Noise in attic


  #1  
Old 01-28-04, 05:51 PM
Obsidian
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Noise in attic

We have some kind of animal or insect in our attic. Haven't seen it so we don't know what it is. We can only hear it. I've tried describing various details on whatever-it-is to people on other boards, but none seem to really know what it is.

Lately it's been getting noisier and interfering with my sleep. Recently I made a fairly detailed list of all of the observations I could think of regarding this thing, and decided to start asking around again.

What follows is a rather long list of details, but if anyone can identify whatever it is I might be describing, I'd love to hear from you. It has us baffled.

So if you're interested, read on...
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Environment:
The space above my bedroom, which is built into the attic, in the eaves.
1. Right now itís winter, rather cold. Given how cold it gets in my room, I donít think thereís enough heat to make it comfortable for an insect, but I could be wrong.
2. The attic is very dry.
3. No known food source over my room, although my bedroom is located over the bathroom and the kitchen. However we have not seen any sign of any pests in either the bathroom or the kitchenóno droppings, no odd sounds, nothing.

Sounds:
1. Fairly loud chewing noise, consistent with mouse in volume, perhaps a bit louder.
2. Buzzing noise when disturbed, or sometimes at random
-disturbance is usually me hitting the wall near where I hear a chewing noise or possibly turning the light on in the other half of the attic.
3. Sounds of bumping into things (at least thatís what it sounds like to me) as it moves away from site of disturbance.
4. The sounds seem to start only at night, as early as 7:00PM, and I donít know when they stop because I usually eventually fall asleep. Thus indicating that itís nocturnal. (On the other hand, the only time Iím even home during the day is on weekends and during Christmas break, while I never heard sounds during the day at that time, that may have been the exception rather than the ruleóparticularly because during the day Iím usually downstairs and wouldnít hear anything above my room).

Note: that I havenít heard a scrabbling noise associated with it, so I assume itís not a rodent. Whatever it is however, the noise I heard last night sounded like it was pulling a piece of wood away and it was snapping back into place.

Other details that may be of note:
1. Previous Pests in house
*Mice- in kitchen and basement, possibly in walls of my roomóthey scrabbled through the walls, havenít heard anything scrabbling in about six months, and havenít seen any droppings indicating that the mice are still around.
*****roaches-Very large, donít remember if they had wings or not, appeared at same time we bought a metal shelf set from a garage sale (it had a hollow space between the sheets of metal that we believe they originally lived in). We saw them in the bathroom for a while, and at least two or three very large ones in my bedroom. Again, havenít seen any sign of them in a while, for about the past year or so.
*Wasps-they get into our attic every year.
*Termites-The house had them when we moved in, itís been treated, and the inspector hasnít found any signs of them on re-inspectionsóand there never was any sign of them in the attic to start with, probably too dry.
*One squirrel managed to get into our attic and was unable to get out again until we opened a window to let it out. We blocked the opening where we think it came in.
*the usual occasional moth or beetle that finds its way into any house, these are taken care of by our resident spider population, which we leave alone because they catch the other insects.

2. No odor or droppings that I can find of any small animal. However, if there are droppings they might not be visible on top of the insulation in the wall, assuming that the animal (or insect) moves underneath the insulation.

3. There MAY have been evidence of gnawing in a corner, but it was too far from where I was able to see easily and it may have been sawdust from when my room was separated and insulated from the rest of the attic. (Note that there is a space above my room between my ceiling and the eaves that is fairly large, by standing on a chair or ladder I can kind of see into the space, but not easily).

4. Whatever it is, it has learned that my thumping the ceiling, while annoying, doesnít cause it bodily harm. While at first one or two thumps were enough to quiet it down for the rest of the night, now it simply moves away from where I hit the wallóbuzzingóand resumes chewing or gnawing at some other point in the ceiling and does not stop this pattern no matter how often I hit the wall/ceiling.
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Thanks to anyone who can provide information.


Obsidian
 
  #2  
Old 01-28-04, 06:02 PM
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Cool

I highly doubt that it's a squirrel at this time of year.
Probably a rat or other small rodent.
Have you tried setting a baited trap or small catch-and-release cage for it?
 
  #3  
Old 01-28-04, 07:03 PM
Obsidian
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Yes we've tried to use live traps, it ends up with nothing...just the bait stolen.

