A mysterious chirping from inside my wall...
September 19, 2009 1:37 AM   Subscribe

There's a bug in my house that I want to identify. The tricky part? I've never seen it.

While in the bathroom three days ago, I started hearing a sound. It was a chirping, that sounded very cricket-like but slightly less shrill, and each "chirp" lasted ten or more seconds. It was coming from inside my wall!

Having played more than my share of Animal Crossing, I investigated mole crickets, but the two species that have any chance of existing in this area (Lansing, MI) produce chirps that are lower and more scratchy, by my limited research.

Any clues? Maybe species that I am missing? Or could it be something non-cricket-like altogether?
posted by Earl the Polliwog to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
Was the "chirp" a steady sound or vibrato? I don't want to assume the worst, but it could be mice "talking" to each other.
posted by amyms at 1:43 AM on September 19, 2009

It was steady - quite similar to the sound in the "mole cricket" link , but higher and less raspy.

I tried recording on my cell phone and my mp3 player, but neither will pick it up. It's too high for my cell phone mic, and the mp3 player won't pick it up because it's not loud enough to activate the recording (although it is quite loud to my ear).
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:58 AM on September 19, 2009

Maybe I read that wrong. It's not chirping right now so I can't directly answer, but if a cricket counts as vibrato then this sound does too. It's only one at a time, so while I can't rule out multiple creatures, I doubt it. We have had bats, squirrels, and mice but it really sounds more insect-like to me.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 2:02 AM on September 19, 2009

Just an alternative suggestion. I was convinced I had some sort of cricket hiding in my room for about a month before I finally realised it was just a fan on my computer chirruping. In my defence, the fact that it was high pitched made it really hard to tell where it was coming from.
Do you have an extractor fan in the bathroom that might be causing it?
posted by lucidium at 4:48 AM on September 19, 2009

Another non-insect suggestion: make sure it's not a dying smoke detector or other electronic gadget either from your own place, or nearby. Some of them make intermittent cricket-like chirrupping sounds when the battery is dying (which seems pretty counter-intuitive to me, but whatever) - and important! acoustics can be deceiving! Check any smoke alarms or other detectors/alarms first, but then also look around for old cell phones, pagers, etc.

We had something like what you describe that drove us batty for a while, but it was the dying smoke detector in a nearby vacant apartment. It was really loud, and crazyhard to get a fix on exactly where it was coming from, especially since it would stop before we could really zero in on it at all.
posted by taz at 5:54 AM on September 19, 2009

Give some of these a listen
posted by Patapsco Mike at 7:03 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Sometimes you can be fooled by auditory illusions. What you think is a small sound nearby can be a louder sound in another part of the house, or even down the street at a construction site. Next time you hear it go outside the room and listen.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on September 19, 2009

I once stayed in a hotel on a business trip, one of the fanciest five-stars in Las Vegas, and each night I heard cricket noises. I thought "that must be something on the fritz, like the smoke detector", since the room was fully soundproofed, but the morning of my checkout I stepped out of the shower to see dozens and dozens of crickets hopping around in the bathroom. So don't discount Occam's Razor.
posted by cmonkey at 9:12 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

When it happens, the sound's loudest at the bottom corner of the bathroom wall, and also in the laundry room by a wall that borders the bathroom, so I'm quite sure it's coming from something near the floor inside the wall.

Thanks for the comments so far. It does sounds a lot like those ground cricket species, so that's what I'll believe for now. Still, I may ask my landlady if we can take a look inside, because there's a panel on the laundry room wall that looks removable...
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2009

Hearing it again, it is probably an Allard's Ground Cricket. Thanks!
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2009

Glad you got it figured out. Crickets in the house are supposed to bring good luck.
posted by amyms at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2009

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