Can you please help identify what insect this might be based on the noise it makes? Video below.

The noise is regular tapping, and can be heard especially at night when everything is quiet. When approached or my footsteps can be heard, the noise stops and starts again when it’s quiet again. I’ve never managed to see what it looks like.

It is only a single source of noise, and on different days comes from different parts of the room. Often can be heard from wooden window frames. This time when I recorded the video it was most likely somewhere in the bag.

I live in Sydney, Australia.

I listened to a number of different bugs (in videos) and can confirm it is not:

  • Termite
  • Deathwatch beetle
  • click beetle



1 Answer 1


I think that the most likely culprit are the so-called booklice (Psocoptera and Psocodea). These have a world-wide distribution and are a common household pest, eating dust and plant material (including paper)

These are small whitish/transparent insects that you might see scurrying around on recently disturbed surfaces - particularly books, stored boxes or in cupboards where you store flour or similar foods. They are quite small - in the order of 1-2 mm (~1-3/16th inches) long. Some of these species make quiet tapping sounds and they are very common in households - which might explain them being in a bag.

However, I wouldn't be so sure of ruling out deathwatch beetles - there are quite a few species in the group, besides "the" deathwatch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum), some of which I believe also make clicking/tapping sounds, though I'm not sure of the species which do and whether they might be present in Australia.

  • $\begingroup$ Booklice are tiny! I can't imagine one making this type of sound. I'm not convinced :p. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist Surprisingly audible though - I've heard them a few times. I'm guessing it's a drumming effect on a thin surface. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Mar 27 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. I have in fact seen book lice a few times in the house, however, as mentioned in the comment above, they really are tiny so I can’t imagine them being so loud. It might be though. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Mar 28 at 0:57

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