Do rats make any kind of buzzing noise when disturbed? I didn't think they did, that's why we can't figure out what it is. And presumably with a rat I'd hear scrabbling noises when it ran away. There's none.

That's why the question. Had there been scrabbling noises or squeaking I would have assumed it was a rodent, but the buzzing seems to indicate otherwise as well...
 
  #4  
Old 01-28-04, 07:28 PM
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Question

my own opinion is it sounds like a bat.

i'm probably wrong --- but thought i'd mention it. good luck with "the critter"
 
  #5  
Old 01-29-04, 10:03 PM
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Valerie is more likely right.
 
  #6  
Old 01-30-04, 09:06 PM
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Bats

The echolocation calls of most bat species are beyond the range of human hearing. A bat detector, however, can make these signals audible to humans. Bat detectors reveal the "feeding buzz." Most hunting bats emit one echolocation pulse per wing beat. For a small bat, this is typically about 10 per second. When the bat detects an insect, it increases its pulse repetition rate up to roughly 200 per second, creating the "feeding buzz" that is heard on a bat detector. Other sounds emitted by bats for communication are above audible levels of humans.

One source of buzzing in attics could be cluster flies, but you make no mention of having seen flies. In large numbers, these can produce an audible buzzing sound. The population varies from year to year depending upon amount of rainfall. You would see evidence of them on windowsills and upper story rooms if you had an infestation. They enter your home through cracks around eaves & windows and siding gaps. These guys reproduce within the bodies of earthworms. The last hatch of the season seeks shelter as temperatures cool. They hibernate until warmed by attic heat or sun. Then, they tend to descend within the home by way of electrical outlets, window pulley holes, and small openings around windows, moldings and base boards. The only way to prevent this pest is to seal all cracks and openings into your home.

Make a closer investigation of the attic. Look for signs of bats. Look for dung that looks like mouse droppings. Bat dung will crumble into insect parts. Look for bees, which also produce a buzzing sound. Bee infestation can also produce a buzzing sound.

Make sure you do not have a buzzing fan, light, or other electrical problem.
 
  #7  
Old 02-02-04, 05:31 PM
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Probably a bat. Being that you know something is hanging out inside your ceiling and dont know what it is exactly, the next logical step might be to call a pest expert who can identify and remedy the situation. Less headaches and sleepless nights for you!

 
  #8  
Old 02-11-04, 02:09 PM
minniescar
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Two possibilities and neither being a bat, flying squirell which frequently infest homes this time of year,( you dont have a log or wood sided house by any chance ) Oddly enough this time of year they would be waking up to roam right around 7 in the evening. And the other is a wood bee, several people might dissagree with me on the second however the audible sound of a wood bee in action is quite louder then you would think they sound just like a rat chewing through a 2 x 4 at times.
 
  #9  
Old 02-11-04, 02:14 PM
minniescar
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Just reread your posts duhhh i missed the whole buzzing thing , go with the second suggestion wood bee. If you can look at the areas the buzzing seems to be coming from and see if you dont see a perfectly round 3/8 to 1/2 inch hole anywhere. If you find a hole even if its perfect trust me its a wood bee, im not sure how they do it but they make a hole that looks better then one i can make with a drill. If you find a hole thats either its entrance or its exit , take a can of raid that has the little straw on it and spray it directly into the hole.
 
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Old 02-12-04, 03:55 PM
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Bees and hornets are another possibility. While you may not hear one buzzing or chewing, a group can be audible, especially disturbed or angry. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are social insects that build nests. Typically, only the mated queens overwinter and are inactive; thus not buzzing or chewing. They seek shelter anywhere they can, and sometimes do so inside homes. They emerge during the first warm days of spring.

Sometimes honeybees find their way into wall voids. Although bumble bees usually nest underground, sometimes they find their way into attics and crawl spaces and nest in insulation. Locating the nest and identifying bees may require some detective work. Some people are very allergic to bees, thus a professional exterminator is usually recommended for this reason.

If you have honey bees, which tends to be the type of bee that tends to produce the most buzzing sounds, injecting insecticide is not enough. It is required that the comb, bees, and honey be removed, as combs left in walls may release honey and stain interior walls. Sometimes the wall must be opened up by a carpenter and a beekeeper is required to collect the colony. Your local Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agent or local beekeeper association can recommend a beekeeper.

