Read about Silverfish infestation signs in homes. What causes silverfish in your house? How do I know that these bugs have infested my house?
Well, in this article, I will explore the signs to look out for in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, sinks, and bathtubs. By the end of the article, you will have a clearer understanding of how to do a silverfish infestation treatment.
What is a Silverfish (Silver bug)?
Silverfish, also known as a Silver bug is a filthy, disgusting, and slimy bug classified under the order Thysanura. These insects prefer dark places. They are nocturnal and usually roam around at night searching for food and water.
They have a flat body which makes it possible to hide by squeezing into small crevices and cracks during daytime.
Firebrats are also scientifically classified under the same order, and they look very similar by virtue of this classification.
In terms of physical features, Silverfish are wingless insects approximately half an inch in length but can grow to Â¾ an inch in some species.
They are shiny and silver in color with a flat body. Their shape and movement resemble that of the fish.
Ideally, the silver color and shape, and fish-like movement are the reason it is named â€˜Silverfishâ€™. Other features include three prominent tails at the back and their head has two long antennas.
Basically, these little buggers are not dangerous in the world. They are mostly a nuisance, but they pose little damage to your home.
Further to that, the natural fear of insects prompts people to take radical actions to get rid of Silverfish from their homes.
These bugs are a nuisance as they feed books, manuscripts, natural textiles, and wallpaper pastes. Unless you take action, these bugs are very unlikely to disappear from your home.
It is important to note the following things about Silverfish:
- They love cool, moist, and dark places
- Silver bugs love glue, paper, clothing, drywall, and starchy foods
- They do not cause or transmit diseases
- Silverfish do not bite humans
- They cannot cause extensive damage
How to Identify Silverfish
Physical features and biological classification are the basis for identifying many insect species.
Other components that can be used include behaviors, living conditions, and foods they feed on among other characteristics.
In terms of behaviors, Silverfish are nocturnal pests, and because of these, they usually roam at night and tend to hide during the daytime.
In terms of physical features, Silver bugs:
- Are shiny-silver in color and half an inch average length
- They have the shape and movement of a fish
- They have fish-carrot shaped flat body
- They have two long antennas on their head and three tails on the rear.
- Adults and large nymphs have scales
If you come across an insect with these features in a moist and warm environment in your home and preferably dark areas, they are likely to be Silver bugs.
These culprits can also be identified by their scales beneath and around damaged items in your house.
Similarity with Firebrats
Silverfish and firebrats are similar in many respects from biological classification, shape and behaviors, and also living areas. They are both commonly found in homes in damp, dark, and cool areas.
The integrated pest management department of the University of California has identified and distinguished Silverfish and Firebrats using two common species found in the United States.
Accordingly, Lepisma saccharina is a common species of Silverfish with silver, pearl gray, or shiny color and half an inch long, but can also grow up Â¾ an inch in length.
Similarly, a common firebrat species- Thermobia Domestica has a shiny, grayish, and brown color and also half an inch in length.
Both species are wingless and have slender soft bodies with long antennas. Their body taper/diminish steadily from the head toward the rear-ending with 3 long tail appendages.
You will also find scales on large nymphs and adults. These similarities are summarized in bullets:
- They both belong to a primitive insect order- Thysanura
- They are marked by fish or carrot-shaped flat bodies
- Adults have two long slender antennas on their heads.
- They are wingless, slender, and soft-bodied pests
Where do silverfish come from?
Silverfish come from a natural environment that is conducive for their survival- preferably moist, cool and dark environment and they also feed on molds and starchy foods.
They can be typically found virtually anywhere with humid, cool, and dark conditions with moderate temperatures of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The environment should also have good sources of food, and will always remain and thrive until the food is exhausted or removed.
Where do silver bugs live?
Common habitats for Silverfish are:
- Kitchens Sinks
- Laundry rooms
You are likely to find them in bathtubs, under the sinks, bookcases, storage boxes, old stacks of papers, behind wallpapers, baseboards, door and window frames, wall voids, and on closet shelves.
What is a Silverfish Infestation?
A silverfish infestation refers to the invasion of these bugs into your home. Certain conditions within your home facilitate silverfish indoor infestation.
