Pests in the ceiling?
April 28, 2010 12:42 PM   Subscribe

This morning, I found ceiling dust on my keyboard and a hole in the above ceiling. I own the house and my husband hasn't been working in the attic. Could this be some sort of pest?
posted by lilgoyl to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I'm going to sound like an insane paranoid person, but it could also be a pinhole camera. Get in the attic and check it out.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:47 PM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Termite droppings?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:47 PM on April 28, 2010

OH yes indeed. Squirrels or rats perhaps?
posted by paanta at 12:48 PM on April 28, 2010

Could be evidence of a micrometeorite strike. Although a mouse or rat would be more likely than that. Raccoon or squirrels come to mind. But then so does water damage.
posted by y2karl at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2010

Does the hole go all the way through the drywall or is it just a crack or perhaps a popped drywall screw?
posted by bondcliff at 12:51 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding termites, especially if it's been warm where you live.
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:04 PM on April 28, 2010

Do you have any pictures?
posted by KokuRyu at 1:04 PM on April 28, 2010

What is in the attic? Have you been up there? How big of a hole are we talking about? We really need details or photos to answer a question like this.

It's possible the house framing might have shifted and a piece of drywall broke off. It's also possible a box or object up there fell over, driving something into the drywall. It could be a squirrel, mouse, or some other critter but since drywall is flat and very tough, it's unlikely unless they're desperate to get in. I would certainly check into the possibility of a miniature surveillance camera too.
posted by crapmatic at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2010

There is no storage in the attic - just air ducts and cables.

My husband was up there running lots Cat6, but that was months ago.

I'm trying to find a camera around the house to take a picture.
posted by lilgoyl at 1:23 PM on April 28, 2010

How big is the hole? Have you noticed any bees flying around? It could be carpenter bees.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:24 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ewh, that's creepy. Are you sure your hubby isn't spying on you? (I'm only half kidding).

Otherwise, it's probably some kind of pest digging around or eating through the ceiling (raccoons? rats? termites?).
posted by 1000monkeys at 1:37 PM on April 28, 2010

We had that before with squirrels in the attic, and they generally started trying to break through like that more in spring.
posted by dilettante at 1:51 PM on April 28, 2010

Paper wasps, popped nail, rodent, carpenter bee, termites, who knows. Micrometeorite would be freakin' cool though :). You're gonna have to take a look. Failing that, a picture might help, tapping/poking around near the hole to see if there is further damage to the drywall, listening/looking more closely for pests...
posted by madmethods at 1:52 PM on April 28, 2010

Uploading a video to Vimeo right now.

It could very well be a critter. I thought I heard noise up there last week (sounded like someone was walking on the roof). But it was really windy that day too, so everything was kinda creaking.

I just didn't know that critter's would chew through they ceiling! Creepy!
posted by lilgoyl at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2010

If the hole looks like an almost perfectly drilled circular hole, I vote bees.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2010

Video has been uploaded:

Sorry I can't get any closer to the hole - I'm 39 weeks pregnant and didn't feel like climbing up on the desk ;)
posted by lilgoyl at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by lilgoyl at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2010

It's a square hole ... WTF?

Not termite droppings, though, I don't think. Did somebody poke a hole through the ceiling by flicking a pen into it from below?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:24 PM on April 28, 2010

I'll send my husband up there to check things out when he gets home from work. I doubt either one of us made the hole - we've been doing so much to get ready for the baby that we haven't had time to spend in the office!

The square shape of the hole is quick intriguing though . . .
posted by lilgoyl at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2010

I've had termites with dust on a dresser, pin holes in the ceiling. I would have guessed termites prior to seeing the shape of the hole.

Coincidence that is it a square?
posted by 6:1 at 4:10 PM on April 28, 2010

Seconding popped drywall screw. We live in an older home and when the house shifts/settles (have you had a lot of wet weather lately?), we often get popped screw holes in the drywall. I've never seen a square one, but maybe you just have weirdly shaped screws?
posted by snowleopard at 4:45 PM on April 28, 2010

That IS bizarre! Maybe your hubby was throwing an odd-shaped pen or pencil at the ceiling and it stuck? We used to do that to the ceiling tiles in highschool :)

On preview: I see that Cool Papa Bell had the same idea. Otherwise, I don't know what would make a perfectly square hole like that.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:08 PM on April 28, 2010

It's not squarish. It's rectangular. It looks natural through but it looks like something popped out. Out of what material is your ceiling made out of?
posted by I-baLL at 10:10 AM on April 29, 2010

I think it's just drywall with texture over it.

Hubby checked it out and we're thinking the hole has always been there, it just recently dropped some dust on my desk. Maybe the previous owners had something hanging up there!?!?

I'm not normally looking for holes in the ceiling, so I didn't notice it until I saw the dust on my desk.

The square shape of the hole led us to this decision.

Thanks for all of your input!
posted by lilgoyl at 9:59 AM on April 30, 2010

The hole had to be there for the dust to fall through it. What pushed the dust up to and into it is another matter. It could have been a draft, it could have been a vibration or it could have been a mouse or termite but the hole did not do the dropping.
posted by y2karl at 5:58 PM on April 30, 2010

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