It’s a nightmare scenario: you’ve pushed your shower curtain open and discovered a small family of silverfish has taken up residence near your bathtub drain. Nothing gives homeowners the creepy-crawly feelings quite like watching silverfish crawl around on the floor.
If you’ve discovered that you have a silverfish infestation, keep reading. We’re going to lay out everything you need to know about getting rid of them.
Silverfish: What Are They?
Silverfish are small, nocturnal insects. They get their name because of their gray or silvery color and the way they move their bodies like fish. They have tails and antennas that taper off at the ends.
Silverfish are extremely fast and they like to burrow in dark, humid places. They don’t have wings and can only run quickly across horizontal surfaces, as they don’t have anything to help them cling to things vertically.
On average, silverfish live for around three years.
Are Silverfish Destructive?
As far as humans are considered, silverfish are harmless. But when wallpaper, books, carpet, old paper, and clothes come into contact with their droppings, it can destroy them.
On their own, a single silverfish isn’t a big problem. But a lot of them can eat up valuable belongings. They also like to create homes in cereal and other dry goods.
So, while silverfish aren’t necessarily dangerous in terms of interactions with humans, and a few of them on their own are fine. But if you suspect a huge silverfish infestation in your home, you’ll have to get rid of them.
Why Are There Silverfish in My House?
Silverfish are attracted to places with a lot of humidity and moisture. There are a few things around your property that can invite silverfish and make them difficult to get rid of.
If you have leaf piles that have been sitting for a while and have gotten damp, that’s a perfect place for silverfish to hide. If these piles are close to your home, silverfish are more likely to find a way inside.
Are the gardens surrounding your house thick with weeds? Heavily weeded areas can become damp and humid, which is the perfect environment for a silverfish infestation to grow.
This is true for mulch as well, as mulch retains a ton of moisture and provides shade.
Some other things to consider are:
- Construction materials
- Leaky spigots
- Broken gutters
All of these things collect moisture and will allow silverfish to thrive. When silverfish can get close to your home, they’ll find any way to get inside.
Signs You Have Silverfish
If you haven’t seen a ton of silverfish but are still concerned that you may have an infestation there are a few signs you should look out for.
If you notice that your clothing made from synthetic material has yellow stains or that your old books are developing small holes, you may have a silverfish infestation. You should also check your wallpaper for small holes or evidence of droppings.
Silverfish like to burrow in dried food, so check your pantry as well.
How to Get Rid of a Silverfish Infestation
Luckily, getting rid of silverfish doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are a few things you can try at home before reaching out to a professional.
First, you could try cedar shavings. Cedar and the oil found in cedar is a natural insecticide and it will repel silverfish. If you have areas around your home that attract silverfish, lay some cedar shavings around the area.
The same is true for cinnamon and cloves. Cinnamon oil and cinnamon sticks placed around the area can help keep silverfish at bay.
You can also make a spray out of citrus fruits like lemon and orange to spray around the area. Cucumber works great for this as well.
Silverfish are attracted to salt and will eat it, but too much salt can cause them to dehydrate and die. This is a great way to get rid of silverfish without using harsh chemicals.
You could also try diatomaceous earth, which is a white powder that causes silverfish to lose their waxy coating. This causes them to die from dehydration.
If you’ve tried the home remedies and you still have a problem with silverfish infestations, you could try boric acid. However, make sure you keep it away from your pets and children as it can be fatal.
Some traps and bug sprays can be used to kill silverfish as well. But keep in mind that until you get rid of the cause of the infestation, they’ll just keep coming back.
Hire Pest Control
If you’ve tried getting rid of your silverfish problem on your own but you haven’t had any luck, you should hire pest control. A professional will have the proper tools to locate and eliminate the source of your silverfish infestation and can help you get rid of the problem.
In order to make sure your silverfish problem doesn’t come back, you should make sure that there is nothing near your home that could be causing moisture buildup. Clear away any clutter inside or outside to make sure they don’t have anywhere to hide.
You should also reduce the humidity in your home, by making sure your house is free of leaks and standing moisture.
A Home Without Pests
Now that you know how to get rid of a silverfish infestation, you can take the steps necessary to free your home of these creepy-crawly pests. As long as you keep your home free from excessive moisture and keep the area around your foundation free from clutter and debris, you should have no problem staying silverfish-free.
For more information about how to get your home in tip-top shape, keep reading!