Silverfish are book lovers, but not the good kind. They feast on the glues often found in the binding of books and enjoy damp habitats such as kitchens and bathrooms. Silverfish are secretive little pests and multiply at an alarming rate, meaning infestations often go unnoticed until they’ve caused irreparable damage. We’ve put together a fact sheet about these crafty fellows to prevent them from destroying your home!
How to identify silverfish
Silverfish are small and congregate in dark areas, making them difficult to find. However, when one is spotted, they are easy to identify by their unique appearance. Silverfish are wingless insects with a greyish-silver shell. They have long antennae and tails – and move gracefully and quickly like a fish in water. They range from 12 to 19mm in length and can live for up to nine years!
Why silverfish are terrible housemates
Silverfish are nocturnal and will avoid light. They don’t make noise but do leave a trail of destruction in their wake that can go unseen for a long time. They feed on sugars and starches, many of which can be found in shampoo, glues holding together books, cereal boxes, record covers, linen and silk. They especially like hanging out in the forgotten cardboard boxes piled up in your garage because these tick all of the boxes for their favourite things: damp, dark and starchy – yum!
How do you know if you have a silverfish problem?
Aside from actually seeing one of these critters scampering around, you can tell if you have a silverfish problem by inspecting the dry goods and packaging in your home. Silverfish tend to leave holes and yellow stains on the items that they eat. So if you pick your favourite book off the shelf and can’t get past the first sentence because there are suspicious looking holes in the pages, this is a telltale sign! Silverfish excrement looks like teeny tiny mouse droppings and can be found on clothing or around where they forage.
How to prevent silverfish
One of the most important aspects of preventing a silverfish infestation is to control the humidity and moisture in your home. Here are a few tips for keeping these critters at bay:
Ensure your bathroom and kitchen are properly ventilated
Wipe over your sink after use to avoid puddles of water forming
Keep dry food such as cereal in tupperware containers with tight seals rather than their original cardboard boxes
Store all excess items in your garage in sealed plastic tubs rather than cardboard boxes
Don’t leave piles of mail or newspapers lying around
Invest in bookcases with glass doors
Seal cracks and crevices silverfish could enter your home through, or lay eggs in
How to get rid of silverfish
If you find yourself with a silverfish problem, it’s best to call a professional to take care of it so that these pests will be gone for good! Cure All implement liquid spray alongside insecticidal dust, covering entry points, skirting boards and cupboards. These products have been extensively tested and are not harmful to humans.
Depending on its degree of seriousness, you may be able to use some DIY solutions to get rid of them. Reportedly they don’t like cedar or cinnamon and will avoid this if spread around entry points, however, it will not kill them or their eggs.