How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Anyone who has experienced a silverfish infestation knows these pests are a real nuisance. Besides the fact they’re pests, silverfish can cause considerable problems if they aren’t eradicated and prevented. If you don’t take the necessary steps to get rid of silverfish, the silverfish will continue to multiply and thrive while causing a great deal of damage in the process.

Damage Caused by Silverfish

Silverfish may look harmless, and they don’t bite or sting, but silverfish will eat anything high in starch such as paste, glue, wallpaper, book bindings, and some textiles. Silverfish will also get into flour, sugar, cereal, and other foods. These pests aren’t harmless because they can cause a great deal of damage and contaminate food if you don’t get rid of them and take steps to prevent further infestation.

Places Silverfish Thrive

Silverfish thrive in damp, cool locations. These destructive insects love homes with moist crawlspaces and basements, and well-shaded homes are their preference. These insects can be found under carpets, in closets, under dark, damp sinks, and in clothing.

I previously lived in a home with a damp crawlspace, and I was occasionally surprised by silverfish. A lot adjacent to mine frequently flooded, and my home was surrounded by large shade trees. In addition, sweaty water softener pipes caused the floor of a closet to become quite damp. Homes with dark, damp conditions such as this are havens for silverfish.

If silverfish have invaded your home, you won’t have to look long to find them. Check dark closets, damp corners, and around books and fabrics. Although these insects thrive in these types of locations, they sometimes end up outside their comfort zone. I frequently found silverfish in the bathroom sink and along baseboards, but I never noticed more than one at a time. These insects are elusive, and if you’ve noticed one, there are probably more silverfish in your home than you realize.

Identifying Silverfish

As the name suggests, silverfish are silver in color, and they look somewhat shiny. They appear to be covered with powder similar to the powder found on the wings of a moth, however, these insects don’t have wings. They are about one-fourth of an inch long. Silverfish are wider near the head, and their bodies taper to a point. Silver fish have slender antennae, and they have what appears to be three antennae-like tails.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

If you have discovered silverfish in your home, don’t panic. You can get rid of silverfish before they cause serious damage to wallpaper, fabrics, carpeting, and your food supply. Since silverfish like damp places, the most obvious solution to get rid of or prevent silverfish is drying damp areas. Consider running a dehumidifier in an effort to reduce dampness.

If you don’t have kids or pets, you can dust areas of infestation with 2 percent diazinon powder. Simply sprinkle diazinon powder in cracks along baseboards, behind book shelves, and anywhere else silverfish might be hiding.

Insecticide spray containing 2 percent malathion or 1 percent methoxychlor can be applied in cracks along baseboards, closets, windows, and doors. Also pay careful attention to areas where books or clothes are stored. Don’t allow pets or children into areas where insecticide spray is wet, and never use insecticide in areas where food is stored.

Vacuuming often is also a helpful way to get rid of silverfish. Silverfish are soft-bodied insects, and vacuuming often, especially around cracks in baseboards, is an effective way to get rid of them. In addition to vacuuming frequently, clean storage locations, especially areas where books and fabrics are kept.

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