Did you walk into your home and notice some silver-colored insects all over the place? If you were wondering what these creatures are, then you’re most likely dealing with silverfish.
As we can all agree, having a pest infestation of any sort is troubling.
But don’t worry, there are things you can do to get rid of these pests.
So stay with us, as we’ll be giving you vital tips on how to get rid of a silverfish infestation and steps you can take to keep them away for good!
What You Need to Know About Silverfish
If you want to know how to get rid of silverfish, then it is important you first understand what they are and their habits.
Contrary to its name, a silverfish, also known as Lepisma Saccharina, is not a fish. It derived its name from its silver color and the way it moves – a side-to-side fish-like movement.
Silverfish are actually among the oldest-existing insects on Earth, as they have been around for millions of years. They cannot fly since they do not have wings, but they are excellent crawlers and can be found hiding in cracks and crevices and other small hiding spaces in the home.
Silverfish love Polysaccharides, which can be found in so many items used at home, such as carpet fiber, book glue, fabric, paint, upholstery, etc. The silverfish eat through these materials, as they provide an excellent food source for them.
Even though you can spot some of them during the day, silverfish are most active at night. And this is when you will find them crawling along baseboards, carpets, bookshelves, and within the cracks and crevices in your wall.
Silverfish have a long lifespan, as they can live for as long as 8 years. This is quite astonishing for an insect, as most can only survive between a few weeks to a few months.
Adult silverfish can also reproduce all through their lifespan, which is why an unchecked silverfish infestation can become full-blown in no time. If this happens, their prolonged feeding habits can damage property like cushions, carpets, and books.
Why Do I Have Silverfish Infestation?
Having silverfish in your house doesn’t happen by accident, as several conditions could attract them. So before you go ahead with any pest control measures, you need to understand what attracts them first.
With that in mind, here are some of the major reasons why you have a silverfish infestation in your home.
1. Food sources
All creatures need food to survive, and this pesky insect is no different.
As we mentioned earlier, silverfish love eating polysaccharides, a form of sugar found in items you use at home daily, including that piece of bread you left on the dinner table overnight.
Furthermore, silverfish also feed on cakes and other sugary pastries. Therefore, if your home offers multiple food sources for them such as these, then they’d be more than happy to invade.
2. Dark areas/ Hiding spaces
Silverfish usually come out at night when it’s time to eat, but they love to hide during most parts of the day. Dark areas are their preferred hiding place, where they can stay out of sight. This is why the cracks and crevices in your walls are perfect for them.
If these cracks are available, then they will shelter there, especially during the cold winter seasons.
3. Nesting area
Adult silverfish don’t look for shelter for themselves alone. They also need dark, damp areas like the kitchen sink or bathtub, which provide both concealment and moisture to lay their eggs.
4. Excessive moisture
Water is a vital part of existence, and silverfish need moisture to survive. Dark, damp areas are also very comfy for them. Thus, the moisture will attract silverfish if you have leakages in your bathroom shower area, kitchen sink, or pipes.
What Are Silverfish A Sign Of?
Silverfish will not invade your home unless it offers them desirable food, water, shelter, etc.
So if you have a silverfish problem, then that could be a sign of the following:
1. Poor cleanliness
Untidiness is one of the biggest contributors to a silverfish problem. Therefore, leaving a piece of bread, cake crumbs, muffins, or any other sugary foods on your kitchen counter or dining table will attract silverfish.
Since these pests are also known to hide under piles of junk, stashes of old books and the likes can also attract them.
2. Bad plumbing
Since silverfish like moist environments, then seeing them around your home could be a sign of bad plumbing.
For example, It may be that some pipes are leaking or there’s clogged drainage somewhere, which causes water to spill and dampen your surfaces. If this is the case, then don’t be surprised if you find silverfish in your house.
3. Cracks in your structure
Finding silverfish in your home could also signify that there are cracks in your walls or foundation. These pests like dark spaces where they can hide, and cracks and crevices provide just the right hiding place.
Where Do Silverfish Come from And How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Apart from the young silverfish born in your home, adults usually come from outside.
Naturally, they can be found crawling around litters of leaves, under the rocks, and inside dead and rotting tree stumps or logs.
Silverfish don’t like bright sunlight, so they prefer dark, damp areas. They can also be found near pools of stagnant water in your yard.
Since they are very good crawlers, they won’t have any issues exploring your home searching for food. More so, they could enter your house to escape the winter cold.
Now that you know where these pests come from, you can begin taking steps to fight the infestation.
Here’s what you can do to get rid of silverfish.