Carpenter bees are not social bees. They produce the tell tale 1/2 inch holes in wood into which they tunnel & take a 90-degree turn to tunnel further into wood where they nest. An adult male and female hibernate together during winter. In the spring, they mate, becoming active to make new tunnels or enlarging existing ones as brood chambers for their offspring. Usually insecticidal dust is recommended to be puffed into holes so the dust will reach deep into chambers. If carpenter bees are located in eaves or soffits, professional treatment is recommended due to risk involved. Holes should be plugged after treatment.

Caution: It is best to deal with bees at night when they are inactive. Protective clothing should be worn. Carry a knock down spray for additonal protection. Again, professional exterminators tend to be recommended due to allergy risks associated with bee stings.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 02-12-04 at 04:44 PM.
  #11  
Old 02-16-04, 05:09 AM
mark065
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This is a weird one.

I don't know if it would be the bees due to the fact that as said above, they are not nocturnal.

One thing I don't know is roughly where you live. Is the climate temperate enough for it to be a snake? I keep hearing you speak of buzzing when aggravated and I keep thinking rattlesnake. Sounds crazy, but other tell tale signs are you haven't noticed any mice lately. The nawing sound...if it is a snake, would it be chewing at the wood? I don't know.

I would go with someone elses suggestion and have a professional go up there and check it out.

good luck
 
  #12  
Old 02-16-04, 08:55 AM
minniescar
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Trust me , allthough many say bees are not nocturnal ive seen carpenter / wood bees stay up all night. Additionally you wont find a single snake in the world that chews on wood .
 
  #13  
Old 02-16-04, 10:37 AM
mark065
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I never heard of a wood nibbling snake either. I was just offering suggestions.
Don't bees hibernate in winter though? I guess that depends on the temperature right?
 
  #14  
Old 02-16-04, 10:56 AM
minniescar
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Most bees do hibernbate in the winter however as ive found with many other animals hibernation is a temperature thing not a built in instinct. Ive raised several animals that normally hibernate in the winter however if kept inside at the correct temps they dont go into hibernation. If wood bees where in ones attic they could possibly skip the hibernation due to the heat within the attic. At the same time if they are sealed within the attic its possible they reversed thier photo cycle meaning day is night and night is day for them which would explain why they are acting nocturnal. Im not garanteeing thats what this is im only relaying my personal experience with there house eaters.

By the way on the down side i thought about when my parents log cabin got termites. A few logs had so many of them if you smacked the side of the log you could hear a buzzing like noise from them and they sounded like they where crunching on wood , just another possiblility.
 
  #15  
Old 01-10-09, 04:37 AM
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Having the same problem

Hi. My husband and I just spent a sleepless night listening to scratching sounds, followed by intermittent (and moving) buzzing sounds when we pounded on our bedroom ceiling. We live in a Cape, with no (human) access to the crawl space in the eaves. The noises sounded very much like what you experienced and I was wondering if you ever found out what it was. Thanks.
 
  #16  
Old 01-10-09, 11:26 AM
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The only way to know for sure what is going on in the attic is to inspect. If you are not up to this, call an exterminator. Buzzing sounds could be overwintering bees. Scratching sounds are usually indicative of mice or other animal. Mice are notorious for chewing electrical wires which can result in house fire. On that note, I would not hesitate to inspect the attic.
 
  #17  
Old 01-11-09, 07:05 PM
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By what you've described I'd say it's a mammal. Rule out bees because the buzzing would only get louder in the same spot. To know for sure you can sprinkle talc powder in a spot or two (rather thick) where you can get to in the attic. Then place a 1/2 ear of corn or something suitable. Check it in a few days. Take a pic if you can and compare the tracks by a web search.
Also I'd inspect out side to see if you can spot how the critter is getting in. Since he seems to be gone during the day--seal it--that may solve your problem. Definately don't wait to long for answer. If it's squirrels or roof rats the DO chew wires and serious problems do occur.

Good Luck
 
  #18  
Old 03-25-13, 07:05 PM
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I know this is an old thread... But in case others have a similar problem, i'm pretty sure i know the answer... white footed mice. These rodents, normally found in the wild, rapidly drum their feet when disturbed, creating a buzzing noise. I've battled them myself in my attic.
 
 

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