These filthy insects will invade your house if you provide them with a conducive environment to thrive.
Severe infestation can be difficult to control. Therefore, taking early precautions will help you to get rid of them without much effort.
Note that elimination of silverfish from your home will even tougher if it takes longer to notice an infestation.
You also need to understand that silverfish will never disappear from your on themselves unless predators like earwig and spiders eat them. Otherwise, you have to take action.
Therefore, the sooner you notice them and get to work of killing them the better for you.
How many Silverfish is an Infestation?
Infestation of silverfish is no different from infestation by other insects. Even a small number of silverfish or the presence of eggs is considered a silverfish infestation.
Note that these insects are particularly shy and will always hide, making it difficult to notice an infestation of silverfish. However, silverfish infestation can be a low, moderate, and severe infestation.
The degree of infestation varies with their population; where severe infestation entails a large thriving population of silverfish.
Moderate infestation is much lower in number than severe infestation but is characterized by a higher population of insects than in low infestation.
The presence of silverfish eggs is a clear indication of a thriving population of these bugs.
Causes of Silverfish infestation
Infestation of silverfish can be embarrassing and annoying. I believe some of you might have been embarrassed wearing torn clothes unaware of finding yellowish stains around your fabrics for all to see.
You donâ€™t have to worry, you are not alone. Silverfish infestation is caused by three main factors namely:
1. Living Conditions
Silverfish will never come to your house without reason. And this is basically why not every home is suitable habitat for silverfish.
Moist, warm, and dark conditions are the reason behind silverfish infestation in your home. Dampness in your bathroom, kitchen sinks, laundry room, behind cupboards, and below the fridge is ideal for their survival.
Ideally, warm areas with excess waters offer excellent conditions for these bugs. It is necessary that you take action to dry up moisture in these areas and also minimize darkness through ventilation.
You also need to fill up cracks and holes near damp areas – they provide ideal hiding habitats for silverfish.
2. Access to food
Denying them access to food and water will starve these insects to death. These little creatures love all kinds of foods from cereals to corn foods as well as bookbinding glue and papers.
They also feed on some fabrics especially linen and cotton garments.
If you are fond of leaving around these food sources lying around your home, then you are inviting these bugs into the home.
You have to fix the problem before you can even imagine killing these bugs. Otherwise, their offspring will survive on these staff after hatching from concealed eggs.
3. Easy access to your home
These insects occur naturally in the wild and would only gain entry into homes when they find an easy way in, and would thrive if the conditions are favorable. You can prevent entry by closing possible entrances to your home.
Signs of Silverfish Infestation
To say the truth, spotting a living insect is a sign of infestation, and this is no different for silver bugs. However, be cautioned that silverfish may be easily noticed since they love to hide in dark places.
However, the following signs and symptoms will provide a clue on whether you have a silverfish problem in your home.
Presence of Silverfish damages
The following signs could give an indication of silverfish infestation in your home.
- Presence of silverfish holes in your fabrics and paper products
- Presence of floating bugs with silverfish features in your groceries
- Presence of yellowish dust left behind on surfaces as the molts
Presence of Silverfish Droppings
Although it can be disgusting to look out for a fecal matter of insects, this can help you to notice possible silverfish infestation. Presence of pellets or peppercorns spherical dark deposits is a sign of these insects in your home.
You are likely to notice these droppings in boxes, food bags, and cupboards. Poops can also be found cunningly hidden in between the papers and books pages.
Get Rid of Silverfish Naturally (Physically)
Even though they are less harmful, Silverfish can be a nuisance.
Besides the natural fear of insects by human beings, these insects can cause little damage to your books and manuscripts, foods and clothing with their excrement, and also in search of something to eat.
For these reasons, people are prompted to take up radical measures to eradicate these disgusting pests from their presence.
Therefore, the most fundamental question is: what kills silverfish naturally? You can use a number of methods to get rid of Silverfish physically from your home and office.
Home remedies on how to go about to successfully get rid of silverfish naturally are explained as follows:
1. Reduce humidity
This little bug thrives in a humid, cool, and dark environment. According to James Norton, a renowned Pest Control expert in London, denying them these favorable conditions will definitely hamper their survival.
