What to look for when unidentifiable noises are heard in your property.

April 29, 2014

Have you ever sat in a quiet room and suddenly heard a strange tapping or scratching noise? Your first instinct is that there is an animal or insect creeping through the crevices of the walls, so you call someone to investigate. The inspector arrives and searches the attic, the basement and around the outside of the house trying to find a potential entry point for any type of critter that might match the sound you have described. After searching for thirty minutes or so, the inspector can find no evidence of any kind of wildlife invasion. You insist you are not crazy. It’s ok, we believe you!  Here are a few potential sources for things that go bump in the night…or scratch in the day:

home in new jersey


Sometimes a scratching sound from above is nothing more than a tree branch scraping against the roof, siding or gutters. We recommend keeping tree branches pruned back from any building. Keeping an 8-12 foot gap from branches to buildings is a good practice. This keeps any potential wildlife from using those branches as a bridge onto your property. 


The wind can make the building sway causing it to make creaking and crackling sounds. The wind may also cause loose and dead branches to land on the roof. It can dislodge acorns from trees or ice from overhead wires. Choose the kinds of trees and other foliage wisely to avoid any potential damage to your property. Trees with extensive root systems are best avoided near your property as well. The roots get tangled in underground sewage pipes and wiring, and also provide a path for termites to get into your foundation. Ask your local nursery for the best kinds of shrubs, plants and trees to be planted closer to the building.

Non-invasive wildlife

Sometimes those sounds ARE the result of one of nature’s awesome creatures. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to call in the SWAT team! Squirrels and birds will often take a rest on your roof or gutter. When they are done, they move on to their home in a nearby tree. At the Jersey Shore, seagulls are notorious for dropping clams onto rooftops to break open the shells so they may get at the juicy clam inside as a tasty meal. First there is a loud bang and then scraping and pecking. That sound can travel through the roof and down into the walls making it seem like there is something in the walls. Careful inspection for very specific evidence can eliminate or confirm the presence of any wildlife inside the building.

Pesky Old Pipes

As buildings age, the pipes behind the walls get a little creaky. Ductwork for your heating and cooling system will expand and contract as it changes temperature while in use. These sounds can travel along the pipes. When a sound starts at one end of a pipe, it may travel to the other side of the room making it sound as though something were running from one side of the room to the other behind the wall. Pay attention to specific times of the day and whether or not the heating and cooling system is on or off. Regular HVAC maintenance and inspections are important. Leaks can be more than just noisy. They can destroy property and provide a perfect environment for pest harborage. 

Keeping a level head about potential explanations is the best practice for finding a solution. Don’t hesitate to have an additional inspection if you are still hearing sounds that just don’t seem right. You know your property. There is a way to avoid the guesswork and stress from trying to figure it out. Having a regular, monthly pest control maintenance program in place can eliminate doubt, but mostly, it can provide early detection for any potential invasions that may occur. Early detection can eliminate the need for pesticide usage keeping your building and your surrounding environment safe and healthy! Contact us at Alliance Pest Services today to find out how we can help.

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