What do Silverfish Look Like?
Silverfish are appropriately named insects; their long silvery bodies move like a fish in the water, as they travel across walls and floors. They are small critters, growing to a maximum adult length of about 2.5 cm. They usually avoid the light and are found in dark and damp areas of the home. As they are found in dark places, many homeowners will be unaware of the amount of silverfish taking up residence in their home.
How will I know if I have a Silverfish Infestation?
With silverfish, it is easier to spot the effects of their living in your home, than it is to spot them themselves. They are attracted to paper, so you might find little holes or scrapes in paper products around the house, especially on wallpaper. They will also leave yellow stains on clothes, rugs and bedclothes made from synthetic fibres. Spotting their moulted skins is another way of discovering their presence.
Where do Silverfish Live?
Silverfish will often be found close to their favoured food supplies. Cereal boxes and other kitchen products containing sugar as well as starch are known to be popular with silverfish. In fact, their scientific name Lepisma saccharina is a reference to their love of sugar. They also have an attraction to glue and wallpaper paste, so any areas where these items are stored are possible locations for silverfish.
What Attracts Silverfish?
If you have a damp problem, it is likely that you have an accompanying silverfish problem. They love dark and damp areas, such as basements, but these are not the only conditions that attract silverfish. Rising humidity levels can attract them too; this is why they can often be found in poorly ventilated bathrooms. When their food sources become scarce they will often migrate to areas like the kitchen.
How to Get Rid of Silverfish?
Controlling silverfish can be a long drawn out process, it is best to be proactive in the process, by also fixing the problems that first attracted the silverfish to your home. There is no point in trying to get rid of silverfish is you still have damp areas, as they will continue to be attracted to those spots. When the damp has been fixed, dry the area using humidifiers.
Once the area is completely dry, there are two options for eradicating these insects. Liquid based insecticides like Insectaclear C, or the Insecto Bug Destroyer, will be the most effective method if the problem area is a bathroom which will be unavoidably damp at times.
If the area will remain dry, residual powder based insecticides like Agrodust are effective. These powders kill silverfish residually by covering the silverfish bodies and slowly dehydrating and desiccating them. Watch out for any cracks or narrow corners near the silverfish infestation; make sure to treat these with powder or spray because the silverfish will rest in these areas throughout the day. By following these steps, the silverfish population in your home will drop dramatically. Remaining silverfish can be treated using the spray when you see them.
As well as eradicating damp and treating the silverfish population directly with sprays and powders, it is also a good idea to reduce their food sources. Try to remove any paper products like newspapers, books or magazines from the home, or seal them in plastic bags that can be kept in the freezer for a minimum of four days to ensure the critters do not attempt to repopulate. If your silverfish infestation was mostly limited to clothes, have them laundered in a hot wash or dry cleaned, so as to kill off any remaining silverfish.