What’s the Difference Between Pest Control & Extermination?

When you have a rodent or insect infestation in your home, who do you call? A pest control specialist or an exterminator! Pest control and extermination are often terms that are used interchangeably. While both have the same goal of getting rid of pests, the various elements involved are different. The main difference is that extermination occurs when pests are already in the home or yard. Pest control, on the other hand, is used to prevent insects and rodents from getting into your home. It is meant to be a long-term solution. 

Basically, pest control is the secret to preventing extermination in the first place. By being proactive, you can keep ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, bees, rodents, and other pests at bay. 

Here is a more in-depth look at what pest control and extermination entail and how they differ from each other.

What Pest Control Includes

Pest control focuses on prevention. A pest control expert can find the source of the pest problem and get rid of it. If you do get pests, a pest control expert will eradicate them and then take action to ensure the pests won’t return. Pest control companies focus on ensuring your home is free from all pests, not just a certain type.

Pest control companies also provide subscriptions to pest control services. Many offer monthly or quarterly inspections for pests such as termites, cockroaches, and rodents. During these inspections, the pest control specialist will look for ways to stop any pest infestation before it starts. This may include sealing up entry points for pests and looking for maintenance issues that need repair.

What Extermination Includes

Exterminators provide pest extermination and pest elimination services. When you hire an exterminator, it is because you have an immediate pest problem. The exterminator will come out as soon as possible (typically by the next day) to eradicate the pests from your home. 

Exterminators focus on getting rid of the pests as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means that the pest control methods may be intense. Chemicals and fumigation may be involved. This can be scary if you have children or pets, so you may need to work with your exterminator to find pest-elimination options that are safe for your family. 

Pest extermination will often be more expensive than pest control, but the results are much quicker. Plus, many exterminators come with a guarantee, so they will often return if the pests are not 100% gone. 


Here are the key differences between pest control and extermination:

  • Scope. Extermination is a specific aspect of pest control. It is a reactive approach that involves the complete eradication of an existing pest infestation. Pest control, on the other hand, is much broader and includes a range of techniques and practices. It is a proactive approach aimed at reducing pest populations and maintaining a pest-free environment. 
  • Approach. Pest control methods are intended to be preventive and environmentally friendly. They focus on long-term solutions and aim to minimize harm to those that are not pests. Extermination, on the other hand, typically involves the use of more aggressive methods to quickly eliminate pests. This may include the use of toxic chemicals and other measures that may have a more significant environmental impact.
  • Goals. The goal of pest control is to keep pest populations at manageable levels and prevent future infestations. The primary goal of extermination is to completely eliminate an existing pest infestation. It is done only when pest populations have gotten out of control. An exterminator may not help you find the root cause of your problem.
  • Environmental impact. Pest control methods often prioritize minimizing the environmental impact and harm to non-target species. They focus on eco-friendly approaches to manage pests. Extermination methods, on the other hand, can have a more significant environmental impact. They may also pose risks to non-target pests and even humans, particularly when using chemical pesticides.

Contact Us Today for Pest Extermination

Extermination is a type of pest control, but pest control is much broader and can encompass many strategies. When it comes to pests, what are your goals? Discuss your situation with Golden Circle Exterminators. Our knowledgeable team is ready to serve you. We’ll help you understand your pest control and extermination options. To schedule a free inspection, give us a call at (731) 668-4887.