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Why Do You Get Silverfish in Your Home

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 by Panther Pest Control Team

Last Update: 18.07.2018

If you’ve got places in your home or office which are damp, humid and dark you’ll likely come across a misnamed pest called ‘Silverfish’. You’ll be surprised to know they aren’t fish nor are they coloured silver.

How and why do you get silverfish in your home?

Most of the time they are brought in with some type of luggage or boxes. And once they are inside your house it’s very easy for them to find food and a sweet spot to live and spread.

Perfect spots for them are moist and warm. Such as your basement or laundry room, larders, attics, bathrooms and kitchens, etc. They will live in cracks on the wall, especially if there’s wallpaper nearby they can feed on.

Their favourite food is starch, cellulose and sugar so they might turn up in books, wallpaper, carpets and food; such as coffee, sugar, pasta and other leftover food. They are a bluey, grey colour with a tapered body and no wings. And they are quite easy to spot even though they are only 1 to 2 cm long.

Facts about Silverfish

So if they’re not fish what are they? Insects of course. In fact, they are arthropods like cockroaches and crabs.

There are no health risks associated with this tiny little creature but it can sting. You’ll be mildly irritated but there are no long-term effects and the sting certainly isn’t fatal. Silverfish are relatively harmless but creepy and disturbing none the less.

They have been around for millions of years and have developed a method of reproduction that is unique. It’s called external reproduction and doesn’t need the male and female to come together in order to produce their young. Their populations can increase at an amazing rate.

Hiding Places and Signs of Infestation

Silverfish are found all over the globe, wherever the conditions suit them. Bathrooms and kitchens are most vulnerable to an infestation of this type because it’s damp and there are lots of crevices where they can make their home. Compared with mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches they do very little harm but can infer a poor standard of hygiene. Therefore it’s important to do everything you can to get them gone. You’ll find that they’re not shy creatures but do have a tendency to scuttle away when their hiding place is uncovered.

There are a couple of indicators to look for including moulted skin. And if you spot tiny holes in your clothes or paper, or yellow stains then they’ve definitely moved in on your home. Catching them individually using a glass is one method of removal but you might find it takes rather a long time. A more effective way is to call for the help of a pest control company who specialise in silverfish removal.

Problems related to silverfish in your home.

Silverfish can be the cause of another pest infestation.

Sometimes they are the cause of carpet beetles appearing in your home. But also they are food for spiders. And if you didn’t have spiders in your home before, you will most certainly have to deal with spiders too, if you have silverfish in your home.

Other natural predators of silverfish are centipedes and earwigs. So make sure you get rid of the silverfish before you end up with another type of pest in your home.

Damages to your belongings.

Silverfish love eating natural fibres which means that they might attack your clothes.

They can eat your wallpapers, files, books, cardboard boxes in which you store other items.

They might trigger allergies.

As we said, silverfish do not transmit diseases and are not threatening to people’s health in general. However, people with allergies or more susceptible to developing an allergy might have increased in symptoms.

Further Prevention Tips

  • In damp places such as bathrooms and kitchens seal up cracks and crevices using a filling material. There are several specialised products available which are toxic to insects. They will help keep silverfish away as well as kill those already present.
  • Try and cut down on the humidity in these rooms by installing vents and fans. It also helps to keep the bathroom door open while having a bath.
  • Keep the caps on your shampoo and shower products and clear up any spills. Surprisingly these kinds of products contain different types of carbohydrates which silverfish love.
  • Keep the walls of your bathroom and kitchen clean.

While not harmful it can still be quite stressful to discover the presence of silverfish in your property. An infestation of these little insects can also cause quite a lot of damage if they’re left unchecked. Following our advice should help you keep their numbers at a minimum but if things get out of hand better ask for professional assistance.

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