Is any pest more unwelcome than the silverfish? These scaly creatures love to enter homes, offices, and other structures, searching for food, water, and mating spaces.
Here’s a closer look at what silverfish look like, the type of damage they can cause, and tips for keeping them out of your residential or commercial location.
Silverfish: An Overview
Silverfish are flat, long insects with six legs, two antennae, and three long appendages that extend from their abdomen. Adults reach up to 3/4″ in length. Silver or brown scales cover their bodies, which gives them a shiny, almost metallic appearance.
They’re relatively common across the country and around the world. Silverfish will seek out locations with high humidity (upwards of 75%) and hot temperatures (70° and above). They’re nocturnal and prefer low-level areas such as basements over higher places like attics.
Silverfish rarely bite people and typically try to stay away from busy areas, but they can cause a lot of destruction. They love to eat book bindings, fabrics, cardboard packaging, photos, wallpaper, and much more.
Why Silverfish Enter Homes
Silverfish enter homes and other buildings, searching for food, water, and places to mate. They prefer to breed in the dark, and they need hot and humid areas to live in, so they’re commonly found in:
- Storage areas (especially ones with lots of papers)
They’re voracious eaters who prefer to eat foods and materials with a high starch, sugar, and protein level.
Signs of Infestation
Signs of an infestation are often indirect. When they molt, they leave behind a pile of yellow dust. Other signs of infestation include feces, which are round and black, and shed skin, which looks like small, silver scales.
Silverfish are solitary creatures, so you might not necessarily have an infestation if you see just one. However, if you see multiple insects, they’ve likely taken up residence.
You can also identify a silverfish infestation by the damage these pests leave behind. They’ll chew through book bindings, wallpaper paste, and other adhesives commonly found on papers.
Even if you don’t find chew marks on the paper, signs of silverfish include pages that fall out of books and wallpaper that peels from the wall.
Aside from structural and property damage, silverfish can sometimes harm people. As mentioned earlier, silverfish rarely bite, but it does occasionally happen, most often if they encounter someone sleeping.
Additionally, some people are allergic to silverfish and can develop respiratory issues if they live somewhere with an infestation.
Solutions for a Silverfish Infestation
A few simple strategies can help prevent silverfish from entering your residential or commercial location.
First, you’ll want to make the area as uninviting to silverfish as possible. Keep the site free from crumbs, dirt, and other potential food. Also, you’ll want to fix any leaks or other sources of water.
Throwing out magazines, books, and papers is another critical step in preventing a silverfish infestation. Any documents in the basement, attic, or other dark, out-of-the-way locations are incredibly enticing to these pests.
Along with papers, silverfish are also drawn to fabric, so you’ll want to toss out any old clothes, blankets, and similar material. Store paper and fabric that you want to keep in sealed plastic or glass containers.
Silverfish aren’t always easy to identify and remove. If you spot any signs of an infestation, you’ll want to contact a professional pest removal company, such as the specialists at SOS Exterminators.
Silverfish extermination typically involves either pyrethrins or diatomaceous earth, two drying agents that only pest control professionals should apply. Additionally, a pest control company will target existing silverfish and implement strategies to prevent their return.
Contact an exterminator today if you’d like to schedule a free silverfish inspection at your home or office and learn more about how they can help you.