Exterminators vs DIY: Which Is Better?


Mice infestations are no joke and should be dealt with immediately. Both I and my friends have been subject to mice infestations and they’re pretty nasty. Not to mention the health risk that they pose.

We managed to deal with the issues ourselves, except for one friend whose problem was much worse. He had to call the mice exterminators.

When I was younger, exterminators used to come to our apartment to get rid of ants. For some reason, living on the 3rd floor of the building wasn’t enough to keep ants away (which is fairly interesting since I thought that ants couldn’t appear so high).

Nonetheless, they kept appearing for a couple of years and have only recently stopped (probably a year or two ago).

What we realized is that, even though exterminators are a great choice because they get the job done quickly and efficiently, they aren’t going to be good for your wallet if you constantly have issues with pests. You should always study the problem and think about how to solve it.

In this case, your best bet to get rid of the issue completely is to do it yourself. Sure, exterminators should be contacted for the first, second, and even third time that these pests appear, but anything more than that should be dealt with by you.

Let me explain by showing you why exactly choosing both exterminators and DIY is great, especially if you know when to choose which option.

Exterminators vs DIY: The Costs for Getting Rid of Mice

This is where most people turn their heads when they realize something isn’t in their budget range, which is completely natural as sometimes expectations differ from reality.

Now, if hiring a rat exterminator is too expensive, how do you plan on getting everything you need to completely prepare your home? What should be understood is that both DIY and Extermination Services cost some money.

Of course, DIY is cheaper, but it’s also more tedious since you have to do everything yourself, plus you have to learn everything.

Now, you might be tempted to simply purchase the necessary equipment and start studying this topic. I don’t disagree with you, I think that if you feel like you’re able to do something yourself, you should do it yourself. However, in this case, this might not be the best idea.

First of all, if you hire rat exterminators for the first couple of times, you might spend more money, but you’ll be ready to learn some tricks. If the rat exterminators are really friendly, they might even show you how to prepare a couple of traps. And even if they don’t, you’ll be able to leisurely explore the Internet and learn as much as you can.

Okay, enough small talk, let’s get down to the numbers!

If you live in the US, the average national cost of prepping 10 rat traps can be anywhere between $100 and $600. The cost itself depends on where you live (how easy it is to get to your place, how often do infestations happen, quality of work regarding exterminators, etc.). It also depends on the types of traps that are needed to trap the rats, and even if the job requires a professional or a recruit!

DIY rat removal processes can cost anywhere between $2 and $30 (sometimes more but not often).

I know what you’re thinking – “Well DIY is way cheaper than hiring a rat exterminator, I should go for that”. You aren’t wrong – DIY removal is cheaper than an exterminator, but you, alone, won’t be able to get rid of an infestation. DIY works for isolated cases where there’s one specimen or, in some cases even two.

So, what should you do?

Choosing the Best Option to Take Care of Mouse Problems

Well, when it comes to making the right choice, it can get quite tough. In most cases, you should opt for the rat exterminators to deal with your rat issue, but in some rare cases, you might manage to do it all yourself.

You see, the exterminators will get rid of the rat infestation fairly quickly. After that, there’s a high chance that such an infestation will never happen again.

However, if you think that there’s even the slightest chance of it returning, you might be better off by researching as much info as you can and turning that knowledge into something you can use to get rid of rats yourself.

Ultimately, it’s your choice. But there are still a couple of things you should know before making your final choice.

Mice Problems: Exterminators vs Wildlife Experts

These are terms that people often get confused with. The most common cause of misunderstanding what these people do is calling Wildlife Experts “Exterminators”. The main difference between these two groups of professionals is that exterminators mostly deal with insects.

There are cases where rat exterminators are available but such jobs are mostly the business of the Wildlife Experts. This is important to know as making the mistake of calling the wrong people can cause you to take even more time dealing with a rat infestation.

Whenever there are problems with rats or similar vermin, first check if there are specialized vermin exterminators. If there aren’t, contact the Wildlife Experts.

There are a couple of other differences as well which are mostly related to what tools each group brings. Regular exterminators don’t usually have tools to deal with rodents and other vermin, although some exceptions are possible. Wildlife Experts generally have a vast array of tools that are specialized in dealing with a multitude of different pests.

