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What is living in my dads coving?

My elderly father pointed out that his coving has begun to fall to the floor at two points on either side of the fire place, 6 feet apart. A considerable amount has come away, with holes where it’s being pushed out. He lives on the SE with no pests in the house AFAIK. The pieces of coving are about 2-3mm wide. The openings are approx 1cm and 2cm. The only thing I can think of is a spider and there is evidence of webbing but that could be historical. 

Has anyone ever seen this before? What types of spider? How to get rid? Thanks in advance. 



  • I've never come across that before my first thought was mice but I suppose it could be beetle, the coving is reasonably thick so I wouldn't have thought spider, and you say that it's both sides of the fireplace not a wasp or bee this time of year. There are beetles in Australia that have been found to eat polystyrene I doubt that they live this far North though, I'm still going with beetle if it's not mice.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,850
    Or squirrels
    I had them in my loft many years ago.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,175
    Something making a nest using the polystyrene. We have had mice, voles and squirrels in our roof space over the years.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Sazz101Sazz101 BucksPosts: 186
    Thanks all. I will have a closer looking ok and even to knock it down. 

     The only reason I don’t think it’s rodent is because, as far as I can see, there is no way to get in and out of that coving except through those small holes that have been created. There’s no bad smell or sign of rodent faeces. 

    Will keep you posted! 
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,004
    My mother had rodents ( can't remember if it was rats or mice) living in the cavity walls. She had holes like that in the ceiling. No smell of faeces.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,902
    edited December 2022
    They won't be going in and out of those holes though @Sazz101. They'll have got into the roof/ceiling space by a hole somewhere else - depending on the house and how many floors it has etc. If there's a hole lower down, they can also get in there and up through cavity walls or similar.  :/
    As it's a fireplace - they could even be accessing it by the chimney?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,262
    Are you sure this is caused by an animal?   It looks to me like efflorescence crystals caused by damp..
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,079
    edited December 2022
    I discounted efflorescence when I realised that the coving is the polystyrene type. 

    I'd get an exterminator-type firm in ... I suspect it may be rodents living in the wall/ceiling cavity ... however if it's an insect infestation the same type of firm will identify what it is and know what to do. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I think the first step should be to take the coving down ( as has been suggested by OP upthread) and investigate behind there. After that, you could decide on a course of action.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,902
    I had mice making a lovely nest in some polystyrene in the garage years ago.  :)
    They can get through holes the size of the 'tube' on a Biro. That can be very difficult to block. 
    I'd get someone in if I was you. My elderly father had all sorts nesting in his loft as he got older, and he was totally unaware, because he was never upstairs. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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