While performing a regular monthly service at a church complex in Albany, a priest pulled me aside and told me a strange story. Whenever he was in the rectory study reading, the priest would hear mysterious noises that sounded like faint scratching coming from within the walls. He had never seen a single mouse or any pest in the rectory for that matter. He only heard the sounds when he was in a certain chair and when it was very quiet. No one else claimed to hear the scratching, but the priest was convinced there was something making the noise.
I asked if I could take a look at the rectory to see if I could hear anything. In the room, the priest showed me where he sat when he heard this noise. His chair was near a large window. Very quietly, I moved close to the window and listened. And there it was! A distant, muffled scratching.
I went to my service vehicle and grabbed a stethoscope and screwdriver before returning to the rectory. I used my stethoscope to thoroughly investigate the area around the window, and sure enough, I could clearly hear the scratching in the header. I pried off a piece of molding and out poured some sawdust. Then I saw the Carpenter Ants. It seems that on the exterior of the window casing the flashing along the top had been compromised and allowed water to leak in, gradually creating soft, damp wood, the perfect nesting area for the Carpenter Ants. The chair the priest liked to use for reading was a rocking chair and the vibrations disturbed the ants, causing them to shuffle about, making the scratching sound. It was so quiet in the room that the priest was able to hear the hundreds of ants living above the window.
Luckily this church just needed an “exterminator” and not an exorcist!