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How to Get Rid of Silverfish


It’s early morning, and you stumble to the bathroom. In the half-light of dawn, you notice something long, skinny, and shiny on the floor near the bathtub. Suddenly, it flicks its tail and your stomach lurches. 

You’ve just spotted a silverfish.

Before you contemplate how to tear your entire house down, take a deep breath. While these are some of the ickiest insects on the planet, they’re more of a nuisance than anything else. Plus, they’re relatively easy to remove.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at these pests and sharing how to get rid of silverfish so you can reclaim your home in confidence!

What Are Silverfish? 

As their name implies, silverfish are silver-colored insects that have fine scales, three tail projections, and two long antennae. Their bodies are long, flat, and oval-shaped. These features give the insects the appearance of tiny, narrow fish. 

Adult silverfish are a little under one inch long. Once females reach this stage, they’ll start laying eggs in every crack or crevice they can find. The egg typically hatch after three weeks, and it only takes four to six weeks for young nymphs to reach adulthood.  

These insects love to hide in the dark, damp corners of your home, out of direct sunlight. If you happen to move an item they’re hiding beneath, they’ll quickly scurry out and seek another hiding spot. They need a good amount of humidity to survive, but if conditions are right they can live up to eight years or longer!

That’s why it’s important to take action if you suspect you might have a silverfish infestation. Next, let’s look at a few telltale signs that these pests are lurking in your home. 

Where to Look For Them

Wondering if you’re dealing with just one rogue silverfish or an entire family of them? First, it’s important to know their most common hiding spots. Some of the top places you might find them include:

  • Basements
  • Bathrooms
  • Bathtubs
  • Attics
  • Pantrys
  • Closet shelves
  • Bookcases
  • Behind windows
  • Behind baseboards
  • Behind door frames
  • Cabinets and drawers

Most of the time, silverfish move into an area to find food. While they’ll love to devour the dry goods in your pantry (flour, cereal, dried meats, rolled oats), they aren’t too picky and will also start nibbling on paper, cardboard, and any other starchy materials they can find. They can even feast on the books in your bookcases!

Signs of an Infestation

If silverfish are taking up residence in your home, there are a few key signs to look for. These include:

  • Feces (small, black dots that resemble peppercorns)
  • Urine (yellow stains or yellow dust on your belongings)
  • Discarded skin (opaque-looking with a metallic tint)
  • Holes (usually in paper materials such as magazines, books, magazines, and wallpaper) 
  • Sightings (actual live or dead bugs in your home)

Another sign to watch for is heightened allergies. While silverfish aren’t usually harmful to humans, their molted skin and droppings can trigger allergic reactions in highly sensitive individuals, similar to cockroaches. 

Ways to Prevent These Pests

The best way to eliminate a silverfish problem is to hire professional exterminators to tackle the problem. These can be especially sneaky insects, and eradicating an entire group of them requires a strategic approach. However, there are some steps you can take around your house to keep them out as much as possible.

Seal Food

Those dry goods in your cupboard or pantry are the perfect midnight snacks for a silverfish family. To keep them at bay, put items like flour and cereal in sealed containers. 

Clean Up Spills

Thinking about leaving those toast crumbs on the kitchen floor until you get back from work? If you think silverfish might be around, take the time to clean them up. Use a strong vacuum that can also suction silverfish eggs so they won’t reproduce and multiply. 

Reduce Glues and Adhesives

Glue and adhesives are other materials that attract silverfish. These substances are found throughout your home, in locations such as:

  • Stacks of paper
  • Office supplies
  • Cardboard boxes

To the best of your ability, try to discard or recycle those items once you don’t need them anymore. Otherwise, they could provide the perfect spot for a silverfish to live. 

Caulk Around Your Home

If there are small openings around your door frames, windows, or foundation, silverfish can easily crawl in from outside. Cover up these entry points with caulk to keep the insects out and stop them from laying their eggs.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid environment (hello, Floridians!), you may already have a humidifier on hand. If so, go ahead and run it! If not, invest in one as soon as you can. 

A humidifier can help you reduce the moisture in your indoor air, which will prevent silverfish from entering, living, and thriving in your home. It also helps to open the doors and run the fan in rooms that get moist, such as your bathroom and kitchen. 

Dust Diligently

Dusting might not be your favorite chore, but it’s key to preventing a silverfish infestation. If the microscopic particles contain any amount of starch or saccharide, they’ll attract the bugs. 

Clean Up Your Landscaping

Before they enter your home, silverfish will usually hide out in your leaves, mulch, and other yard coverings. To prevent them from making the move indoors, clear the perimeter of your home. Rake up any leaves, especially if they’re damp, and leave at least six inches of space between your foundation and any mulch or pine needles you add. 

How to Get Rid of Silverfish and Keep Them Away

Seeing a silverfish dart lightning-quick out of a hiding space is enough to make your skin crawl. While you can follow these steps to prevent an infestation, there’s only one way to remove the bugs for good once they’ve made themselves comfortable in your home.

Wondering how to get rid of silverfish? Call our pest control experts! We’ve helped Florida homeowners just like you keep their homes pest-free for years. 

Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation!

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