How to Get Rid of Silverfish?
Is your home swimming in silverfish? These sneaky silver creatures can destroy property and possessions before you even realize they’ve invaded. Unlike roaches or rats, silverfish have different motivations and desires for living in your home. You’ll need to understand their behavior to keep them away. Here’s everything you need to know about getting rid of silverfish.
What are Silverfish?
Also known as bristletails, silverfish are easy to recognize due to their silver/metallic color. They’re long, thin insects with three bristle-shaped tails.
Silverfish infestations have good news and bad news. On the plus side, they’re not harmful to people or pets. You don’t have to worry about bites or disease.
However, silverfish have a voracious appetite for objects. Just a few silverfish can quickly tear through books, clothing, and other common household belongings.
Silverfish have no interest in humans. While that might sound great, it actually causes lots of problems. Silverfish hide in attics, basements, closets, and other seldom-seen locales where they feast away in secret.
Signs of Infestation
Before learning how to get rid of silverfish, you need to understand the extent of the infestation. Unfortunately, they’re primarily nocturnal. You might not see them easily. Here’s what to watch for instead:
- Small spots of excrement. It looks like black pepper.
- Holes and yellow stains on paper and fabric
- Tiny, silver husks left behind from shedding
Here are five easy methods for how to kill silverfish and prevent their return:
Remove Their Food by Reducing Clutter
Silverfish need a diet of sugars and starches. They love paper most of all, especially if its musty and dusty. They’ll seek out:
- Those piles of papers on your desk you never touch
- The stacks of books in the corner of your room
- The boxes of documents left in the attic or basement
Clean up and clear out the clutter. Throw away any papers you don’t need, especially those that silverfish have already discovered.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to live a 100% paper-free lifestyle. Store important docs in airtight storage bins.
Keep Your Home Dry
Make your home inhospitable to these silvery invaders. They prefer moist, humid locations.
Concentrate on dehumidifying damp areas and sealing up any leaking water. Keep hoses and pipes dry. Check around (and especially behind) your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Silverfish tend to congregate in those frequently-damp areas.
Additionally, seal up your home to prevent unwanted insect entry. Board-certified entomologist Tom Myers provided details to WKTY News:
“A lot of times people need to check their doors, both the threshold beneath their main pathway doors and their garage doors and make sure they seal well,” he said. “If you can see light under there, you need to get a better threshold to keep them out.”
Also, seal exterior cracks with caulk. Keeping gutters and downspouts clear and running free prevents water from pooling up around your house.
Store Food Securely
Although they prefer paper, silverfish aren’t particularly discerning gourmets. They’ll gobble up just about any starch or sugar. Protect your pantry’s dry goods such as cereal, pasta, rice, flour, and sugar.
Remember: silverfish will eat right through a cardboard box or thin plastic bag. Store your dry goods in airtight plastic or ceramic containers.
Don’t forget about pet food. Large bags of kibble, especially those kept in a cold, dark garage, are especially enticing. Protect pet food bags by storing them in plastic bins.
Use DE for Silverfish Pest Control
Use Diatomaceous Earth for silverfish pest control. Commonly called “DE,” Diatomaceous Earth is a powder made from fossilized algae remains.
DE is safe for people, but it’s the best way to get rid of silverfish. It destroys their outer wax coating. They lose moisture, dry up, and die.
Sprinkle DE in silverfish-concentrated areas. Place the powder along baseboards, in cabinets, along window sills, and wherever else the bugs are found. It’s most effective along silverfish travel paths.
Setup Silverfish Traps
Augment your attack with traps. Small packets trap and kill silverfish with boric acid, a natural pesticide that disrupts insect nervous systems when ingested.
Place traps in out-of-the-way locations where silverfish likely live such as:
- Desk Drawers
- Under Sinks
Boric acid is potentially dangerous to humans if swallowed. Never place silverfish traps where kids or pets can reach them. Also, keep traps away from food (don’t place them in the same cabinet with food).
Silverfish infestations develop slowly. However, they’re also difficult to remove once they’ve established a foothold in your home.
At the first sign of these pests, take immediate action. Clean the area and remove clutter. Mop up any nearby water and fix any leaks.
Next, exterminate the silverfish already inside. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth in living areas. Place traps in more out-of-the-way spots.
Removing silverfish is often tedious and time-consuming. You’ll get the best, fastest results from hiring a pest control professional.
Fortunately, learning how to get rid of silverfish is easy! Don’t let silverfish eat your wardrobe and library. Use the tips above to get rid of silverfish today – and keep them out forever.
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