This can be achieved using a dehumidifier in damp basements, ventilating your bathroom, and seal up leaking pipes in your home.
In order to keep out the weather, you need to seal up exterior cracks using things like caulk. You also need to clear downpours and gutters to ensure the smooth running of water down and away.
2. Sealing up foods
Seal all dry foods like pasta, cereal, flour, quinoa, sugar, and pet foods in an airtight and sturdy container. This helps to prevent access of Silverfish to food sources that are essential for their sustenance.
This will also protect your favorite cereal and other foods from being damaged by these squirming bugs.
3. Clearing the cutter
Silver bugs prefer dark places and tend to hide in crevices and cracks. They also love feasting upon old magazines and papers as well as books and starchy substances.
In this regard, clearing your room off pieces of paper and starchy materials could help you get rid of Silverfish.
Always get rid of such unused stuff and store them in airtight bins, particularly for bins kept in the attic or the basement.
4. Apply essential oils
After completing the above precautionary measures, you can also use essential oils to up your game.
Jane Clark, a pest control expert from the UK-based Panther Pest Control advises that lavender, citrus, cedar, cinnamon, and basil smells can be used to repel Silverfish thus preventing them from spreading.
All you need to do is to fill your spray bottle with vodka or distilled water with about 25 drops of essential oil.
Proceed and spray the contents around kitchen sinks, bathroom areas, and baseboards and any other place infested by Silverfish.
Keeping your clothes tucked with cinnamon sticks in your drawers and storing them with dried lavender sachets will keep them away.
Traps may also be used to trap these insects if the above approaches fail to get rid of Silver bugs from your vicinity. Small packets like the Dekko Silverfish Packs brand can be used to trap and poison these squirming bugs.
These packs contain boric acids and natural pesticides among other borax ingredients. You can hide this pack in areas like dressers, bookshelves, and desk drawers, as well as below the kitchen sink, attic, and basement.
6. Using Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth (aka DE) powder destroys the outer waxy covering of the insect thus dehydrating the insect to death. DE contains diatoms from fossilized remains of algae.
Sprinkle this powder around places commonly infested with Silverfish.
This should be done in the evening and for a number of nights in a row. As nocturnal creatures, Silverfish roams at night in darkness will come in contact with DE.
Remember you can always buy DE from the nearest retail store or from online stores such as Amazon.
Natural & Non-Chemical Silverfish Killers
1. Baits and Silverfish Traps
These traps are safe and cheap. They are natural approaches used to eradicate silverfish. Note that sticky traps are effective in trapping insects and can be purchased from your local hardware stores.
Moist cotton and starchy foods are placed in these traps as bait to attract silverfish. The trap mechanisms do not allow insects to get out once inside.
2. Newspaper Traps
Moisten and rolled-up newspapers can also be used as homemade traps. Tie them with elastics and place them in areas inhabited by silverfish overnight to trap insects.
You can burn the newspaper full of insects in the morning. Repeat this procedure until you get rid of insects from your home.
3. Jar or Glass Container
You can also use glass or a jar as a trap for silverfish. Use masking tape to cover the container. Fill it with sugary water or place a piece of bread in the container to act as bait.
This trap is then placed in common places where silverfish roam at night. These insects will climb the masking thereby falling into the container.
They will die in the process since they will not be able to climb the slick slides to escape from the trap.
Cucumbers also have a repellant smell for silverfish. Cut them into small pieces and place them in their hiding environment. Remember to replace these cucumber slices as they become dry.
5. Cedar Pieces
These also work like cucumbers and using some pieces or shavings will help you get rid of Silver bugs.
Get Rid of Silverfish Using Chemicals
Sometimes insecticides can be used to get rid of Silverfish from your office and home. Applying residual insecticide in areas where Silverfish thrive can help to kill and get rid of them from your home.
The commonly used product is Orange Guard Silverfish Control spray which can be safely sprayed in all areas.
However, note that insecticides are harmful, therefore keep children and pets away from treated areas for 1-4 hours to allow the spray to dry.
Re-apply the spray after one month to totally get rid of silver bugs.
