Silverfish infestations are common in libraries and museums but can also be a nuisance in homes. In natural environments, silverfish are found in dark, damp areas including caves, ant nests, and under rocks and leaf litter. They enter homes in a number of different ways.
Although they are able to survive in multiple climates, they prefer places that are dark and damp such as attics, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. They may hide in boxes that have been stored in a damp shed or other location and could be carried into the house by accident.
What do silverfish look like?
These scaled insects have a distinctive long teardrop shape. They sport two long antennae on the head and three long feelers at the tail end. They are light gray or silver and grow to about 3/4 inch long.
Where do silverfish come from?
There are various ways in which you could end up with a silverfish infestation. Once you have been infested, it can be difficult to get rid of them because they can range widely in search of food and move quickly to a new hiding spot when disturbed. This makes it hard to find the source of the infestation.
So, where do silverfish come from?
Silverfish are often brought into homes in containers or books that have been stored in dark, damp areas such as sheds and garages. However, they are also attracted to dark, damp, secluded places such as basements, attics, or crawl spaces.
Because of their size, they can enter your home through small cracks in the foundation as well as through gaps in doors and windows and around pipes with relative ease.
Make sure to seal any cracks and crevices to reduce the risk of an infestation. Additionally, dirty dishes could also attract silverfish in search of food.
Can they cause health problems?
If you are concerned about silverfish causing health problems to humans and other animals, you can rest assured that they do not transmit diseases. They also do not bite or sting. However, they may cause allergies in some people. In addition, the allergens deposited by silverfish can combine with other household allergens to cause more severe reactions.
However, the major danger from silverfish is property damage, particularly books, wallpaper, and clothing. If there are a lot of silverfish in your property, the damage to paper and fabric can be quite extensive due directly to their chewing and indirectly to fungi that grows after insect damage.
Also worth bearing in mind is that silverfish can attract other pests to your home. For example, carpet beetles eat silverfish and may be attracted to the easy food source an infestation provides.
How can you tell if you have silverfish in the home?
Detecting silverfish can be difficult as they are nocturnal and hide during the day. If you disturb them (for example, by moving something they are hiding under), they will scurry very rapidly to a new hiding place. You may find some in your sinks or in the bathtub or shower.
If you don’t see the silverfish themselves, you may notice the damage that they are causing to books and clothing. They can also leave fecal matter that resembles grains of pepper around where they have been, so this is another sign to look out for.
If you think you may have a silverfish infestation, there are a few options for finding out. First, check bookcases, closets, attics, basements, laundry rooms, and under sinks for silverfish or signs of their presence. You can also try cockroach sticky traps and/or glass jars covered on the outside with masking tape. These traps will give you an idea of the severity of your infestation.
Taking action to prevent or eliminate an infestation
There are various steps that you can take to prevent an infestation of silverfish. First, make sure to control the humidity levels in your home. As mentioned, silverfish thrive in dampness. In addition, make sure to address any cracks or gaps in the foundation and around doors, windows, and pipes, as this will limit their entry to your home.
Make sure to check any containers you bring in, especially if they’re from a damp area. If you bring them in without first checking, you may not even notice the silverfish make a run for it – and if you do, they move so quickly that they’ll find a hiding place before you can stop them.
If you already have an infestation, you may need to contact pest control services to get this addressed. There are commercially available insecticides for silverfish.
However, dealing with this type of infestation can be difficult because of their tendency to move around, their nocturnal habits, and the speed with which they move. Therefore, handling the infestation yourself may not be as easy as it would be with another type of pest.
You can also find or make silverfish traps. One thing to remember about traps and insecticides is that they don’t treat the reasons for the problem. If your home provides adequate habitat for silverfish and they can easily get in, they will continue to be an issue even with traps.