To get a clear idea of what their appearance is like, google some silverfish pictures. You will see that these are small (12-19 mm long) tear-shaped insects with long antennas and three bristles. Their bodies are brown-grey, or silver, and they don’t have wings. Three pairs of legs allow them run quite rapidly, but they can’t climb on walls, which is why people may ignore their presence for a long time, not noticing tiny bugs crawling on the floor. A baby silverfish is born white, but it turns color quickly, and doesn’t grow much, not differing so much from an adult.
- 1 What Their Eggs Look Like?
- 2 How to Detect the Presence of Insects?
- 3 The Reasons for Their Appearance
- 4 How to Stop the Infestation?
- 5 Applying Natural Remedies Against silverfish
- 6 Special Remedies
- 7 How to Prevent the Infestation?
- 8 Are They Difficult to Get Rid of?
What Their Eggs Look Like?
A female bug lays a cluster of 2-20 eggs in some discreet, hard to locate place. Silverfish eggs can be found around the house in crevices, small holes, etc. They look like small (up to 0.8 mm) oval transparent capsules with tiny grey nymphs inside. If the insects had already hatched out, left shells turn brown.
How to Detect the Presence of Insects?
Since The Silverfish Is A Nocturnal Creature, People don’t see it too often. Plus, they prefer hiding in moist dark places, being afraid of dark, which is why contact with humans is minimal. Typically, people say “First I saw a silverfish in my bathroom”, because this is perfect location for the insects. It provides water, shelter and some sources of food. Plus, the bugs also live in attics, basement, kitchen and other damp areas.
If you don’t see the bugs directly, you may bump into the traces of their activity. They eat sugar and starchy foods, consuming glue on books, textile, furniture, wallpapers, silk and stored dry foods. Thus, you can observe little holes on these objects, or big pieces of them torn, depending on the population and how long it fed on this or that thing. How to find silverfish in the case you have noticed suspicious damages of your home appliances and small feces (tiny black pepperlike dots usually found in corners)? First, check all dark and discreet places in your bathroom, basement, kitchen and other rooms where pipes are located, and the air is very moist. Most probably, they hide there.
The Reasons for Their Appearance
Where do silverfish come from? The bugs usually don’t live in the nature, inhabiting houses. If you have never faced the infestation, and suddenly see a sliver insect, it means it was brought home with some papers, linen, or other cellulose objects. In rare occasions, they come in “from the street”, but it happens with less than 1% chance.
Another question is “Why do I have silverfish living in my house”. If the infestation is spreading, it means insects feel good, and have comfortable conditions around: dampness, access to food, darkness. It must be quite humid in your rooms, with water collecting after washing and other daily activities, or you have pipe leaking. Probably, ventilation is poor, and the air does not dry out sufficiently. This is the problem of several types of space:
- laundry room;
So if you neglect cleanliness of these rooms, insects may feel at home there.
Where Do Silverfish Live?
The list of rooms they are most frequently found in has been specified above. But where exactly do silverfish hide? In dark and hard to reach areas, for instance, under bathtub, in crevices and between parquet boards, near pipes and tubing, in piles of linen.
Generally, they prefer damp and dark places where humans won’t get them.
Are the Bugs Dangerous?
Silverfish are not dangerous by their nature, totally avoiding contact with people and not showing out too often. However, the insects can damage a lot of home appliances and different objects that have sugar or starch, for instance:
- glue in books, as well as pages;
- cotton and silk linen, towels, etc.;
- dead insects;
- open food packages.
Do silverfish eat clothes? Yes, they are attracted to textiles made of natural materials. Thus, they are able of gradually destroying clothes, bed sheets and towels and together with dry foods, papers and other stuff containing cellulose.
These are visible consequences of their infestation, but what about diseases and bacteria? Happily, the insects do not transmit any infection. Furthermore, even if they did, they do not contact with people, so the chances of being contaminated would be minimal.
All in all, the main drawback of their presence is rather psychological than physical: they do look disgusting, and many people just dread crawling insects. While some ignore the little bugs, others may be scared to death and put off by them, even realizing there is no hazard at all.
Are Silverfish Poisonous?
Another frequently asked question of people who face the infestation is whether the bugs are potentially poisonous. No, they do not emit any toxins, and their feces and dead bodies do not expose danger to people or pets, even if the last ones eat the creatures.
Many are afraid of silverfish bug bite: what if it causes inflammation, infection, some serious disease or allergic reactions? Relax. First of all, they do not bite people – your blood and skin just does not attract them, not serving as a source of nutrition. Secondly, even in case they did, it would be impossible for them to get you – you don’t sleep on the floor, right? Plus, being nocturnal creatures, silverfish are out of reach of people for the most of time.
If you see some bites on your body, the chances that you have been bitten by a silverfish are equal to zero. There are no registered cases of bites today.
How to Stop the Infestation?