1. Eliminate their food sources
If silverfish can access the starchy food in your home, then they will keep on coming back. However, limiting their food sources is a good pest control measure to take.
What you need to do is simple. Ensure that you clean up every time you eat. Do not leave crumbs lying around your dining table after a meal. Wipe it clean so that there will be no traces of the sweet-tasting leftovers.
An extra tip here is to limit the number of places you eat because the more rooms you have your snacks, the more spread out the crumbs will be, giving silverfish many options in the process.
By doing this, there will be no food for the pest to feed on, and they will be left with no other options but to move away to other locations in search of food.
2. Use glass container traps
If there are more silverfish in your home than you can count, then it’s time to be more direct with your disinfestation approach. One way to do this is to trap the silverfish!
You can make a simple silverfish trap using only a glass jar, tape, and bait.
Just add some starchy food into the jar to lure the pests, then wrap the outside of the jar with the tape, just so the silverfish will be able to climb in. Unfortunately for them, their legs will not be able to grip the smooth surface of the inner parts of the jar, so they won’t be able to climb out.
This method of silverfish control may take a few days before you can see a significant reduction in the silverfish population, so be sure to empty the glass jar when it’s full and repeat the process. Keep at this until you wipe out the silverfish completely.
3. Use newspaper traps
If you’ve got old newspapers stashed somewhere, then you can put them to good use by turning them into silverfish traps.
Since you already know that silverfish like moisture, set pages of the newspapers across the areas where they are most active and wet them a bit. The silverfish will be attracted to the newspaper since it’s damp. You can even add some sweet cakes to make it more enticing.
When they have gathered in large numbers, roll up the newspapers and take them outside. You can either dump them in the garbage can or burn them. This will kill the crawlers instantly.
Set as many newspapers as required.
4. Use glue traps
Silverfish are crawlers, and they will trek over pretty much any surface in search of food or water, including the trap.
So, another silverfish trap you can use is the glue trap. This trap will not kill silverfish, but the glue spread across the surface of the trap will ensure that they can’t move once they get on it.
You can add some sweet crumbs over the trap to make it more attractive to the pests for faster results.
5. Use silverfish poison
You can buy silverfish poison from a pest control store around your area, then spread it along the cracks and crevices where they usually crawl in and out of.
The poison will kill silverfish once they ingest it, so be prepared to sweep up many dead ones the following morning.
Be warned, though, do not use this approach if you have kids or pets, as they too could ingest the poison out of curiosity.
6. Use cedar oil
One of the natural substances that silverfish hate is cedar oil. They can’t stand the strong-smelling pheromones, so you can use them to prevent silverfish from coming inside.
The good thing about using cedar oil is that the smell, which silverfish hate, is pleasant to humans!
To use cedar oil to get rid of silverfish, add some into a spray bottle and mix with water. Shake thoroughly and visit the corners where they are most active. Including baseboards, the attic, your basement, and anywhere else they may be.
Spray generously across those areas, as well as the areas you want them to stay away from.
7. Use chemical pesticides
If you want instant results, then using chemical pesticide sprays is a good way to kill silverfish. If you don’t already have one at home, you can find one in a pesticide store.
The active agents in the pesticide will begin to work on the pest’s nervous system immediately, and it will be dead in minutes. All you have to do is spray into the cracks where they are hiding or directly on them when sighted.
Make sure you read the instructions on the package before use. Also, ensure that the rooms where you are applying the insecticide spray are empty. Shut the doors and windows tightly so no one can go in, at least not until the substance has been diffused.
Don’t forget to store the spray can away from the reach of children.
What Gets Rid Of Silverfish Naturally
If you’re not a fan of chemical approaches, then you can follow the natural disinfestation route.
Here are some means by which you can get rid of silverfish naturally.
1. Boric acid
Boric acid is effective against many pest insects, including silverfish. It works by destroying their digestive systems, starving them to death in the process.
Boric acid may be natural, but it is extremely poisonous to insects. It is also harmful to kids and pets if they accidentally ingest it, so use caution and make sure none come close to the areas where it is applied.
To use boric acid, scatter around the areas where the silverfish is most likely to crawl across. When they do, the acid will begin to do its job, and the silverfish will die.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is another natural remedy for silverfish control. It works by sucking out all the moisture from the pest, dehydrating them in the process.
All that needs to happen is for the silverfish to contact the Diatomaceous Earth, and the process will begin immediately.
Buy a box of Diatomaceous Earth from a pesticide store near you, then sprinkle the powder around the pest’s favorite crawl spaces.
