The Best Pest Control Service

Our homes contain all sorts of appealing micro-environments for rodents, roaches, and other pests. The best pest control service works with you to create a plan of attack that exterminates the existing population and deters future ones. As such, it should have efficacy guarantees written into the contract. We homed in on five solid providers with a broad range of services, holistic pest management tactics, and communicative customer service.

Best For
Residential Pest Control
Orkin
Pros
60-Day work guarantee
Large pest library
Cons
Not available in four states: Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming
Service quality depends on franchise

Why we chose it

60-day work guarantee

We looked for a 30-day work guarantee in all pest control services, but Orkin goes a step further with a full 60 days of complimentary follow-ups. Because pests often need repeat treatments before they’re knocked back, two months of on-call defense can help you treat the problem more thoroughly without adding to your existing bill. It’s an extra layer of assurance that helped make Orkin our top residential pick.

Large pest library

Orkin stands out for its impressive online catalogue of pests, something no other company provides in equal breadth or detail. Detailed synopses of the appearance, habits, and favorite hide-outs of every imaginable bug equip you to identify and understand pest issues as they crop up. As a more informed pest-controller, you’ll know better how to mitigate problems by interrupting pests’ preferred habitats. Orkin’s illustrations and descriptions of critters from amphipods to whiteflies not only proves its knowledge of a full gamut of pests, but also its preparedness to battle them. Every entry includes what Orkin can do to combat the pest in question.

Orkin's library includes:
  • Amphipods
  • Bat bugs
  • Bed bugs
  • Beeles
  • Box elder bug
  • Caddisfly
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Centipedes
  • Chinch bug
  • Cicadas
  • Crickets
  • Dobson flies
  • Dragonflies
  • Earwigs
  • Firebrats
  • Fleas
  • Hornets
  • Horntails
  • Jerusalem crickets
  • Kissing bugs
  • Kudzu bugs
  • Lace bug
  • Leaf footed bug
  • Leaf miner
  • Lice
  • Locusts
  • Mayflies
  • Mealworms
  • Mealybugs
  • Mice
  • Millipedes
  • Mites
  • Mosquitoes
  • Moths
  • Psocids
  • Roaches
  • Scorpion flies
  • Scorpions
  • Silverfish
  • Snails and slugs
  • Spiders
  • Sowbugs
  • Spiders
  • Springtails
  • Stink bugs
  • Termites
  • Thrips
  • Ticks
  • Walking stick bug
  • Weevils
  • Whiteflies

Points to consider

Not available in four states

Residents of Alaska, Wyoming, and the Dakotas don’t yet have access to Orkin pest control.

If you live in South Dakota, you’ll have recourse to Truly Nolen, a hot-weather pest pro that operates in most states of the geographic American South as well as other pest strongholds such as New York.

If you live in North Dakota or Wyoming, call up Terminix, a national provider on par with Orkin that’s especially strong in commercial pest control.

Spotty customer reviews

Although consumers tend to share grievances on customer review sites more often than positive experiences, we did notice that Orkin customers have more scheduling complaints (missed appointments, primarily) on online forums than other companies. The good news — if you aren’t satisfied with your local Orkin technicians, you can cancel your contract within the first three days, no strings attached.

Best For
Commercial Pest Control
Terminix
Terminix
Pros
Extra-long commercial work guarantee
Boons for company accounts
Online chat
Cons
Not available in Alaska or Montana
Treats half the pests that Orkin does

Why we chose it

Extra-long commercial work guarantee

Terminix offers the standard 30-day work guarantee when it comes to residential services. But if your pest problem is taking place in your office, restaurant, or organic sugar packing plant (or any of those, plural), it’ll step up its game. A Terminix commercial contract offers nearly three months of free emergency assistance.

Boons for company accounts

There are a few benefits to Terminix commercial pest control that we didn’t see with any other provider. The first one is a discount: If you recommend Terminix to another company, you’ll be rewarded with a lower rate.

The second one is a convenience. If you enlist pest control services for multiple outlets of your company, you can use your Terminix account to monitor technicians’ arrival, reports, and treatment methods — for multiple outlets of your business or just one. It’s a bit like tracking a package, but with richer information.

Online chat

Terminix, Orkin, and Rentokil Steritec all have strikingly similar websites, but Terminix’s clear layout and communication channels pull it to the top. Time-consuming phone trees are par for the course with most service companies, but Terminix provides online chat, and that makes a huge improvement in communication. Quickly get the answer you’re looking for from reps who are knowledgeable about the company, its services, and what you can expect from your technician’s visits.

Points to consider

Not available in Alaska or Montana

Like most nationwide providers, Terminix doesn’t quite make it coast to coast. If you live or do business in Montana, check out Orkin for your needs. They have strong plans for both residential and commercial pest control.

Treats half the pests that Orkin does

The most common pests are probably already familiar to you: rodents, mosquitoes, cockroaches, termites. Terminix focuses on these familiar species, with a modest total of 22 covered critters listed in their service contract. And half of those pests belong to the premier category, meaning you’ll pay extra to get them treated.

