Silverfish are bluish-silver in color, which is where it gets its part of its name. These long and slender insects can grow to be up to 11mm in length. They tend to be especially unsettling to find in the home, and this is largely due to their appearance. Silverfish have two antennae, three bristles on the rear, and three legs on either side. These appendages cause homeowners to occasionally confuse silverfish with centipedes or firebrats.
One of the biggest obstacles to ridding a home of a silverfish infestation is the fact that they can reproduce rapidly. Female silverfish can lay multiple eggs daily, allowing an untreated infestation to multiple exponentially in a short amount of time. Reproduction and the development of eggs can happen in any environment, but progresses the fastest when it is warm and humid. Eggs hatch into fully formed silverfish that continue to grow in size as they reach maturity.
Feeding and Behaviors
Silverfish can survive in most climates, but they thrive in damp, dark areas of the home. These include basements, attics, kitchens, and bathrooms. Silverfish are attracted to paper and clothing, partly for habitat and partly as a food source. Silverfish feed on simply sugars and starches. This can come from cardboard boxes, glue from book bindings or packaging, and even linens. Silverfish are nocturnal and may scatter if a light is turned on or if their hiding place is disturbed. Silverfish move quickly in a back-and-forth swishing motion (similar to a fish – hence the latter half of its name).
Signs of a Silverfish Infestation
The most common sign of an infestation is finding silverfish in the home. Homeowners typically find silverfish in a sink, bathtub, or along the perimeter of a countertop. Another sign of silverfish is feeding damage. Evidence includes holes in papers and clothing. This is also accompanied by tiny feces, the size and appearance of grains of pepper.
Silverfish are small enough to easily pass through any crack and crevice to infiltrate a home. Homeowners can deter this by keeping debris, leaf piles, and other dead organic matter from piling up near the out walls of the home. These are popular nesting conditions for silverfish. As with many types of intruding insects, spraying a residual insecticide around the perimeter of the home will also keep silverfish from entering the home.
The best way to prevent silverfish in your home is to keep conditions as unappealing as possible. Since they prefer areas of high humidity, run a dehumidifier in the basement, and keep areas well ventilated to reduce moisture and condensation build-up. Also, try to keep potential feeding areas such as old paperwork and boxes to a minimum. There are some preventative powder insecticides and all natural remedies that may be helpful in controlling silverfish population, but to eliminate the infestation entirely will require the assistance of an insect control professional.
Why is it important to eliminate silverfish?
The good news is that silverfish do not pose any major health risks like cockroaches, and will not cause damage to your home like termites. Regardless, an infestation needs to be treated by a professional immediately. Silverfish can ruin papers, photographs, clothing, and wallpaper due to their insatiable feeding habits.
If you are noticing signs of silverfish in your home, we can help. Our professionals can assess the situation and determine the best approach for addressing the infestation. Contact us at the first sign of infestation.