In our Mooresville service area, the termites we battle most are sneaky pests. They're called subterranean termites and they live under the ground. When they attack your Mooresville property, they'll do it by coming up from the ground. This is what we're going to be talking about today because it is directly connected to how you can detect subterranean termites when they try to damage your home.

termites in basement
termite bait system

Wood-To-Soil Contact

One of the sneakiest ways termites can get into your home is to enter directly from the soil to wood. This can happen at any time, without warning. As workers termites tunnel through the soil, they happen upon wooden structures on your property. This could be fence posts. It could be deck supports. It could also be wood on your home that touches the soil. If there is wood-to-soil contact, termites can go from tunneling in the ground to tunneling in the wood. When they do this, you're not likely to know it. These insects rarely reveal themselves. Why? There are several reasons, but here are two you should know about:

  • A termite worker has a thin skin. This skin must stay moist or the worker dies. Because of this vulnerability, workers stay in the moist soil or in the moist soil-lined tunnels they create in wood.

  • A termite worker avoids lights. In scientific observation, workers have been found to go all the way to the thin layer of paint on wooden timbers without breaking through to the outside.

Foundation Cracks

Workers explore the space between rocks that are in the soil. When they chance upon a crack in your foundation, they don't know the difference. They climb right up into that crack. This can lead them to the wood of your home. The sole plates of your home sit right on your foundation. These horizontal members can be compromised by termite infestation and cause serious issues. The worst part about this kind of damage is that you don't know it's happening.

Mud Tunnels

Sometimes termite workers can't get to above-ground wood sources. If termites find a crack in your foundation and emerge in your cellar or basement, they may have to build above-ground mud tunnels. These tunnels are called shelter tubes or mud tubes. You might see these running up a wall. You might find them behind the washer and dryer in your basement. You may find them in closets. They can appear on the outside of your foundation as well. If workers don't find a foundation crack, they can create a tunnel right up the side of your basement wall. These exterior shelter tubes are usually found in damp, sheltered locations.

If your home has a crawl space under it, this is a prime location for subterranean termites to create shelter tubes. They could create them on the outside of your cement piers or other support structures. They could also create them inside cement piers. You might need a flashlight and a mirror to see down inside those piers to uncover evidence of termite activity.


When a termite colony matures, it creates female and male reproductives. These winged insects leave their nest and search for new locations to build new nests. Often called swarmers, because they swarm during mating, these insects could appear on (or inside) your Mooresville home. This is not an indication of an impending infestation. It is more likely evidence of a current and mature infestation. This is because swarmers don't swarm far from their nests. If winged termites come into your yard to create a nest, they're likely to do it in smaller numbers. This is because they break away from the group after selecting a mate. Here are two more important facts to know about swarmers:

  • A swarmer doesn't eat wood. It will not damage your home. But the thousands of babies these reproductives will create can do a lot of damage to your home.

  • A swarmer can get into your home through gaps and cracks but the species of subterranean termite we have in Mooresville rarely establishes interior nests. They're most likely to tunnel into the ground and create a nest.

How To Protect Your Mooresville Home From Sneaky Termites

At Lake Norman Pest Control, we help Mooresville property owners prevent termite damage by performing inspections and by installing the Sentricon® System with Always Active™. We'd love to discuss how the Sentricon® System can protect your investment and safeguard your equity. Reach out to us today to learn more.


Latest Articles

Stay informed about pests and pest related issues in your area!

a termite infestation on wood

What It Means If You’re Seeing Flying Termites Around Your…

termite on wood

What You Need To Know If You Think Your Mooresville Home Has…

many termite swarmers in a jar

What Mooresville Property Owners Need To Know About Termite…

View All Posts

Request Your Free Quote

go to top