So, you have noticed some yellowing spots on papers, insects’ casts, eggs and small black feces? It means that the infestation is at its peak, and you need to take measures to keep the bugs away. How to exterminate silverfish? This struggle will be a difficult one, if you use one method only.
Usually, different ways of pest extermination should be combined together and achieve better results, because the bugs are quite hard to get, and don’t need much to survive (it can live a year without food at all).
The main reason insects live in your house is that it is comfortable for them. Thus, turn your dwelling in the real hell for the bugs. Do the following:
- First and foremost, keep it clean. Don’t live bread crumbles, residues of your snacks and dry foods on the floor, and vacuum it as often as possible. You can spread some baking soda on carpets so that it dries eggs up, and you can vacuum them, too. Clean dust from books, and store papers in dry places. Mop the floor in bathroom and other areas where possible: the bugs eat on dead skin cells which comprise about 40% of house dust.
- Check for all the old stuff. If you have some carton boxes lying on the floor, consider storing them on shelves or tables, because they can collect moisture. Or you can replace them with plastic containers. Have some old clothes stored on the attic, in your wardrobe or anywhere else? Put them out, check for the insects. If needed, throw some stuff away, and put it in closed containers. Also check you library: silverfish adore old books and newspapers.
- Keep your apartments dry. Damp air is another crucial factor that conditions presence of the bugs. Remember that silverfish control 50% depends on the humidity n your dwelling. Install dehumidifiers: this is the most effective solution, especially in the areas with humid climate. If it’s not an option for you, consider buying air conditioners or at least having fans switched on for a long time. Purchase a moisture meter, and sustain humidity level within 40-60% limits.
- Wipe the water left in bathroom and kitchen. Take some paper towels and mop the floor, do it every time before night.
- Check the pipes for leaking and replace/repair, if needed. If there are some puddles under them, the bugs will have perfect conditions for living.
- If you have crevices, holes, cracks in walls and furniture, fill them up with caulk. This is especially important for bathroom, basement and other damp rooms.
Following these rules, you will be able to control, or even get rid of silverfish, depriving them of food and water.
Applying Natural Remedies Against silverfish
The above mentioned recommendations should be complemented with some other methods. If you don’t want to call local pest control service, and afraid of applying toxic remedies for this or that reason, there is an alternative solution. Natural methods may also help to kill silverfish. Write down the most efficient, time-proved ways.
The easiest and the safest method is a hand-made trap. Take a glass jar and wrap it around with masking tape. Put a piece of bread inside, or some other starch attractant, and leave the jar in a place where insects are suspected to crawl. Bugs will get inside the container to eat the bait, but won’t be able to get out of it, because glass surface is too slippery. You can make several traps like that and distribute them around the house.
How to eliminate silverfish, if you don’t want to use your glassware? Take an old newspaper, roll it up and fix the ends with an elastic cord. Moisten it and put where the bugs are seen more often. This thing is a perfect environment for the insects – they will eat the way through the newspaper, leaving inside. When you wake up in the morning, take the trap and throw it away, or burn without unrolling. You can use such traps for as many nights as needed to cease the infestation.
What keeps the creatures at bay is cedar shavings. They just hate its smell! Sprinkle some shavings around the places where they go, and in some damp rooms (practically, anywhere where you don’t mind them lying around). Replace or clean them every 7-10 days.
Spices are also good, because their aroma is unpleasant for the bugs. Make sachets of cinnamon, clover and some other strong smelling herbs and spices, and put them in kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, table drawers and all discreet places so attractive for the pests. They will run away from there soon.
An alternative solution is citrus or lavender spray. Buy some oil essences and mix them with water. Spray the mixture in corners and rooms where you don’t want to see the bugs.
How to get rid of silverfish naturally, if these means simply don’t work? Time for insecticides. Buy some diatomaceous earth, and sprinkle it in kitchen cabinets, drawers, and other dark areas. This is one of the strongest natural insecticides ever invented, and can be used to kill anything that crawls and flies. Sharp edges of every single grain of this ground-up fossilized material kill the insects from the inside, being totally harmless for humans and pets. Leave the substance for a night, and vacuum it up in the morning. Wear a protection mask while sprinkling it, because it may irritate lungs.
You may also test how boric acid will work against the creatures. Spray it in dark places, under the bathtub, baseboards, etc., and it will exterminate the bugs together with their eggs. Be careful when using the remedy, especially if you have pets, because it is toxic.
You have tried these methods, but they seem not to work? When the infestation is well-established, natural remedies may be not effective enough, and you will have to resolve to use chemicals. Don’t know what to choose from? Here are Top-5 special remedies that will definitely exterminate the bugs.
- One of the most widespread remedies is liquid pyrethrin that is usually sold in the form of a spray. Apply it in the crevices and holes where bugs hide, and around baseboards, windows and doors. But mind that the substance kills adult species only, not affecting the eggs.