Together, the pests Terminix lists in its standard and premier packages represent the pests most likely to be wreaking havoc in your home or work space, but we tallied over double — a whopping 51 pests — in Orkin’s control line-up. If you know or suspect your pests are on the exotic end, you may be better off with Orkin.

Best
Natural Pest Control
Eco-Wise
Eco-Wise
Pros
Sets the standard for green pest control
Employs natural and organic products
Emphasis on pest control education
Cons
Not available in 11 states
Guarantees vary by franchise

Why we chose it

Sets the standard for green pest control

Like the other companies on our list, Eco-Wise Critter Control is a franchise. However, it’s also a certification program that allows existing local pest companies to become affiliated with Eco-Wise’s standards. These standards primarily deal with using biological and cultural means (part of an “IPM toolbox”) to relieve pest problems, rather than relying on pesticides alone. If you’re invested in green pest control, Eco-Wise sets the bar high for education and certification.

Employs natural and organic products

Eco-Wise’s doctrine suggests always consulting the necessity of deploying chemicals, rather than releasing them as a first approach or by a set schedule. In addition to restricting pesticide use, Eco-Wise Critter Control opts for organic formulas, only turning to low-dose pesticides when natural measures aren’t enough.

Emphasis on pest control education

While most pest control companies use the fine print to mention the homeowner’s role in pest management, Eco-Wise includes your participation in its battle plan. Customer education is a key point in their IPM approach. In addition to providing your technician full access to your property, Eco-Wise also asks that you assist in creating a written document that outlines the pest problem, the steps decided on to deconstruct the pest’s environment, and your ultimate goals. Eco-Wise emphasizes the homeowner’s active role in pest management; because of this, it promises greater success in eradicating the current infestation and avoiding future ones.

Points to consider

Not available in 11 states

Eco-Wise boasts outposts in a sizable number of states: well over half, and many of the most populated. It also has an outpost in Washington, DC. But if you live in one of the 11 states it doesn’t service (Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Montana, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wyoming), you’ll have to find another company.

Guarantees vary by franchise

Because Eco-Wise is not a united corporation in the sense of Orkin or Terminix, you’ll need to check with your local branch for specific work guarantees, discounts, and response times. Those vary somewhat from business to business, which makes it slightly harder to gather information about your prospects. That said, we spoke with a service rep who assured us of a 30-day work guarantee and the availability of wildlife removal.

Best
Pest Control for Southern States
Truly Nolen
Truly Nolen
Pros
Seasonal treatments
More affordable
Present in 30 other countries
Cons
Not available in 33 states
No industry-specific plans for commercial pest infestations

Why we chose it

Seasonal treatments

Pests, like all other living things, alter their behavior depending on the weather. In the summer, you may be plagued with a certain species of creepy crawly; in the winter, something furrier may have moved in. Truly Nolen operates in states with extreme weather and offers quarterly treatments that target pests according to the season. While other national providers are present in all of the same states as Truly Nolen, that company’s dedicated presence in Southern and urban regions speaks to their specialized preparedness for a harsh environments.

More affordable

Your home, climate, and specific pest problem all affect the bill you receive from pest control professionals. That said, according to reviewers and past customers, Truly Nolen can typically cut you a better deal than more nationally recognized brands such as Orkin and Terminix.

Present in 30 other countries

Whether you live across the border year-round or are just hoping to have one name to call for pest problems in all of your properties, it’s nice to know that Truly Nolen also operates in 30 countries, including Puerto Rico and Canada. You can expect the same work guarantees and seasonal treatment plans in those locales.

Points to consider

Not available in 33 states

Truly Nolen does business in just 17 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

Because of this, Northerners will have to turn to one of our other top picks to rid themselves of pests. However, if you are suffering from an infestation, chances are actually high you aren’t a Northerner. According to data collected for Forbes by Statista, America’s most pest-infested cities largely lie in Truly Nolen’s coverage areas: the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Southwest. Where it’s hot and densely populated, you’ll find pests. You’ll find Truly Nolen there, too.

Forbes-Chart for Pest Control

Source: Forbes

No industry-specific plans for commercial pest infestations

While other providers have bespoke plans for commercial spaces like restaurants, hotels, packing plants, and offices, Truly Nolen offers only two commercial plans — one for food-handling businesses and one for non-food-handling businesses. If you seek them out for a commercial infestation, you may not experience the same level of personalization as you would with another provider like Terminix.

Best
Year-Round Pest Control
Rentokil Steritech
Rentokil Steritech
Pros
A year-round lockdown on infestation
A huge range of specialty services
An impressive research and development arm

Cons
Not available in four states: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota
Excludes some of the more uncommon pests

Why we chose it

A year-round lockdown on infestation

The company goes by a lot of names — Rentokil Steritech, Rentokil, Steritech, Ehrlich. All of them offer Pestfree365. This unique year-round service provides scheduled defense against pests, meaning you can play both defense and offense against the critters that crop up at different points in the year. In addition to planned visits, you can call and get a technician there within 24 hours. What’s more: They’ll keep coming back until your problem is solved.