However, you should always tell them what your problem is like and describe as much as you can.

This leads us to our next point!


People make the mistake of assuming that exterminators know everything about their house and situation. The truth is, these people need help as well.

The more information you can provide them with, the better and faster their service will be.

You don’t need to know a vast majority of things related to catching and killing mice in order to be helpful. Simply mention everything that might be necessary for the exterminator to know.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Mice?

Well, there are a couple of things you should know.

  • Mouse Control Specialists (which is what they prefer to be called) have a vast knowledge of the senses, habits, and behavior of mice. Keep this in mind when calling an exterminator and explaining your problem.
  • The training that they go through helps them learn various techniques of catching mice such as glue boards, traps, sanitation, etc.
  • Be prepared to have your house explored by the exterminator. This is standard practice as they need all the info they can get and inspecting your home can help them out immensely.
  • The best exterminators are those that know how to prevent future outbreaks from happening.

Now, there are a couple of extra secrets that they use. You can follow in their steps which should enable you to defend your home all by yourself.

  1. Figure out their travel routesAnd keep in mind that this isn’t the only thing you need to do when it comes to travel routes. You’ll need to specifically pinpoint where they walk; in other words, which places do they frequently visit. Once you have this knowledge, you’ll be able to place traps strategically so you cover more ground and have a higher chance of catching one. The best locations (if it fits the description of this tip) are corners since mice generally tend to “hug the wall”.
  2. Trap locationAfter you’ve figured out exactly where the mice go, it’s time to place some traps. Traps differ in many ways but we’ll cover that as well. What’s good about placing traps (and their location in general) is that you should place them near the places where the mice sleep. This is good news since, most of the time, these places will be in the attic or some similar place where the mice are protected (or so they think).
  3. Choosing the right means of fighting miceYou might think that the most popular trap is the mousetrap with cheese. However, exterminators actually prefer using poison to deal with mice. The reason behind this choice is that poison acts quickly and can easily decimate a mice population. Other traps are mostly used as a support or when a customer specifically asks for a different trap.
  4. MousetrapsRegular mouse traps are a good choice but they’re best used as support. The ideal position where you should place them are corners where a mouse would feel safe to explore. A trap set in the open will easily be ignored by the mice.
  5. Mouse-proofing This is a topic for another time when it comes to DIY mouse-proofing since it takes some extra skill and knowledge. However, you should know that not all mice exterminators also offer mouse-proofing. Some companies offer it, some don’t. If you like conspiracies then it might seem logical that they don’t offer such services so they could come to your house whenever an infestation reoccurs.

Consistency Some infestations are smaller than others and most people simply give up when the big one hits.

But consistency is key and no matter how large it might seem, you will be able to deal with it, either alone or with the help of exterminators. In any case, exterminators rarely give up on finishing the job which is why you should give it your best as well!


The cost of getting rid of a mice infestation is often the game changer for most people. Exterminators aren’t cheap but once they finish the job, you’ll be set for the foreseeable future.

DIY exterminations are generally a lot cheaper but you most likely won’t have the complete skillset and knowledge that exterminators have. Here’s a table of costs for both DIY exterminations and exterminators.

Note: These costs apply to the US alone.

Extermination Method/Process of ExterminationDIYExterminator
TreatmentFull (a good number of multiple different traps)
Individual Trap CostsGlue Traps: $6-$8 each
Jaw-Traps: $3-$5 each
Bait Stations: $5+ each
Snap Traps: $1-$2 each
Live Traps: $2 each

As you can see, ringing up the exterminators costs more and you can’t really find out how much their equipment and traps cost (although, some might tell you if you ask). By all accords, purchasing your own traps and dealing with the mice infestation yourself is the better option.

People do purchase equipment themselves and research what needs to be done to take care of such an issue.

However, if you want to completely clean your home, or if the infestation is too large for you to handle (or if you don’t like mice at all), then getting the exterminators might be a better option.

After all, they’ll deal with your problem until there are no more mice left. Once they do, you can be sure that such an infestation won’t happen again (unless something unusual happens).

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