How To Get Rid Of Silverfish Every Time

The name silverfish strikes some as a bit misleading. However, when you consider what a silverfish is, the name starts to make a little more sense. Silverfish tend to feature an exterior that could be best described as silver/light gray and blue (1). When you add visual flair to the sometimes unsettling, fish-like movements the creatures utilize, silverfish becomes a clearer definition. Then you have teardrop shape of these creatures.

In the end, what matters more is how you deal with them. No one wants to be stuck with a silverfish infestation, which can prove to be problematic on a variety of levels. Whether you are dealing with silverfish at the moment, or if you are simply concerned that this might become a reality someday, there are several things about how to get rid of silverfish that you will want to keep in mind.

Learning About Silverfish

Measuring approximately twelve to nineteen millimeters in length, one of the most important facts about silverfish to keep in mind is that these are harmless creatures. One of the ways in which you will know you are dealing with silverfish is when you see the three long bristles at their back. From egg to adulthood, there does not seem to be any difference in their physical appearance.

While silverfish are not threatening to your health or safety, they are not creatures that you want to find yourself dealing with. Their appearance lends well to the notion that they do not crawl, but rather slither. Besides their appearance, which many would describe as “disconcerting”, or even “creepy”, they are capable of moving very quickly. They can survive in virtually any climate, but they tend to prefer hanging out in the dark. If the area in question is also damp, with loads of humidity, that is all the better.

Keeping all of the above in mind, it’s not hard to imagine the various places to find silverfish.

Where To Find Silverfish

Image Titled Silverfish on Floor

Image Credit: indigenous1

One of the worst things about silverfish is that you can find them in a variety of spaces:

Bathrooms: As you can imagine, the damp, moist conditions that are often particular to bathrooms can make for a perfect breeding ground for silverfish.
Basements: This is one of the most common areas in which to find silverfish.
Attics: This is another common breeding ground for attics, which can become extremely humid in the warmer months. If the roof is in any form of disintegration or disrepair, the humidity can soon be joined by an alarming amount of moisture.
Kitchens: The diet of silverfish can compel them to begin appearing your kitchen. At the same time, there are also plenty of dark spaces, and your kitchen can certainly recreate the atmosphere ideal for silverfish.
Sheds/garages: You can find silverfish in the boxes and dark, potentially damp corners that make up these spaces.

Even worse than where you can find silverfish is their diet.

What Is The Diet Of Silverfish

Another reason as to why silverfish can appear in so many places is because their diet can take them to a variety of places. Their diet is one that consists largely of sugars and starches (2). As you discover silverfish in places such as your sink, your bathtub, some storage boxes, your bookcase, within old stacks of newspapers/magazines, in your closets, in your wall voids, or behind the wallpaper, keep in mind the following staples of their diet:

• Shampoos
• Glucose
• Glues found in books
• Dead bugs
• Clothing items made from things like silk or linen
• Food packages that haven’t been opened
• Damp paper, including damp newspapers
• Plant materials
• Crumbs
• Flour
• Additional bathroom products

When you consider a list like that, it’s not hard to understand why there are so many different places in which you can find silverfish.

Next, you’ll want to consider their reproductive habits, in addition to their life cycle.

Reproductive Habits And Life Cycle

Image Titled Silverfish Habitat

Image Credit: Dluogs

Silverfish are capable or reproducing very, very quickly. This is one of the primary reasons as to why it is so intensely difficult to deal with them. The number of eggs the female is going to lay is going to vary from species to the next. To put it another way, the number of eggs laid by the female can range from one to twenty in a single day. It is also worth noting that silverfish eggs, which are also known as nymphs, can thrive particularly well under humid circumstances. This would at least partially explain why they are so horribly prolific in humid locations.

Because the female silverfish prefers to lay eggs in different places, in a crack, a crevice, or some other dark location, finding those eggs can be extremely challenging.

The lifecycle of silverfish comes with at least a couple of considerations. Three to four months from egg to adult is about what you can expect on that front. After they have been deposited, you can expect the eggs to lay in anywhere from nineteen to sixty days. This time period is dependent upon how humid the region is. In other words, if things are really humid, the eggs will hatch much faster. The young silverfish are pretty much the same in appearance as the adults, only smaller.

Silverfish molt repeatedly throughout their largely nocturnal lives. It is not unreasonable for a silverfish to molt as many as fifty times, over the course of their 2-3 year existence.

How To Find Silverfish

With all of the information above, you should be in a pretty good position to find and identify silverfish. A good way to know if you are dealing with silverfish is to look for the things they leave behind. In the places we have mentioned above, look for excrement that has the appearance of black pepper. If you find small holes or yellow-like stains on your clothes, your newspapers, your magazines, or your cereal boxes, you are dealing with silverfish. You can also find these yellow-like holes on boxes, and with the fabrics, we covered above.

