When things go bump in the night in your home, it’s usually not a good sign, nor do you experience warm and fuzzy feelings. What do you do when you hear a tapping noise in the attic at night? If you are like most people, you probably sit quietly to try to identify the noise. Suddenly, a slew of questions run through your head: Is a branch hitting the roof? Is a squirrel running right above me? Is something in the attic? Has someone broken in?
As temperatures decrease through the fall and winter, various creatures look for warm places to seek shelter. Your attic may look to them like the perfect spot to settle in for the winter and raise a family. While you may take pity on these critters, you really don’t want them in your attic. There are a number of reasons why, including the damage they can cause.
Banging Noise In Attic: What Could It Be?
Identifying what makes that noise in your attic can help you determine what animal has made their home yours. Squirrels, mice, rats, bats, raccoons, and other rodents can all decide that your attic is the perfect place to curl up for the winter. Sometimes, these creatures are just looking for temporary shelter. However, a female may want to build a nest in her attic to have her young.
A variety of rodents in Houston live in other Southern states that could be making a noise in your attic. Note what time of the day you hear the noises. If it’s in the morning or evening, squirrels and birds are the most likely culprits. Bats, raccoons, mice, and rats are nocturnal, so you’ll likely hear these animals at night.
Suppose you can go into your attic to see if you can find evidence of animal activity. Since these creatures come and go to look for food, you will need to look to see if you can find droppings or chew or claw marks on any wooden surfaces. You may also be able to spot loose insulation, which can be evidence that an animal is trying to build a nest.
Not all noises in your attic can be blamed on uninvited guests. A loose attic vent or shutter on a window can make a banging noise in the wind. The air passing through ducts and radiators can sometimes create a loud noise, as can water passing through pipes.
When you hear a banging coming from the attic and are trying to determine the cause, you are most likely dealing with one of these four animals:
- Raccoons are typically the heaviest of the pests. If you hear banging, a raccoon could be stomping on the floor. Listen for vocal sounds, as well, because raccoons “talk” to each other.
- Opossums, or possums as they are more commonly known, are also one of the heavier animals you might hear from your attic. These creatures tend to live alone, but mating season runs from January through June, so you may find possums in pairs during those times of the year. Opossums are actually marsupials and have up to seven young in their pouch. They like to eat rodents, cockroaches, carrion, discarded human food, and pet food. If you have pet food outside, don’t be surprised if the possums help themselves. When threatened, possums make noises, urinate, defecate, and even play dead. But, usually, these animals are pretty quiet.
- Squirrels can drop their nuts or acorns or jump, which can sound like a banging noise if you are below them. Since squirrels don’t weigh very much, however, this scenario is unlikely.
- Birds can make a noise that might sound like banging. Sometimes, birds can access a home through outside vents. While building their nests, these feathered visitors make a lot of noise.
However, if you hear scurrying or scratching, you could hear mice, rats, squirrels, or bats.
Why Can I Hear Noises In My Walls At Night?
The attic isn’t the only place rodents and other creatures seek shelter. Some pests get into the walls of your home. Rats and mice are the most likely culprits for noises in your walls at night. Since rodents don’t weigh much, you typically don’t hear them until they start clawing or scratching.
Squirrels can also squeeze into the space between your walls, but since they are most active in the morning and evenings, you probably won’t hear them in the middle of the night. You can also hear squirrels throughout the day as they forage for food and bring it back to their nest, which may be in your home, much to your chagrin.
Although this is less likely, birds can get stuck in your walls. They could also access your home through vents to build nests in the vent space above your bathroom.
A bat can get stuck inside your wall if it falls from its roost. But since bats don’t prefer to live inside your walls, you will probably hear a scratching sound until they return to their natural habitat.
What’s That Clicking Noise In My Attic At Night?
While rodents and other critters can make various noises, the more likely cause is something else inside your home. A clicking noise, in particular, could be caused by your heater. You may notice a clicking sound if you have a faulty pilot light, a problem with your gas valve, worn bearings, or even a problem with the inducer in an older heater. Water heaters can also make a clicking or popping sound when something is wrong with these appliances.
If a clicking noise is from a rodent, it could be caused by the nails of a squirrel. As mentioned earlier, squirrels are most active in the mornings and evenings. So if you hear a noise in the dead of night, a squirrel is not the likely culprit.
Significant fluctuations in temperature can cause the wood in your home to expand and contract, leading to what some homeowners describe as clicking or popping sounds.
An experienced pest professional can tell you whether you have a rodent problem. He or she can also look for openings outside your home. These pests might be used to get inside and seal them. You can also peek in your attic to see if you can find the telltale signs of rodents, such as droppings or teeth, or claw marks.
Who’s Making Noises In My Attic In The Early Morning?
When you hear noises in the attic during the early morning, there are a few pests that could be to blame:
- Birds like to hunt for food in the morning. So, if you hear noises when you first wake up, you could have birds flying in and out of your attic. Unfortunately, bird nests can harbor diseases, and bird fecal dust can become airborne. People can also become sick from inhaling these materials or contacting bird droppings. Ticks, fleas, and mites, which can cause other pest problems, also live on birds.
- Squirrels are also active in the early mornings as well as the evenings. Squirrels carry diseases, including salmonella, Lyme disease, tularemia, Leptospirosis, and rabies.
- Bats may return to your attic in the early morning after a night of hunting. You will likely hear these animals scratch, squeak, and chirp as they exit at dusk. Bats can carry many potentially fatal diseases. Rabies is the most common and well-known, but bats can also carry Histoplasmosis, which affects your lungs.
Getting Rid of These Attic-Dwelling Pests
The damage these pests cause can be extensive. In addition to the unsightly droppings they leave that can have adverse health outcomes, rats can chew through your wires, pipes, walls, and insulation. Rats also carry diseases, and exposure or inhaling their droppings or urine can spread Hantavirus, bubonic plague, salmonella, and rat-bite fever.
Prevention is the key to keeping these pests out of your home. There are several things you can do to keep these uninvited houseguests from sticking around:
- Seal off all openings. In the case of a vent, install a mesh wire screen. The air will still be able to exit your home, but birds and other pests will not be able to get in.
- Avoid leaving pet food outside. Any food draws rodents and birds close to your home and makes them curious about what else they might find inside.
- Tightly close all food inside your home. Don’t leave food sitting out overnight to entice mice or rats to come inside for a midnight snack.
- Maintain your yard. Tall grass or weeds invite many creatures to come and hide in your yard, which can lead to them canvassing your home for food.
- Seal all garbage and garbage cans. Easily accessible garbage bags offer a smorgasbord for rats, mice, raccoons, and opossums.
- Leave your outside lights on for a while. If you have a problem with raccoons and opossums, bright outside lights can deter these pests since they can be shy and prefer the cover of darkness.
However, if you already have these animals inside your home, you are left with either the DIY method of setting traps or the more practical route: calling a professional to remove them.
Enjoy The Silence With ABC’s Help
Dealing with noises at night is no fun. Determining what is causing the sound, how animals are getting inside, where they are, and what they’re up to can be maddening when you already have enough on your plate. Trust ABC Home & Commercial Houston exterminators to restore your home to a calm, pest-free oasis.