional its operatives are, and how reasonable the prices end up.

Outlying reviews suggest that Bulwark had issues with showing up to appointments, but have since cleaned up their act. Almost all negative reviews are from before 2018, and Bulwark appears to be on top form right now, which is pleasing to see.


Rentokil Presto X: Best reputation

Rentokil

(Image credit: Rentokil)

What we like

  • Top-notch service
  • Fast call-outs

What we don't like

  • Only in 16 states
  • Poor website

Presto-X has very good customer service and satisfaction, but it is limited by coverage in the US. While Rentokil is the largest pest control provider in the UK, its US franchise (Presto-X) is relatively small-scale. This pest removal provider offers the same options as most others, including 24 hour call-outs, and fast inspections and removal. You'll also be able to take out service plans, for persistent critters, or just pay for one-off visits.

While the website has limited options, especially when it comes to managing your account, you can book visits online and make payments. Other providers have slicker online experiences, though, so you should consider the bigger players like Terminix or Orkin if you want a slicker service.

Presto-X does offer a pest removal guarantee, and will come back free of charge if the treatment doesn't work, and you don't have a persistent problem.

Rentokil Presto X User Reviews

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  • Scores a 2 out of 5 via Yelp
  • Scores A+ rating via Better Business Bureau

We didn't find a huge volume of user reviews for Presto X, but the ones we did find varied significantly. This indicates that it all comes down to the quality of the service in particular areas, although one thing that was apparent throughout is that users liked the quality and eco/animal-friendly nature of the products that Presto X uses. It seems some customers form a great bond with certain local pest control technicians, which is great to see.

Customer service appears to be a bug-bear (pun intended) among Presto X's less satisfied customers. Some are charged incorrectly, and others have struggled to get a response from the company to deal with issues, repeat infestations, or general complaints.

Pest Control FAQs

The world of pest control is quite a confusing one, and includes a lot of jargon. You'll also experience different techniques and language with different types of pest, so it pays to know a few things before you call each provider up. Here are some general FAQs to get you started.

How long does pest control take?

This very much depends on what your pest problem is. While perimeter pest control may only take an hour or two, the complete takeover of your home can last several days. If you're getting a home fumigated, this is a longer job, and can take over a day. 

Most pest control services advise you don't return to your home for several hours after is has been cleaned, and return time - depend on the chemicals used, and the pest that has been exterminated - will vary from several hours to a whole day. Keep this in mind if you're trying to manage pets and working schedules.

In terms of quotes and visit times, most pest control services aim to be with you within 48 hours for a quote, and some will treat urgently if you feel you're in danger.

How much does pest control cost?

According to HomeGuide, a site that tracks the average price of quotes across a huge range of services, the average price for a single pest control visit in the United States currently stands at $150. This covers the cost of a single treatment, and not a repeat service. Obviously, the price varies according to the type of pest you have, and the materials used, but $150 is the national average.

On average, users across all the sites we reviewed suggested that they needed between 3-4 visits to clear up most pest issues, which means that the average cost for an average complete pest eradication is $450-600. Sometimes you'll pay more, if extra visits are needed, and sometimes you'll pay less for a simple problem that requires less work. The maximum you should pay per visit is $500, and this covers very specialized and dangerous pest control, which may need intensive work on your home or the environment around it. 

Compare these prices against, say, a 12 month service plan from your chosen provider to see what works out most cost effective. If the plan is below $450, and you expect you'll need a year of treatments, we'd say that's a good price.

Are pest control methods eco-friendly?

Most companies offer free inspections for termites, ants and bedbugs, and then supply you with a quote. Companies are required to follow EPA rules so you can expect them to use products and methods that are safe for you, your family, your pets and the environment.

Pest control companies must also follow regulations for the chemicals they use. And the best pest control companies, like Terminix, use environmentally safe chemicals and spray more powerful poisons responsibly. Some services, such as Eco-Wise, even offer natural and organic pest control options.

We contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to learn about safe and eco-friendly pesticide usage. One of the most important takeaways they gave us was that you should ask the exterminator what pesticides they plan on using. 

A spokesperson from EPA stated, “Be sure the pesticides being used are registered with EPA, as necessary, and that the applicator reads and follows the instructions on the label.” With the knowledge found on the EPA website, you can see whether the exterminator is using chemicals correctly or if their technique might place you and your loved ones at risk. Keep in mind that good pest control companies won’t be afraid to share their chemical list with you.

Should you get an ongoing service contract for pest control?

Many companies offer ongoing pest control services, for homes with persistent pest issues. While homes in rural and woodland areas are liable to more pests, you will often get repeat outbreaks of things like bedbugs or urban mammals, like rats and mice, in city areas. Your pest control service should be able to advise on whether or not persistent treatment is necessary, and will give you tips on how to make your environment less hospitable to pests in the future. Pest control actually starts outside the home, then moves in - think of this as the company first dealing with the root issue, then resolving the symptoms of the issue.

Some pest control companies will insist on monthly visits to manage the perimeter of your home, in order to manage the actual cause of the infestation. This is good for prevention. Others will visit quarterly or less frequently, and do a more thorough service, which could include a perimeter fix, and a treatment to both the outside and inside of your home (it all depends on what pest issue you have). 

Our advice in terms of whether to choose an ongoing or one-off treatment really comes down to risk. A rodent infestation, for example, may be fixed with a single visit, and a repair or modification to your actual home (something as simple as fixing an entry point in your exterior wall). However, if the environment around your home is fertile for rodents, it's better to continually manage your perimeter to avoid them coming into your home in the future and to rid your house of them when they do sneak in.

Pest Control Glossary

  • Bird of prey control: Sometimes birds of prey, like falcons, are used to remove pigeons and other bird-pests. It's safer, and more environmentally friendly.
  • Contraband netting: Wire fencing used to stop animals gaining access to specific outdoor areas.
  • Entry point: This is where the pest originally gets access to your home. It can be anything from a gap in your wall, a hole in your roof, or an ingress underneath your floor.
  • Fumigation: The process whereby a chemical is released into your home to clear out an insect or bug infestation, like termites or bedbugs.
  • Heat treatment: Often used as an alternative to chemical fumigation for the removal of mites and bedbugs. It's safer and more effective.
  • Licence: Find out if your pest control company is licensed by getting in touch with the Department of Agriculture for your specific state.
  • Mites: These are smaller bugs - often hard to see with the naked eye - like bedbugs, which can infest and quickly multiply within a home.
  • Return to wild: This is where a pest control company will attempt to return a wild animal to their natural habitat, after it has invaded your home.
  • Traps: Many exterminators will use bait and traps to clear out animals like rats and mice in your home. Some are lethal, some non-lethal.

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