You can also look for tiny skin casts. These can appear in any of the places already mentioned. Remember that silverfish like to molt many, many times, over the course of two or even three years.

One of the few, small up shots to finding silverfish is terms of how you can locate the next. Typically, once the silverfish have found a consistent food source, they will set up their nest close to that area. Because of the places in which silverfish live, breed, and eat, finding them can be difficult. However, once you are dealing with a full-on infestation, you are going to find it fairly easy to find the nest.

Although it is worth mentioning that there are things you can do to prevent silverfish infestations. If you are indeed dealing with an infestation, your next step will be to deal with them. You can opt for a number of natural ways to kill silverfish. You can also call in professional exterminators, most of whom include insects on their list of services.

No matter what, it is important to deal with your silverfish as quickly as possible. Beyond the fact that no one likes to have a home that’s infested with bugs, silverfish are capable of causing significant damage to your home on a variety of levels, if nothing is done to eliminate them.

A Few Ways To Deal With Silverfish

Cinnamon, lavender oil, and mothballs are just three of the ways in which to deal with silverfish naturally. There are benefits and considerations with each of these things:

Cinnamon: This is one of the most popular natural treatments for silverfish. Simply put, they cannot stand the smell. Putting cinnamon sticks in places in which you expect them to appear can prove to be a useful deterrent. Grounded cinnamon in a very tiny bag can also work, but cinnamon was better.
Lavender oil: Mixing 1 teaspoon with water, place your creation in a spray bottle. You can then use this spray on the places you find silverfish.
Mothballs: If you find silverfish in your boxes, or if they are starting to destroy your linens, mothballs are going to be the way to go. You will want to place these around the clothing and boxes that you are the most concerned with.
Citrus spray: This is a product that is specifically designed to kill silverfish. You can find these items in hardware stores or similar spaces. Make sure to follow all of the directions for use carefully.
Homemade glass trap: If you have minimal resources to work with, this might be a good solution for you to try. A quart-sized mason jar or similar glass container is what you’ll need to get started. You will then have the exterior of your mason jar wrapped in masking tape. Placing a small chunk of bread at the bottom of the glass is the next step. Now, leave this glass in places in which you know silverfish exist. You’ll want to make certain you have tape wrapped all the way to the top of the mason jar. You have now made the glass to slippery. The silverfish will have the ability to get in, but they will not have the ability to get out! Set the trap out at night.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can deal with silverfish. However, you are going to find that there are even more methods to consider.

A Few More Ways To Deal With Silverfish

Image Title Catch a Silverfish

Image Credit: Larah McElroy

If you want to have a few more weapons against silverfish in your arsenal, here are a few more things you can attempt:

Any sticky traps: At the end of the day, just about any store-bought sticky trap can be effective against silverfish. This even includes roach motels.
Diatomaceous Earth: Make sure you wear a mask while distributing this powdery product, as it can irritate the lungs. Putting this stuff in cabinets, along your baseboard, or anywhere else can kill just about anything that moves. Have it vacuumed up the next morning (3).
Cucumber: This is one that might surprise you, but it is a possibility that is well worth trying nonetheless. Cutting up big, thick slices, you’ll want to place your cucumber in the offending areas. If you go this route, remember to have the cucumber replaced as it dries out. If you fail to do this, the cucumber is not going to be as effective.
Boric acid: This is another popular option. A nice thing about boric acid is that it not only kills the silverfish, but it wipes out the eggs, as well.
Chemical sprays that feature pyrethrin: All you need to do with one of these chemical sprays is have it sprayed along your baseboards and your cracks. Really, you can use one of these sprays in any location in which silverfish are known to exist. This is a toxic option, so keep that in mind. At the very least, do not spray this product in your kitchen, or in any other location in which you prepare food. Furthermore, do not spray in places in which children and/or pets are known to play.

In terms of silverfish prevention, there are several things you can do. A good humidifier is a great way to control the conditions of your home. In turn, you will be able to control the conditions for silverfish. You can also have all of the cracks and similar items in your home sealed up with caulk. Dark, dampened cracks and crevices are ideal breeding ground for silverfish. Caulking up these areas destroys places in which they can live.

You can also accomplish a lot by cleaning up dirty laundry, keeping stacks of books from off the floor, and trying to avoid having anything that might qualify as silverfish food on the floor. Replace old wallpaper. Use plastic bags and containers for clothing and food.

Do I Need An Exterminator?

For severe infestations, yes. For minor ones, consider the ideas mentioned above. Professionals can also provide you with additional tips.

References:

(1): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverfish
(2): https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/node/108685

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