Unlike boric acid, Diatomaceous Earth isn’t harmful to pets or children, which is why it is one of the best ways to kill silverfish.
3. Cedar oil
We have already spoken of how cedar oil is one of the best natural remedies for a silverfish infestation. It smells nice to humans but terrible to most insect pests.
You can mix the oil with some water in a spray bottle and apply it around the nesting areas of the pests. You can also scatter cedar shavings across your home and replace them when due.
Just like cedar oil, cinnamon produces a sweet-smelling fragrance for humans, but not so much for silverfish, as the scent is known to irritate them.
Get some cinnamon sticks and lay them in any room or area that has been infested.
These include –
- Kitchen cabinets
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like lemon can be used as a silverfish repellent. All you have to do is squeeze as much lemon juice as you can into a spray bottle and apply it across the areas where the pests are hiding.
As sweet as citrus smells to us humans, it is an excellent silverfish repellent, as they cannot stand the smell.
An extra tip is to gather some lemon peels in bowls and place them in the areas where you want the silverfish to stay away from. Remember that the peels will lose their essence after some time, so be sure to throw the old peels away and replace them with fresh ones for the best results.
You can also use bay leaves to drive them away.
6. Naphthalene balls
Naphthalene balls have proven to be highly effective against all sorts of crawling insects in the home, and you can use them to keep silverfish away from your clothes and books.
The smell produced by Naphthalene balls is too strong for pest insects to bear so that they will stay away from any area littered with them.
To keep silverfish away from your closet, shelves, bags, wardrobes, and suitcases, then scatter Naphthalene balls around them, and silverfish will not come near!
It will also be good to place the balls in the dark and humid areas where the pests like to hide. These areas include under the kitchen sink or the bathtub.
How To Prevent Silverfish From Coming Back
Getting rid of silverfish is one thing, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want them coming back later in the future. Thankfully, there are things you can do to ensure that these problematic insects do not return.
Try these for the best results.
1. Store all your sugary foods in sealed containers
If you’re fond of sweet foods, then you’d be doing yourself a favor by keeping them stored in airtight containers.
By doing so, silverfish will not access the food and will explore other locations away from your home to feed.
2. Clean up after you eat
One thing that attracts silverfish the most is crumbs of sugary foods such as cakes, muffins, and candy. Not to say you shouldn’t eat your favorites, but ensure that you clean your tables after your snack.
You can use a lemon solution to wipe your tables, and other hard surfaces since lemon smell repel silverfish.
3. Get rid of unnecessary adhesive material from your home
If you have old stacks of paper, cardboard boxes, or clothing, remove them from your home to reduce the chances of attracting silverfish.
4. Keep your clothes in a dry environment
Ensure that your clothes are kept in dry spaces, as that will reduce the chances of attracting pests. You can use a jacket cover to seal your tops.
5. Vacuum regularly
You may wipe your dining table clean after you have your meals, but there’s a chance that some of the food has spilled over to the floor.
Ensure you vacuum regularly to keep your rugs and carpets clean at all times. A scarcity of food will make your home unattractive to insects.
A HEPA vacuum is ideal for this, as it can suck up silverfish eggs as well as the adults.
6. Seal the cracks
To limit the hiding spaces, ensure that you caulk the cracks in your walls, window and door frames, and posts.
A scarcity of where to hide will make the silverfish feel unsafe in your home and search for other places to inhabit.
7. Remove debris from your yard
Don’t forget that silverfish come from outside (except for those that hatch from the eggs laid indoors). With this in mind, ensure that you keep your yard free of junk like old tree stumps, piles of paper, and the likes.
Once these hiding spaces are lo longer available, then the silverfish will have nowhere to lay their eggs in your yard.
8. Reduce indoor moisture
Moisture attracts many insect pests, so it would be in your best interest to reduce indoor moisture as much as you can.
A dehumidifier is a good tool for this, as it can dry up airborne moisture. Levels of 50% moisture and below will be unconducive for the pests.
You should also fix all leaking pipes and other forms of bad plumbing to reduce the occurrence of standing water in your home.
Silverfish look scary and dangerous, but they aren’t. They aren’t known to bite humans, and they do not spread diseases.
I have to mention that they shed their skins, and making contact with them can cause allergic reactions in some people.
There you go, guys, that’s how to get rid of silverfish and prevent them from coming back. These tips should work well for you, but if you’re not one to go near insects, then you can hire a pest control service for help.
Silverfish look scary and dangerous, but they aren’t.
They aren’t known to bite humans, and they do not spread diseases. I have to mention that they shed their skins, and making contact with them can cause allergic reactions in some people.