I hope you can help me with my mystery bug!
I find them round my house on the walls and ceiling. The house is in Cornwall and is an old granite and wood miners cottage. They are about 1.4mm end to end and black'ish in colour. I have also heard what I can only describe as tiny creaking noises which I am pretty sure they are responsible for as I once saw quite a few of them on a paper lamp shade and there was a lot of 'creaking' near the shade until I hoovered them all up and there was then no 'creaking'! The creak is always like what I'd imagine a tiny dry wooden hinged gate opening and closing over about 1.5 seconds. I've never been able to record it as it happens fairly sporadically. When they are really going for it, the interval is about 40 seconds to a minute.
Any pointers on this would be really appreciated, I can't find any information on bugs making noise in this country other than death watch beetles which I'm pretty sure make a very different noise.
Thanks in advance!
These are Booklice (order Psocoptera). Lower the humidity in your house and you will get rid of them. I'm not sure they are the ones to make those noises.
Fantastic! Thanks for the super fast ID - I'm amazed you can tell what it is from my rubbish photos!
Any idea what beasties might be responsible for the creaking noises? I'm tempted to try a bit harder to get a recording of it - I'll post it on here if I manage to get one! Like I say, I've heard a recording of a death watch beetle and it's not that.
Thanks again, Russ
I've just found this recording online that sounds very like what I've heard but failed to capture.
The site it's on says they think it's longhorn beetle larve but I think the site is American so not sure if it's possible we have the same thing?
Any thoughts much appreciated!
I live in an old cottage in a wood in Devon and have exactly the same noise as you've posted. Did you ever get to the bottom of what was causing it?
Welcome to the NHM forum. Since you live in an old cottage you really should investigate this further, since the wood boring Death Watch Beetle also produces this ticking and can wreak considerable structural damage in the property's timbers. They are common and widespread in Southern England and you can see more and hear one ticking in a video on this link.
Not saying it's definitely that, but they should be eliminated as the cause.
Thanks for the prompt reply. I've been listening to the noise for a few years now. The sound is definitely more like the recording posted by RussJ: http://static.lies.com/mp3/mysterious_ticking_noise.mp3 There's more creak, than tap, for want of a better differentiation! Also, from my research, Death Watch Beetle make their 'call' in the mating season during the Spring and Summer months, not the midsts of Winter. There's also no tell tail signs of wood boring. Much of the property has had old timbers replaced with treated timber. Of course there will be old timbers behind the old lathe and plaster walls, but not too worried about that, as the house is mainly stone and cob construction and what oak beams we have are exposed and inspected. If you have any other thoughts, I'd be pleased to hear them.
All the best,
I'm pleased that's ruled out Giles, just wanted to make sure. Apart from a beetle larvae that the American source suggested and which might be common to here, I've no other animal based idea.
However, your mention of replaced timbers reminds me that wood joint settling with temperature changes etc often produces creaks with a slight shift, and the declining rate of each creak's frequency is typical of that interface shift. If that's the source it could happen regularly with temperature and humidity changes.
Hi whats the temperature and wind speed like when you hear this noise
An old work college had problems with a tight telephone cable in winter causing all sorts of odd noises including a wail
I've considered this scenario in the past and have largely discounted it. Wind and temperature don't play a part in the timing of the noise and what cables there are leading into the house, and within the attic, are not under any great tension. The location of the noises changes also and doesn't appear to relate to the position of the cables. The noise is very much as Russ J and I have posted in the link above, i.e., an insect / beetle of some sort and given our remote woodland setting, This looks to be the most likely answer.
Well it is not a death's head hawk moth
(audio clip part-way down)
Do bats snore?
These specimens look like Lepinotus sp. Female booklice in their family (Trogiidae) make ticking sounds ('death watch') by tapping the end of their abdomen rapidly on the substrate. Reading again your first post, I think you've heard the booklice 'ticking'. I can't point you to a page with a record of this kind of sound, but you can read about this phenomenon here: "The Singing Lice (that are not lice)."
Thanks Florin. Lepinotus of one form or another seems the most likely answer to me.