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Nicky Colour it green

beetle tapping noise

we have an old decrepit house, with obvious signs of death watch beetle, which I believe are alive and well - we hear ticking in various parts of the house, and we have the most glorious damp problem, which provides the ideal conditions.

we are working to fix the damp where we can (ie fixed broken gutters, roof etc) but i think this house will always have damp as it is lower than the outside (which doesn't belong to us) and was built before dpc was thought of .

however.. now we have a new ticking sound.. and its different.. its not really like DWB, for a start this is the wrong time of year, it sounds like a little spring going off, starts off fast then slows down, and repeats at regular intervals. i think it might be in softwood rather than the oak...

do other beetles, such as furniture ones, make tapping sounds too?
any idea what it is?

This maybe a good starting point.

Death Watch Beetle is the commonest tapper, but you can also sometimes hear the sounds of the Common Furniture Beetle as well. Both species thrive on damp wood and can cause serious structural damage, so you need to address the problem.
There's some infor here and here, but ideally you want to lower the humidity, because if you dry out the wood the beetles will stop munching it. Chemical treatments are expensive and of dubious efficacy, while filling your house with heavy-metal compounds and organophosphates is never a good idea.
It's rare than damp can't be cured - how is it manifesting itself in your house, and what are your floors, walls, windows and roof made of?
Nicky Colour it green

I dont want to do chemical treatment.. mostly because i dont reckon it works.. just damages the people!

we have a slate roof, the windows are half wooden single glazed.. we have changed some to wooden DG, but not all (have to save)

The walls are about 2 ft thick and made of a mixture of stone - mostly riverstone and granite, and lime mortar.

the damp - well there were a few places it was clearly coming in via the roof.. and one where next doors gutter was practically emptying into our living room !! we have fixed those but it could be a while before that is dried out.

On the walls which are underground on the other side, the plaster and paint are bubbling - palm size bubbles.. Poor treatment before our time.. there are lots of layers of paint, gypsum plaster over that, gloss plaint etc. we intend to strip it back - probably taking the original lime plaster off too as it really is shot(it is crumbling off the walls), take it back to stone, repoint (lime mortar) and replaster with lime. we just haven't done it yet.

In other areas there is a tide mark of damp up the ghastly wallpaper (and previous occupant went in for that plastic sort of paper a lot)

the downstairs floors are mostly.. sadly.. concrete. which cannot be helping at all..

Good to hear you've fixed the roof and gutters - make sure the downpipes are taking the water somewhere and not just leaving at ground level around the house.
Stonework takes time to dry - reckon on an inch a month.
Your plans for a breathable treatment inside are absolutely right.
Externally, see if the landowners would object to you burying a four-inch land-drain near the wall to take water away.
Nicky Colour it green

an inch a month? oh slower than I thought.

I forgot to mention two external walls have hung slate.. and oh yeh in one room the previous owner 'fixed' a damp problem by stipping out the lime plaster to erm about waist height, and replaced with concrete and gypsum.. is this bad?

is a dehumidifier a good idea.. or is it better to just wait for things to dry out?

Dehumidifiers work well, but you'd have to be prepared to empty it a couple of times a day if the humidity is high - you can easily take a gallon of water every few hours out of the air.
My own choice would be to ensure that you've got reasonable ventilation (maybe not what you want to hear with winter on the way!) and let time take its course.

beetles will be unwelcome in a dry home
i have done lots of the op /metal organics jobs ,the bugs get dead but it cant be healthy for folk
i assume the structure is not compromised by chomping (my test of a timber is a smallish sharp knife should not be able to be pushed in more than 1/3 rd of the thickness )
beware fungi if it is historically damp ,shrinking /powdering timber is bad ,most fungi are local to a water supply
a slightly extreme cure for beetles is to wrap the building in plastic and fumigate with hydrogen cyanide for 2 days and ventilate for a week ,
cfb and dwb will die from dryer than "it feels a bit damp"heating and ventilation will help lots ,could you keep the home fires burning and the chimneys warm ?
Dr Rob

For access to adjoining property to carry out necessary damp remediation work, look at the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (it's not long).
Nicky Colour it green

Dr Rob wrote:
For access to adjoining property to carry out necessary damp remediation work, look at the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (it's not long).

thanks for that. The problem is though.. its not just access we would need, but actually to start digging a trench and fitting a drain in someone else's land.

I think though, on one side, we could put a drain in maybe.

then we have further complications:

The land in question, it is not actually clear who owns some of it.

and on another side of the house, it is the street, and we would have to lift some fancy brick/tile things that are actually protected by a conservation area wossit.

then another side , has a wall up against it now... our house was a farmhouse, but a couple of hundred years ago, someone built another house against it. so we cant get to our wall, as it has a new wall in front of it...

We still have lots of areas to tackle and hopefully will get there one by one.. but lack of time or money is holding us back.

To top it off - today I was tylng back a rose, standing on a raised bed up against the hosue (yes raised beds agasint the house are bad, another thing on our list) and noticed the ground was very boggy - investigated the drain and found the kitchen sink and dishwasher drain was blocked, and the water was going out.. overflowing into the ground, and no doubt coming back into the house..... *sigh*

aren't old houses fun...

mind you.. wouldn't swap it for the world.
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