What does a termite exterminator do?

Would you make a good termite exterminator? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

Take the free career test Learn more about the career test

What is a Termite Exterminator?

A termite exterminator is a trained specialist responsible for identifying, treating, controlling, and preventing termite infestations in homes, buildings, and other structures. The importance of these exterminators lies in the fact that termites can cause significant damage to wooden structures and can be challenging to eliminate without professional help. Termite exterminators are skilled in the biology and behavior of termites, as well as the various methods and techniques used to eliminate them and protect properties from future infestations and the costly damage repairs that they can incur.

What does a Termite Exterminator do?

Duties and Responsibilities
A termite exterminator performs several key tasks related to termite infestations:

  • Inspection – The exterminator conducts a thorough inspection of the property to determine the presence of termites (signs include mud tubes, damaged wood, and termite swarmers, which are winged adult reproductive members of a termite colony), the extent of the infestation, and the type of termites involved (e.g., subterranean, drywood, dampwood). This involves examining both the interior and exterior of the building, including basements, crawl spaces, and wooden structures.
  • Identification – Based on the inspection, the exterminator identifies the type of termites and assesses the severity of the infestation. This information is crucial for determining the most effective treatment approach.
  • Treatment – The exterminator recommends and applies an appropriate treatment method tailored to the specific type of termites and the extent of the infestation. Common treatment methods include applying chemicals, such as liquid termiticides or foams, to the soil or directly to infested areas to eliminate termites; installing bait stations around the property to attract and eliminate termite colonies; or installing physical barriers, such as metal or plastic barriers, to prevent termites from accessing the structure.
  • Prevention – After treating the current termite infestation, the exterminator advises on preventative measures to reduce the risk of future infestations. This may include regular inspections to monitor for signs of termite activity, moisture control measures to reduce termite-friendly environments, or maintenance of termite barriers or treatments to provide ongoing protection.
  • Education – A good termite exterminator educates the property owner about termite biology, the signs of an infestation, and how to prevent future problems. They may also provide tips on maintaining a termite-free environment and what to do in case of a reinfestation.
  • Follow-up – The exterminator often schedules follow-up visits to ensure that the treatment was effective and to make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. This helps to ensure long-term termite control and protection of the property.

Types of Termite Exterminators
Now that we have a sense of the general scope of the termite exterminator’s work, let’s look at some different types of these exterminators, each specializing in specific aspects of termite control and using different methods and techniques to treat and prevent termite infestations:

  • General Pest Control Technicians handle a variety of pests, including termites, as part of their general pest control services. They may use a range of chemical treatments, baiting systems, and physical barriers to treat termite infestations.
  • Termite Specialists work exclusively in termite control and have specialized training and expertise in identifying, treating, and preventing termite infestations. They are typically more knowledgeable about termite biology, behavior, and control methods than general pest control technicians.
  • Chemical Treatment Specialists specialize in the use of chemical treatments, such as liquid termiticides and foams, to treat termite infestations. They are trained in the proper application, dosage, and safety protocols for using chemical treatments to eliminate termites.
  • Fumigation Specialists specialize in the use of fumigants to treat severe termite infestations, particularly in structures with extensive termite damage. Fumigation involves sealing the infested structure and introducing a fumigant gas to eliminate termites.
  • Baiting System Specialists are experts in the installation, monitoring, and maintenance of termite baiting systems, such as Sentricon or Advance Termite Bait Systems. They are trained to strategically place bait stations around the property to attract and eliminate termite colonies.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Technicians focus on using an integrated approach to termite control, combining chemical treatments with non-chemical control methods, such as habitat modification, moisture control, and biological control agents. They emphasize sustainable and environmentally friendly pest control practices to manage termite infestations.
  • Green Pest Control Technicians specialize in using environmentally friendly and organic pest control methods to manage termite infestations. They use non-chemical treatments, such as heat treatments, cold treatments, and biological control methods, to eliminate termites.
  • Structural Pest Control Specialists are experts in treating and preventing termites in specific types of structures, such as residential homes, commercial buildings, or historical properties. They are proficient in identifying and addressing the unique challenges and requirements of termite control in different types of structures.
  • Termite Biology and Behavior Specialists have in-depth knowledge of termite biology, behavior, and ecology. They use this expertise to understand the lifecycle of termites, their feeding habits, nesting behavior, and movement patterns to effectively identify, target, and eliminate termite colonies.

Termite exterminators have distinct personalities. Think you might match up? Take the free career test to find out if termite exterminator is one of your top career matches. Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Termite Exterminator like?

Termite exterminators can work for various types of organizations and businesses that specialize in pest control services. These are among their most common employers:

  • Pest Control Companies – Many termite exterminators work for established pest control companies that offer a wide range of pest control services, including termite inspections, treatments, and prevention. These companies may operate locally, regionally, or nationally and often provide training, equipment, and support to their exterminators.
  • Specialized Termite Control Companies – Some termite exterminators work for specialized termite control companies that focus exclusively on termite inspections, treatments, and prevention. These companies typically have advanced expertise and specialized equipment for treating and preventing termite infestations.
  • Government Agencies – Termite exterminators may be employed by government agencies, such as local health departments or agricultural departments, to conduct termite inspections and control measures in public buildings, parks, and other government-owned properties.
  • Property Management Companies – Property management companies that oversee rental properties, apartment complexes, and commercial buildings may employ termite exterminators to conduct regular termite inspections, treatments, and maintenance to protect their properties from termite damage.
  • Construction and Real Estate Companies – Termite exterminators may be employed by construction companies and real estate agencies to conduct pre-construction termite treatments and inspections for new construction projects or to conduct termite inspections for real estate transactions.
  • Universities and Research Institutions – Some termite exterminators may work for universities, research institutions, or agricultural extension services to conduct research on termite biology, behavior, and control methods or to provide educational and outreach services to the community.
  • Self-Employment – Some termite exterminators choose to start their own pest control businesses and work as independent contractors or small business owners. They are responsible for managing all aspects of their business, including marketing, customer service, and providing termite control services.

Termite exterminators may find themselves in a variety of settings, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartment buildings, as well as often larger and more complex commercial structures such as offices, restaurants, warehouses, and retail stores. Their job can be physically demanding, involving bending, kneeling, and crawling, sometimes in confined spaces like attics and crawl spaces, and lifting heavy equipment and supplies.

Exterminators may encounter various challenges and hazards, such as exposure to chemicals and potentially infested environments, requiring them to adhere to safety protocols and use personal protective equipment to ensure their safety and the effectiveness of the treatments. They may also work outdoors and have to deal with varying weather conditions, depending on the location and season. They often spend a significant amount of time in their vehicle, traveling to multiple job sites in a day, requiring them to be organized, self-directed, and capable of managing their time and resources efficiently. Administrative tasks, including scheduling appointments, updating service records, preparing invoices, and attending meetings, also occupy part of the termite exterminator’s workday.

It's worth noting that the schedule of an exterminator can be unpredictable, as emergencies and last-minute appointments may arise, requiring them to adjust their plans and prioritize urgent cases.

Termite Exterminators are also known as:
Termite Control Technician Termite Control Specialist