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Where Do Silverfish Come From?

where do silverfish come from

There’s just something about silverfish that make people’s skin crawl. It could be the animal’s prehistoric appearance, with segmented bodies and long legs and antennae. Or maybe it’s the fact that they tend to show up inside our favorite books or on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night. Whatever it is, for some people these small insects are the stuff of nightmares.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what these little creatures are, where silverfish come from and how to get rid of them safely.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) are small, wingless insects. These creatures typically live for two to eight years, and they get their name from their silvery color and the way the wiggle like a fish out of water. They have long antennae and generally don’t get bigger than ¾ of an inch long.

Do Silverfish Bite?

Surprisingly, despite their over-the-top creepy appearance, silverfish are mostly harmless. Silverfish don’t bite, and they are not carriers of disease, so they aren’t a danger to you, your family, or your pets.

Silverfish like to eat starchy foods, and open containers of flour and other dry goods will attract them. They also love to eat fabric, paper, cardboard and glue.

Where Do Silverfish Hide And What Damage Do They Do?

Silverfish love dark and damp places. They often live in bathrooms and kitchens as well as garages, basements and attics. You can sometimes find their nesting areas by looking for damp areas with tiny black droppings scattered around, or the empty shells where they have shed their skins.

In your closet, you might find small holes in clothing or yellow stains, since silverfish eat wool, cotton, silk and rayon-based fabric. Since silverfish like to eat paper products, these pests are a threat to books, important papers and clothing.

Where Do Silverfish Come From?

In their natural habitat, silverfish live in leaf litter and in other natural crevices, such as under rocks and logs. Silverfish are attracted to dark and damp places, so this helps explain why they enter your home. Once they are inside, if they find food, they will stick around. Since silverfish are great at hiding and can live a relatively long time, it’s easy for the population to grow inside of your house without your realizing it.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

If you’ve found silverfish in your home, there’s no need to panic. There are a number of easy and non-toxic solutions to getting rid of these creepy crawlies.

  • Make a silverfish trap. Cover the outside of a smooth jar (a mayonnaise or pickle container is ideal) with masking tape, and put a small piece of bread in the jar. Silverfish will climb up the tape on the outside and fall into the jar, and because they cannot climb the slippery glass on the inside, they will be trapped. WikiHow has more instructions on making these traps.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your pantry and behind appliances, as well as under your bathroom and kitchen sink. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder made from fossilized creatures, and the powder gets into insects’ exoskeletons and kills them. At the same time, it’s completely safe for pets and people. You can leave it in out-of-the-way places or vacuum it up in a couple of days.
  • Try applying fresh cedar shavings in areas where you’ve found silverfish, such as garages and storage facilities, as well as in storage containers containing papers or clothing. You will need to replace the shavings every so often, so putting them in a stocking or small cloth sachet makes cleanup easier. You can also use cedar oil along baseboards and under the sink.
  • Use small sachets of bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, or other spices in your kitchen cabinet and closets. These repel silverfish, who can’t stand the smell.
  • Dehumidify your home. Because silverfish prefer damp areas, this will discourage them from setting up shop.
  • Fill cracks and crevices, especially in attics and basements.
  • Don’t leave paper products on the floor. Store all books on shelves, and keep cardboard boxes and packages of toilet paper off the floor. If you have file cabinets or boxes of papers, include a small sachet of spices in each box, and replace once a year.
  • Vacuum often. By cleaning up around the house, you will remove potential food sources as well as destroy silverfish eggs.
  • Keep dry goods (flour, cookies, cereals, etc.) in air-tight containers with tightly fitting lids.
  • Make a newspaper trap. Because silverfish love paper and moisture, these are ideal. Roll up a newspaper and secure both ends with rubber bands. Moisten the center, and leave out overnight in areas you have seen silverfish. In the morning, just throw the rolls away (or burn them) without unrolling them.

Need Help With Silverfish? Call Us

Are silverfish infestations driving you crazy? If our do-it-yourself ideas aren’t working, the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services would be happy to come out and inspect your home. We can identify the most likely places where silverfish might live, and help eradicate these insects once and for all.

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