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Pests Got You Down?

Pests Got You Down?

What the Home Pros Know with Shaun Henry

Building, buying, and keeping up a home in Columbia can be the single biggest investment for most people. While in college, my wife and I started off buying a quaint little mobile home in Woodstock Mobile Home Park, then moved to a lease-option for our first house on the north side. After a few years in that little blue house, we bought some land and built our first house. Nerve racking, but worth it.

We did all we could to protect our investment. We pre-treated for termites to keep them at bay; we took special care of the lawn, landscape, and the home itself so it would last us forever. We did wind up selling that house 17 years later so we could purchase our current property where we are working hard to continue to protect our investment. It’s gotta last us forever!

There are a few pests that can bring a home’s value down:


  • Termites in Missouri are subterranean – they live in the soil and wood that is touching the soil. Missouri isn’t the worst of the states when it comes to termite damage, but the threat is still classified as “modest” to “heavy” for homeowners.
  • It’s reported that termites cause upwards of $2 billion in damages each year across the U.S.
  • On top of the worker termites consuming wood 24/7 to feed the soldier, young, and reproductive termites in the colony, a termite queen can lay up to 30,000 eggs per day. Colonies can expand and can destroy a portion of your home without you even knowing they are there.


  • From in and around your home or out on the farm, mice are troublesome rodents. Like all rodents, mice have front incisors that continually grow their entire lives, so they must constantly chew on things to help keep their teeth from growing to be too large. Unfortunately, they sometimes turn their attention to chewing things inside your house.
  • They can cause damage to the structure of your home, like chewing on electrical wires and components, and damage furniture, drywall, and wall coverings.
  • They also damage the insulation inside the walls, floors, and attics with their nesting habits, plus with their urine and fecal matter left behind. Odors and parasites (fleas, ticks and mites) will be left behind as well.
  • A mouse only needs a dime-sized hole to squeeze into the house. Once inside, they find the warmth, food, and security they’re looking for.

So, what do you do?

  • For termites, eliminate any wood debris left behind from construction and make sure the area around your home’s foundation is well-drained and the soil is dry. Even if you do everything right, an infestation of termites can still occur. If you don’t currently have termites, a barrier treatment or a baiting system can help keep them away. Contact our team for an evaluation, termite inspection, and best recommendation for your situation.
  • For mice, you’ll want to seal cracks in the foundation, fill holes in the siding where utility lines come into the house, repair damaged vents (dryer vents or vents for crawlspaces and others), make sure your seals around your doors (exterior house doors and garage doors) don’t let light out and fill any other gaps in the roof where it meets the gutters.
  • Once mice are in your house, they can be difficult to get rid of. There are a variety of traps available, but mice are smart and can quickly learn to avoid them. You may need an Atkins Pest expert’s help to get rid of your infestation. 

We hope that you enjoy the fall season as much as we do and remember, we’re here to answer questions you might have about your property. That’s what friends and neighbors do! Thank you for your continued trust in our team.

Shaun Henry

A Columbia native, Shaun Henry found a home at Atkins in 2000 when he started his career as a turf technician. Shaun holds a commercial applicator’s license through the Missouri Department of Agriculture and is a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Mid-America Green Industry Council, and the Missouri Green Industry Alliance. Shaun strongly believes in the importance of a great customer experience where the Atkins staff knows their clients and anticipates their needs accordingly. 

Shaun is an MU alumnus and has a degree in plant science.

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