Let’s start by talking about the fact that, because cockroaches are both nocturnal and excellent hiders, if you see one, there’s probably a whole infestation getting their beauty rest in a corner of your residence you would never think of looking. Yeah – I’m sorry for putting that image into your head. My skin is crawling, too.
The only reason I bring this up is because if you have seen a cockroach in your home (particularly during the day), you should probably work on getting that cleared up – despite the fact that it can get a little pricey (as we’ll talk about in a minute). It’s not just the one cockroach you saw in your home. He has friends and they’re lurking nearby.
The cost of cockroach extermination depends on a lot of things. For one, whether you plan to do it yourself, or a professional.
You can try to manage the infestation yourself by doing little things like pouring bleach down your drains (about $5 a bottle) and laying out roach traps (about $10 for a 12 pack).
Then there’s electronic pest repellent devices which emit an ultrasonic pulse, which is said to not only repel pests, but to also prevent them from mating. They run about $20-30 each, depending on the device and the retailer.
You may know somebody who used one of these devices and swears that it reduced the number of bugs in their house, and they’re probably right. The problem is that they don’t reduce the appearance of every type of pest. While they are effective against crickets, they’re less effective on cockroaches (they also have no effect on ants and spiders).
Of course, there are also the more common methods: contact spray ($5-7 a can) and bug bombing ($15-$30). While contact sprays are great for the cockroach you’re currently staring down on your kitchen floor, they don’t kill ones that you’re spraying wet killer on. Once it dries, cockroaches will crawl all over that with no problem. Bug bombs are more effective, but can cause all sorts of crazy problems, like blowing up your house, if you don’t use it correctly.
No, I’m not kidding. They’re called bug ‘bombs’ for a reason: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Contaminants/Pesticides/BugBombs. Besides the relatively less common problem of causing physical damage to your house, itself, it’s not at all unusual for human (or even pet) occupants of the house to experience lung problems after the use of these powerful foggers. This can happen to people who even have relatively healthy lungs. Those with asthma should avoid foggers completely – regardless of how many hours they let pass before reentering the premises.
Professional services also use incredibly powerful substances. Some of these substances may be harmful to you or your pests, however, in recent years many pest control companies have recognized that most homeowners want to get rid of cockroaches, not their small dogs, and have come up with more clever ways to balance between these two demands.
One such method is to use a substance that causes tiny abrasions in the exoskeletons of pests as they crawl over it – capitalizing on the differences in the bodily makeup of mammals vs insects (and spiders).
Professional services can cost anywhere between $30 – $400. The reason for this huge disparity can be attributed to anything between what kind of substance is used to how often you get the service. If you sign a monthly contract, each treatment may cost less both because a less potent chemical will be used and because most companies will discount for repeat business.