Although silverfish is harmless to human body, it is not pleasant to have this pest around the house. This bug damage certain household goods and can be found in the damp areas of the house. Similar to other bugs, silverfish reproduce very quickly and may be invisible until they do severe damages. This bug is nocturnal and is a fast runner so that it will be challenging to kill it by hands. Although often mistaken for poisonous centipedes, silverfish do not bite humans or animals. Instead, they feed on starchy things and are attracted to glue, book bindings, paper, sugar, flour, damp woods, and textiles. Despite being harmless to humans, silverfish do cause damages to those things and leave a yellow stain on the things it has eaten. Although not always easy to spot, silverfish infestation should be banished immediately to prevent further damages to the household. You might want to read on to find out how to get rid of silverfish infestation in your residence.
Checking for silverfish infestation
Silverfish are nocturnal creatures, so it is not easy and almost impossible to spot them during the day. However, these creatures may show you the sign of its preference by what they leave behind. To find these things, you need to consider checking it in the damp, humid areas in your house. You can also look for the infestation where you keep their possible food source in. Inside the rooms, you can check for silverfish infestation in your closets or drawers. These are the locations where you commonly keep your clothes and linen, which silverfish are attracted to. You might not find the creatures easily, but you can pay attention to its excrement which looks like black pepper. Try to find it around the closets or inside the drawers, just beneath the pile of linen. If you spot any yellow stain on the things such as cardboards, linen, clothes, wallpaper, books, and other fabric material, it may also be an indication that they are around. In addition, silverfish exoskeleton casts can also be a sign of their existence in the house. This cast is commonly tiny and see-through and can be found around the things or places they are inhibiting. This pest is attracted to dark, damp, or humid places. Thus, to check for its infestation, you may check the attics, basement, kitchen, storage, garage, or even bathrooms. If you suspect a silverfish cast in the attics, basement, or storage, you need to check the boxes or bags in which you keep old clothing, linen, paper, or books. If this cast is found in the bathroom or another damp, humid rooms, you might need to check the crevices and cracks in the walls, windows, flooring, or doors, as silverfish can easily get into the holes and cracks, and reside with the colonies.
How to get rid of silverfish
Getting rid of silverfish can be done in multiple ways. You can make traps for catching the bugs using simple things or you can buy a store-bought trap and perform the treatment by yourself. Kitchen ingredients can also help you in treating silverfish infestation at home. If you think that silverfish infestation in your house or basement has gone badly and you are not on a tight budget for getting rid of them, you can contact a professional bug exterminator for help. However, before spending a lot of money on those high-cost treatments, you might want to learn some simpler, less-expensive ways to get rid of silverfish from your living place.
DIY silverfish treatments
With a better knowledge about silverfish behavior, various things inside your house might be helpful in assisting you getting rid of this creature infestation. Some examples below might be useful and can be applied right away.
You will need a glass jar (any size of Mason jar will work) and a masking tape (or any other non-slippery adhesive tapes).
To make the trap, wrap the outside of the glass container with masking tape, and place a piece of any sugary baits at the bottom of the glass. You may use a piece of bread, a small amount of chocolate, sugar cube, or any other foods you find around the table.
Place this wrapped jar in the area where you spot the silverfish. This bug tends to build the nest as close as possible to its food source so that a food bait might possibly attract the entire colonies. Set the trap up at night, as silverfish is nocturnal. The bait will attract silverfish to climb into the jar but will make it impossible for climbing out since the jar side is too slippery. Dispose any trapped silverfish and replace the bait to re-use the jar trap.
You will need a newspaper, an elastic, water, a piece of bread or other baits, and a match.
To make the trap, put a piece of food in the middle on the newspaper and roll it up—the thicker the roll is the better. After that, wet the newspaper to make it moist. Place it in any places you suspected of having the silverfish infestation. Silverfish, which are seeking for foods and environment to live in will likely be attracted to crawl into the newspaper trap. Throw the newspaper away and burn it without unrolling it. Do this regularly every night to maximize the effect.
If you do not feel like making the traps by yourself, you can find any store-bought traps used for roaches. These sticky traps can be used together with food baits to trap the silverfish onto the sticky part. Dispose the traps and replace with another one when the silverfish are successfully caught.
Getting rid of silverfish using insecticides and repellents
Pyrethrin is a toxic substance which is produced from pyrethrin plants. This substance is effective for killing silverfish. You will need a bottle of powdered or liquid pyrethrin which can be purchased at any garden stores.
To kill silverfish, spray or sprinkle the chemical around the place where silverfish is suspected. The spray type is more effective since you can spray the chemical not only to visible spots but also inside the cracks and holes.
Boric acid has long been known as an effective chemical to kill silverfish. You can buy boric acid at insecticides or hardware stores. However, you have to be cautious when using the chemical to kill silverfish, as this can be toxic to humans and pets.