A huge range of specialty services

Most companies offer the usual extras: wildlife management, fumigation services, termite monitoring. Rentokil Steritech steps it up by also providing heat treatments, odor management, drain line service, bird deterrent solutions, electronic fly killers, and vegetation management. No matter your issue, it’s likely that Rentokil has you covered.

An impressive research and development arm

Rentokil points to its research and development headquarters as the basis for its enduring — and expanding — expertise. The company has made many recent acquisitions, solidifying its stature in research. While it hasn’t been in business as long as Orkin and Terminix, Rentokil plays a larger role in more recent innovations, like a device that emits electronic waves that encourages pests’ departure. Rentokil’s entomologists are frequently noted in breaking research stories. As pesticides are refined for efficacy and environmental concerns, you can feel confident that you are working with a company deploying the best new findings.

Points to consider

Not available in four states: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota

Residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and North Dakota do not yet have Rentokil Steritech offices in their region. If you live in one of these states, you will need to turn to either Orkin, Terminix, or a local agency for your pest control needs. Rentokil is in the process of acquiring more and more small pest control businesses, so these last four states may be broached soon.

Excludes some of the more uncommon pests

Rentokil tends to focus on the main pests. The website offers a list of Top Ten Pests, and the 36 pests included in the year-round pest control contract that originally caught our attention doesn’t come close to the hundreds that can plague any given environment. You will be well-protected from the main threats, but know you may need to expand your coverage if the bug Rentokil turns up isn’t the bug it expected.

Guide to Pest Control Services

How to choose a pest control service

Decide how important natural pest control is to you

If you’re keen on ensuring that the measures you take against pests are organic, you want to secure a company that aligns with Eco-Wise. If you would prefer the immediate efficacy of pesticides, you’ll be fine calling in one of the more standard national providers. All of our top providers utilize IPM, so any one you choose will still deploy a balance.

Do some reconnaissance of your own

Start collecting data about the nature of the damage you find, what critters you’ve seen (appearance, number, location), and anything you can discern about their behavior. By the time a technician arrives, you’ll be better prepared to ask smart questions about their proposed treatments and help devise a more effective battle plan.

Use a pest control service with work guarantees

Because treatment methods are often targeted at a single developmental stage, it can take many treatments before a pest population is thoroughly cleaned out. Make full use of work guarantees and pick up the phone whenever you see a resurgence in damage — it’s a sure sign that another generation is hard at work. That said, experts advise basing your decision off of presence of pest, not damage levels.

What about pest control for Alaskans?

None of the otherwise “national” pest control corporations we appraised do business in Alaska. However, we’ve pulled together a short list of local candidates that fulfill our criteria.

Pest Control Service FAQs

How can I identify a pest infestation?

Learning to spot and manage pests early on can help minimize your pest control bill and damage to your home.

A few typical signs of infestation:

  • Noise: A pitter-patter sound when you press your ear to a wall or any surface with crawl space behind it.
  • Smell: A whiff of musk or ammonia, not unlike an unclean hamster cage.
  • Gnawing: Tiny teeth marks on wood, plastic, pipes, wiring.
  • Droppings: Rat poop looks like you expect, but keep an eye out for the refuse of tinier animals, too. If you find what looks to be coffee grounds in the laundry room, you aren’t sleepwalking; you have cockroaches.

For general advice on pest management and pesticides, look to university programs and environmental agencies. If you’ve already caught a glimpse of the critter, locate it in Orkin’s visual library of pests and start reading up on the species’ least favorite things. It’s important to know the pest you’re targeting so you don’t waste time, money, and toxic chemicals fighting the wrong war.

What are pest control methods?

There are three approaches to pest control:

  • Cultural methods modify the pest’s environment to reduce its safety and access to food and to increase its vulnerability to predation and other naturally unconducive elements.
  • Chemical methods largely refer to pesticides. Pesticides are not always popular, but they’re frequently demanded in cases of extreme pestilence. Timing, method, and formulation are all key, as is regulation.
  • Biological methods include fumigation, sterilization, electronic/ultrasonic devices, traps, and poison bait (either fast-acting to prevent egg-laying and curtail nuisance or slow-acting to allow transport back to home base).
How can I prevent a pest infestation?

Most pest species love humid environments, pet bowls, house plants, openings into your home, and the food in your pantry. Disrupting these pockets of your human habitat goes a long way in preventing infestations:

  • Regularly move potted plants and pet dishes and clean the floor beneath them.
  • Keep outdoor plants two feet from exterior walls.
  • Seal off cracks and crannies that give easy entry to heated interiors (and close your chimney flue while you’re at it).
  • Finally, regularly wipe down areas where you store grains and sugar.

The Best Pest Control Service: Summed Up

Orkin
Terminix
Eco-Wise
Truly Nolen
Rentokil Steritech
The Best
For Residential Pest Control
For Commercial Pest Control
Natural Pest Control
Pest Control for Southern States
Year-Round Pest Control
States Serviced
46
48
32
17
46
Number of Pests
51
22
20
9
22
Work Guarantee (In Days)
60
30
Varies
30
30

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