What are Silverfish and what can be done to get rid of them?
They measure about one to two centimeters in length, are bluish silver in colour, wingless and their movements resemble that of a fish. They have two antennas protruding from their head and three tails.
The female can lay from 2 to 20 eggs every day and they grow to becoming an adult in 3-4 months. They feed on mold, fungi and carbohydrates such as starch, sugar and cellulose. They can be found in dry food, clothes, shampoo and soap, books, wallpaper and plants. They prefer dark, moist areas with a moderate temperature with a good supply of food.
Where are you Likely to Find Silverfish?
The most common habitats include bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, attics and basements. You are likely to find them beneath sinks and bathtubs, inside storage boxes, in bookcases or within stacks of old magazines. They could be on your clothing shelves in your closet, behind your wallpaper, within voids in your walls, window or door frames and baseboards are other popular hiding places. Anywhere that has a supply of glue or paste, starch used in books, cereal products, discarded crumbs or plant life.
How to Eliminate Silverfish
Silverfish can be present in your home for a long time before you discover them; they are nocturnal and hide in dark places. They are usually discovered by cast skins or small feeding holes in cereal boxes, wallpaper or even in your clothing. You can try to eliminate them by using traps either from a store or through your own methods. There are several natural products that will help repel silverfish, here are some of the most popular methods.
These sprays are designed to help with bug elimination from your home, silverfish will be repelled by the scent, apply it to all areas where you suspect silverfish to be present, do not use citrus smelling cleaning sprays as these will not do this task.
Silverfish do not like the smell or odour from spices such as sage, whole cloves and bay leaves. Place the spices into a porous bag this will deter the bugs and prevent their returning later.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
This white powder helps to dehydrate the silverfish and kills them. Simply dust all areas where you suspect silverfish to be present and they will eventually die from passing through the powder. It is lethal to several pests but non-harmful to humans and pets.
Silverfish cannot stand the smell given off by this product so a few mothballs placed in any suspected areas of silverfish activity may keep the away.
Silverfish are also repelled by this scent, an effective deterrent is to mix lavender oil with water in a spray bottle and use it on carpets, walls, and pieces of furniture, skirting boards or anywhere that you suspect silverfish activity. Refresh the smell occasionally to prevent their return.
Cucumber is a good natural repellent, place some slices wherever the silverfish are hiding and they will soon go away, replace the slices of cucumber once they have dried out.
Other Effective Ways to Reduce Silverfish
Silverfish thrive in damp areas with 75-90% humidity so by reducing that by around 50% with dehumidifiers and fans will help reduce the likelihood of your home attracting these pests. Also by fixing small leaks such as an occasional dripping tap will help eliminate a water source. Ventilate your attic space and any closed rooms.
Fill up any small cracks or crevices in your walls, around pipes etc, anywhere that silverfish can use as an entry way into the walls of your home. Keep your possessions clean, including the contents of storage boxes, book shelves, and your cupboards. Store your dry food items in plastic, airtight containers. Keep your house clean, vacuum, sweep and mop and dust regularly.
Simple Home Made Traps
Moisten and rollup some newspapers and leave them out overnight in areas frequented by silverfish. The next morning you can either burn the newspaper or place it into a trash can outside your home. Repeat this process each evening until you are no longer catching any silverfish.
Using a glass jar, cover the outside with masking tape to allow the silverfish easy entry into the jar, place some bread inside the jar or some sugared water. Once they are inside the jar they cannot escape. Sticky traps can be bought at hardware stores, attracting the pests which they stick to and cannot escape.
Removing silverfish can be a tiresome process and may take some time, but if left untreated they can cause damage to your home and possessions. The best remedy to removing them is to alter the conditions in your home that these pests found to be so inviting.
All the above works if the situation is not too severe, but sometimes the situation is beyond the home owners control.
If you really have some issues with Silverfish and they are regularly coming back, it is best to talk to us so we can discuss your options and make sure they will not bother you so much.