Getting rid of silverfish with the help of boric acid can be done by making a sticky trap with a bait and boric acid. To make this trap, you can use any adhesive tape and crackers as the bait. Before placing the bait cracker on the tape, sprinkle boric acid onto the cracker piece and place the sticky trap around the silverfish nests you can spot. Boric acid kills silverfish by drying out its body and kill it eventually. The good news is that boric acid is also effective to kill other kinds of roaches, such as cockroaches, termites, and ants.
Diatomaceous earth is derived from fossilized materials and is highly toxic to insects. This substance kills insects by puncturing the exoskeleton with its sharp edges, which can only be seen under the microscope. However, the material is non-toxic to humans and pets, so that it is safe to use almost anywhere in the house. To get this material, you can purchase a bag of this white grain powder in pesticide stores or even online.
To kill silverfish using boric acid, sprinkle it along baseboards, cabinets, bathtubs, or any humid places in which you spot any silverfish activities. After a couple of days, you can vacuum up the powder along with any dead silverfish. You can also wipe it using wet towels. Makes sure you are wearing a mask while sprinkling the powder.
Killing silverfish using natural home remedies
If you are a person who prefers organic methods of getting rid the home pests, killing silverfish using toxic chemicals may not suit you. However, this does not mean that you are unable to perform an action to get rid of these critters. There are, in fact, various more natural ingredients you can find around the house, especially in the kitchen, which can be used to perform silverfish extermination.
Silverfish is known to dislike spices and herbs because of the smell. Hence, this can be beneficial for us who prefer more organic methods of getting rid of silverfish and other home pests. You will need a small bag of spices (tea-bag-sized bag will be perfect) to perform the treatment. Any spices may work, but the most frequently used spices are cloves, cinnamon, vanilla pods, and potpourris. Strong smell of these ingredients repels various kinds of insect, including silverfish.
Do the treatment by placing bags of spices around the places where silverfish are suspected to reside. You can hang the bags if you found out that the insects are inhibiting woods or wallpaper. This natural remedy will keep your house scented while keeping the silverfish at the bay.
Lavender and basil
Lavender and basil are known as plants which can also work as insects repellents. You do not have to use the ingredients in the form of a living plant. Instead, you may use the essential oil form. These oils are non-toxic but can be disturbing for pets, so use it with caution around those.
To kill silverfish, you can dilute the essential oil into a part of fresh water and spray the mixture into the required places. This will work best for small or isolated spaces, such as drawers, cabinets, cupboards, wall cracks, and wallpaper backsides.
You might have never realized that table salt is essential for killing silverfish. In fact, this might be the easiest silverfish repellent you can find. Table salt is a dehydrating agent which kills silverfish and other moths by dehydrating the body.
To perform the action, sprinkle some table salt around silverfish nests. These creatures will eat the bait and die eventually from dehydration.
Preventing silverfish infestation
Silverfish infestation might not be too complicated to conquer, despite its quick reproduction and tendency to re-occur. However, with any home pests, prevention is the most effective treatment. This will keep any possible insects away and protect the house from damages. Read on to learn the ways to keep silverfish at the bay and away from your residence.
- Use a humidifier
Silverfish are attracted to places with 75 to 90% humidity. Therefore, lower this humidity into 50% will be beneficial in keeping the insect away. In the bathroom, basement, and utility rooms you can install an exhaust fan which eliminates excessive moisture that builds up over time. Ventilating isolated rooms, such as the attic is also important to deliver the humidity out.
- Keep the house clean
It is said that silverfish still occurs even in the cleanest houses. It is reasonable since these insects are not attracted to dirty places. Instead, they are attracted to places which serve the foods. Hence, removing the sources of foods may help to prevent silverfish infestation. Seal all foods in a tight, air-proof containers, clean any left food crumbs, clean up dirty laundry as soon as possible, and do not let a pile of paper sit on the damp floor or cardboards.
Vacuuming is not only getting rid of silverfish but also any other potential insect pests. Deep cleaning the house using a vacuum cleaner may help getting rid of existing silverfish and preventing re-infestation.
- Sealing off cracks and holes
Cracks and holes in the walls or floors can be used by silverfish as a hiding place to build a nest. Regularly check the house constructions and seal off these cracks to prevent insects from infesting. To do this, you can use a caulk, which is effective for covering either tiny or big wall, window, or door cracks.
- Repair damp wallpaper
Silverfish also tend to hide in the back side of wallpaper. If you notice that your wallpaper is getting damp or ruined, remove and replace it as soon as possible. If you notice some cracks on the walls, repair it first before you put the wallpaper back. You should also check any wooden frames, as silverfish might also hide behind the frames.
- Inspect the storages and basement regularly
You might keep old clothing, linens, paper, or books in the storage. Make sure you check these things regularly to initially encounter any infestation. You might also need to check the basement wooden foundation and ceilings since damp constructions also attract silverfish.