- You can buy Dekko Silverfish Packs that contain 20% of boric acid. Put them in infested areas, including drawers, attics, closets, basement, garage. Replace them in three-four months. Depending on the severity of infestation, it may take from several days to three-four weeks to take it under control.
- Want to kill the bugs without applying toxic remedies? Buy special silverfish traps, for instance, so-called roach motels, and place them around the house. Use as many traps as you want. You can also place some bread or other attractant inside.
- How to keep silverfish away with the help of remedies sold in usual stores? Buy moth balls, and put them in dark places, including wardrobe, drawers, closets and in bathroom. They will repel the bugs very effectively.
- Protector Silverfish Killer and Treatment Kit for the Home includes special spray, powder and natural aerosol. This is a perfect solution for small-scale infestations, being quite safe and effective. The products can be used in kitchen, garage and bathroom. The spray is applied in the areas where food is stored (cupboards, drawers), as well as in the bathroom. It dehydrates the bugs, killing them. Powder works well for hard-to-reach areas, e.g. small holes, crevices. The spray is supposed to be used for bathtub, mattresses and furniture, providing up to 6 weeks of protection.
But mind that if the infestation is way too serious, the remedies might appear to be useless. How to eliminate silverfish in this case? You will have to contact pest control and ask them to kill the bugs. Specialists will do the job professionally, saving your time and home appliances.
What is Not Effective Against the Insects?
If you surf the net, you can find recipes of some natural remedies serving to repel the bugs. Some of them are quite effective, while the rest have not proved their efficiency yet.
For instance, people claim cucumber smell irritates the bugs and makes them go away. But numerous reviews state there was no effect from cucumber peels at all.
Another doubtful solution is table salt. Yes, if bugs eat it, they die from dehydration. However, they are not attracted to salt, because it does not contain starch or other nutritious components.
How to Prevent the Infestation?
If you don’t want silverfish to become your neighbor, follow these simple recommendations:
- Sustain cleanliness in your house. Don’t leave crumbles and food leftovers both on tables and on the floor. Vacuum and mop at least once a week, or so far as it gets dirty.
- Don’t let moisture to accumulate in rooms. If you live in humid climate, take care of the air inside your dwelling. 60% is recommended maximum of humidity level, comfortable for humans. Buy a dehumidifier, or some other device to supply sufficient ventilation in your house.
- Don’t live puddles and water spills in bathroom, basement, garage and other rooms. Wipe them with a towel. If you have pipes leaking, repair them.
- You have a lot of books being stored in your apartments? Clean them from dirt and dust, and keep on the shelves.
- The same goes for old clothes. If you have the habit of piling linen up and storing a lot of old stuff, sort out the mess and throw some away. Check it from time to time to ensure you don’t have drop-ins there.
- If your house is presupposed to the infestation, make it unattractive for the insects. Put spices around, apply some sprays and don’t leave sources of food for the bugs. Facing such unfavorable conditions, they won’t stay for long.
- Throw trash away regularly. Don’t store it for more than two days inside your dwelling.
- Check some discreet places from time to time for the traces of the bugs. If you notice something suspicious, you will be able to react faster, making the creatures die as soon as possible.
Are They Difficult to Get Rid of?
Although the silverfish appears to be a peaceful, almost a harmless insect, it is hard to make it go away. The problem is that they live in far always corners and areas where repellent and insecticide application is not possible.
Another problem is that sometimes natural remedies provide repelling properties only, but not kill the bugs. If that is your case, resolve to ask for pest control service help, or apply special toxic remedies.
One more issue is how to detect where do silverfish hide. Probably, you will have to wake up at night and trace them to their “camps”, or define the place by the presence of egg casts and black excrements.
Silverfish infestation is not the scariest thing that may happen to you and your house. But the bugs are potentially very harmful because of their eating habits, and they just look disgusting. So if you notice a bug, don’t rush to ring the alarm. Try killing them with natural and special remedies, and deprive of food and water. Most likely, you will see the results of the struggle, getting rid of them just in several days. And if you still find it impossible to exterminate them on your own, local pest control will always help!
This was very comprehensive. I am a pest controller and i certainly learnt a couple things.
I particularly liked the part where you said a ‘from the street’ infestation is unlikely, a lot of other sources recommend proofing the home but I too was dubious that this would actually achieve anything.
One thing, I always see silverfish in roof voids, a dusting treatment in this area has great results, unfortunately the options available to the homeowner are limited, perhaps a few moth balls up there would help but the roof is one area where professional gear is probably required.
Top stuff mate
Silverfish DO climb. I am presently trying to get rid of them. I get about 3 of them every second or third night crawling across my bedroom ceiling or on the wall. I have been getting up to spray them but I can’t keep doing that. I’m getting paranoid about sleeping at night now.
they are peaceful insects leave them alone .