Picture this. You’re busy on the phone, when your child comes screaming to you about a weird looking creature on the sink. What do you do? Go to the bathroom and check what it is or simply continue with the conversation assuming that it’s a cockroach. What else could it be, right? We say go and check as your house could be serving as a haven for Silverfish.
Silverfish – What’s so Fishy about it?
When it comes to pest infestation in homes, silverfish are one of the most covert. In other words, one of the sneaky pests may be living in your home without you being aware of it. Their secretive nature helps them go undetected. And sometimes they are also mistaken as cockroaches.
These are slimy, wingless and tear drop shaped insects. They are brownish silver in color. It is their metallic appearance and fish-like movements that have earned them the name silverfish. They are broad at the front and tapered towards the rear. They also have long antennas and delicate scales. They might not be able to fly, but, they can run really fast.
Silverfish feed on glue, clothing, wallpaper and food items like oats and flour. They prefer meals rich in starch, proteins and sugar.
According to Texas A&M silverfish can live up to 8 long years. In addition, silverfish can thrive and breed in almost all environments. Some species of silverfish prefer to live in cooler climates while others prefer humid locations.
This is why silverfish infestations usually occur in damp and dark areas of your home like attics, basements, bathrooms and kitchens.
Once a female silverfish reaches adulthood, it can produce up to 2 to 20 eggs per day. The pests lay eggs in small cracks which normally hatch in 3 weeks. The juvenile silverfish is white in color and becomes silver when it grows into an adult silverfish.. A female silverfish can lay up to 100 eggs in her lifetime.
Signs of Silverfish Infestation
Here are tell-tale signs of silverfish infestation in your home:
- You spot them scurrying away in your bath tubs, bookcase shelves, laundry rooms and kitchen sinks especially when you switch on the lights.
- There are unexplained holes in your wall paper
- You find yellow stains and small holes in your clothing
- You spot droppings that look like black pepper
- It seems that somebody has chewed the pages of your books and also your boxes.
Do Silverfish Cause Any Harm?
Though silverfish are not disease carriers they can become a nuisance for you because of their destructive eating habits. Silverfish can contaminate food and damage your books, wall paper and antiquities.
Ways to Prevent and Control Silverfish Infestation in Your Home
Here are some tips to keep these pests away from your home and prevent them from gnawing on your valuables:
- Avoid keeping your old books and magazines in your basement, attic or garage.
- Consider a dehumidifier for your home as they love high humid areas. By using a dehumidifier you can control humidity and slow down their infestation. Silverfish nymphs develop faster in humid conditions.
- Always seal and pack your food items properly especially flour and sugar. Keep them in air tight jars and containers to avoid silverfish from gnawing and contaminating your food.
- If you have starched linens, seal them in plastic bags.
- Use caulking to seal crawl spaces and open vents.
- Keep your home clutter free.
- Fix leaky popes and clogged drains
- Vacuum around baseboards and cracks to remove their eggs.
- Use silverfish pest repellents if needed. If the population of silverfish in your home is uncontrollable, then you may want to try pest repellents. There is a huge variety of repellents available on the market in different forms such as sprays, mothballs and powder. These not only kill pests but their scent makes them repel. By using these repellents you can compel silverfish to relocate and find a different home to live. However, since these repellents and pesticides are made of strong chemicals they are toxic and dangerous; you must use them cautiously and keep children and pets away from these substances.