Silverfish Bugs Exterminators & Killers
#1 Citrus Sprays
These are manufactured but smells like citrus. These sprays have a repellent scent for keeping away Silverfish from your home. Spray the solution in areas inhabited by these insects.
As explained earlier, Diatomaceous Earth contains diatoms from fossilized remains of algae. It works by dissolving the waxy coating of these insects.
This action dehydrates the insect to death. It is an efficient substance that kills insects as they walk on it and is also not harmful to people and animals.
#3 Lavender oil
Lavender oil has to repel smell that keeps silver bugs away from your home and office. This method has proved effective in getting rid of these pests.
The process of mixing is explained earlier in this article the â€˜under get rid of silverfish naturally.
Silverfish cannot bear the smell of mothballs. Placing them in areas where they live will chase them away.
Silverfish in Bed and Bedroom
Even though silverfish love moist areas like drains, basements, and sinks, their feeding habit takes them all over the house, including the bedroom.
They love feasting on linen and cotton fabrics, and these make your beddings an ideal source of food for these insects.
They also love hiding in dark places, hence poor ventilation in the bedroom is also an ideal habitat for silverfish.
Having silverfish in your bed and bedroom can raise anxiety and fear. The sight of these insects as they scamper for safety to avoid light can be too scarring. They also cause damages to your beddings, drapes, and curtains.
These insects will punch holes in bed linens, draperies, curtains, and clothing in your bed and bedroom as they go about feeding.
Silverfish in Bathroom & Control
Silverfish love moist places and the bathroom offers them an ideal condition to thrive. They also hide in crevices and cracks and only come out at night to feed on starchy foods, fabrics, and paper products.
These pests can overrun your bedroom if indeed it has an ideal environment for them to thrive.
You can control silverfish infestation by filling all holes in bathroom walls, floors, skirting boards, and around taps.
Proper ventilation of the bathroom during and after taking a shower by way of extractor fans and opening windows can be helpful. Avoid leaving wet towels and clothes in your bathroom because they provide them with good habitats.
Silverfish in Kitchen & Control
Kitchen cupboards and sinks offer a conducive environment for silverfish to live and breed due to two main reasons.
- First, the kitchen provides them with moist, humid, and warm conditions.
- Secondly, they can easily access starchy foods like flour, cereals, and grains stored in the kitchen cupboard.
Eliminating silverfish from your kitchen can be challenging because most pesticides for their removal are harmful and inappropriate for use in the kitchen.
They are toxic to your foods and utensils. But you need to get rid of excess and standing water from your kitchen. Keep areas under the sink clean and dry, and take out the garbage on regular basis.
How to Stop Silverfish Infestation
Since removing silverfish from your home after infestation can be difficult, you can prevent them from entering your home without much effort.
In line with recommendations of the Department of Entomology at Penn, a number of measures can be used to prevent silverfish infestation in homes.
- Reducing sources of foods by keeping cereals, portions of pasta, meal leftovers, flours, pet foods and treats out of reach by these insects. Regular vacuuming of carpets, furniture, and flooring can stop the entry of these insects.
- Reducing water sources using dehumidifiers in moist basements and keeping exterior areas well painted and caulked. Clear all debris from downspouts and gutters and grade landscaping to facilitate the draining of water from your home.
- Reducing harborages such as gaps and holes in floors and walls and filling up cracks and crevices where they seek refuge.
- Repellents can also be used to keep away these creepy insects from your home.
Are Silverfish bugs harmless?
Yes, Silverfish bugs are harmless either to both animals or humans. They belong to arthropods which do not cause or transmit diseases in humans and animals.
Silverfish Bug Bites
These insects are known to bite papers, fabrics, and cereals as they feed on them. This is evident with irregular holes they create in these items. However, silverfish bugs do not bite humans and animals.
Damage caused by Silverfish Infestation
Those people who have been infested with these creepy insects understand how nuisance it can become. Even though it is not dangerous to humans and animals, the silver bug can cause some damage to your home
- First, silverfish punch holes in your fabrics and paper products
- Secondly, silverfish can contaminate your groceries through their excretion
- Thirdly, silver bug scales left behind on surfaces can cause allergy especially to people with respiratory illnesses like asthma.
READ MORE: Silverfish life cycle and common life span.