Nov 7, 2012 – Zounds, The Sounds!


Is there a bug that sounds like a tiny jackhammer inside a wall? I've checked for vibrations from plumbing and electrical wiring. HELP PLEASE!


Well, that description doesn't bring anything to mind I'm afraid. My impression of the sound of a jackhammer would be a very rapid staccato of tapping sounds, and no bug comes to me that would make this sound, although I probably am overlooking something. One group of insects that we COULD hear within wood itself is the round headed borers, the larvae of large wood boring beetles. If you have some freshly cut firewood it often will be infested with the larvae that are just doing their job of feeding on dead wood, and for some of the larger species you may actually hear the larva inside the wood gnawing on it. But, that would not be what I would describe as a jackhammer sound, but rather a scratching, rasping sound. 

Click beetles are fun things too, and sometimes one of the adult beetles will find its way indoors and end up on a hard floor surface. Then, as it gets pestered by the cat or a child it may rapidly flip into the air to escape, causing a "click" sound on the surface as it snaps down on it. But, again, not enough of a rapid series of clicks to fit your description. 

It may be a little late in the year, but is there any chance you are hearing something from the outside instead, such as a woodpecker? These birds are well known for the "drumming" that some species do as a form of communication. This is most often during mating season when males are either trying to attract a mate or establishing their territories, but they often pick on exterior surfaces of structures for the convenient things we have there that make a lot of noise, such as chimney caps, siding, rain gutters, etc. Their rapid pounding definitely could be a jackhammer sound and could transfer throughout the entire house inside. 

But, if you've isolated this as within a single place in a wall then perhaps something is in there, and once again it might not be an insect. Perhaps it is a rodent gnawing on things, or a trapped bird. If you feel you know where in a wall this sound is coming from you might purchase a low-cost fiber optics camera with a tube that can be slipped into the wall through an outlet or a small hole you might poke through the sheetrock. I have seen these cameras, with a digital screen that you view in your hand, for just over $100 at a big box store, and for pest control people this would be a low cost and highly useful tool to have on the vehicle. It would allow you to peek inside voids like wall voids to see what is going on in that hidden place. 

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