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How to deal with a Silverfish infestation

How To Deal With A Silverfish Infestation

Do you need to know how to deal with a Silverfish infestation using DIY methods?

I’m sure you are familiar with this scene …

You’re busy folding clothes when something moves & catches the corner of your eye. It’s silvery, shiny and long, and a bit alien – looking and it moves across the floor like a fish.
If it looks like the picture above, it’s a silverfish, and even if you see just one, you could have an infestation on your hands. It’s time now to act fast, as these critters could cause costly damage to your home.

What are Silverfish?

Silverfish are long, silver soft-skinned insects with two antennae and three long legs on either side. They are also known as carpet sharks or fish moths.
They don’t have wings and they have a distinctive metallic shine.

Some people believe they can bite and even that they may be poisonous, but they are not and in that sense, there are completely harmless to humans and pets. In this sense, they are probably the least dangerous of household pests.
The primary problem with a Silverfish infestation is the damage to property that they can cause because of the fact that their staple diet is starch and therefore they feed off of anything that contains starch.

How to deal with a Silverfish infestation
silverfish damaged book

What does this mean for your belongings? Well, it means that things like book bindings, bathroom caulking, and adhesive of any kind are in danger.
Silverfish will also wreak havoc on carpet and rugs, as well as leather.
It goes without saying that the faster you take control of the Silverfish infestation, the better it will be for your property and possessions.

Sign of a Silverfish infestation To Look Out For

Before you determine how to deal with a Silverfish infestation, you need to determine whether you do in fact have an infestation.

Silverfish are nocturnal and shy (out of a sense of preservation from predators), and it can be difficult to identify a silverfish infestation as the Silverfish tend to hide in places where they are unlikely to be seen by humans. They enjoy hiding in places that are warm and humid, such as laundry rooms, furnaces, and attics. They can also be found outdoors in places that offer some protection from the elements such as in nooks and crannies and places around porch lights.

To identify a Silverfish infestation you will need to be observant and look out for certain signs.
For example, if you notice very small marks in your book bindings, it could be an indication of a silverfish feeding on the starch of the adhesive. Silverfish do leave some waste, in the form of small yellow stains and nearly microscopic black pellets, which would also be telltale signs of an infestation.

How To deal with a Silverfish Infestation

Before resorting to chemical pesticides, there are a few natural alternative remedies I would recommend.

Cedar Shavings

Silverfish are deterred by the smell of Cedar Shavings, and will often leave.
You can spread the shavings around any entry points to the home, and as near to the suspected nest as possible.
Cedar shavings can be purchased in bulk.

Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil deters Silverfish.
1. Pour several droplets of Lavender Oil into a spray bottle filled with water, and shake vigorously to mix.
2. Spray the mixture on bathroom caulking, between tiles, and anywhere you have observed signs of silverfish.

Diatomaceous Earth

If Cedar Shavings or Lavender Oil options don’t work, you could also try diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous Earth can be very effective against silverfish.

  1. Block off the area that you wish to treat to keep children or pets from the possibility of ingesting the substance.
  2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth around the area you believe to be infested and let it sit for 24 hours.
  3. The next day, carefully vacuum up all powder and dead insects.
    If all else fails, consult your local pest control services.

How to stop a Silverfish infestation

Since Silverfish love moisture, check your home for any leaking pipes, or other sources of unwanted water that could lead to humidity. Get rid of old magazines, newspapers or books (unless you want to keep them, in which case seal them in plastic containers, preferably with some Cedar Shavings).

Wrap Up

Although not directly harmful to humans or pets, any sign of an infestation needs to be dealt with immediately to avoid damage to property. Hopefully, this article has been instrumental in showing you how to deal with a Silverfish infestation.

Sven Welsh

What started out as an intention to economically protect my family and property from the ravages (and some dangers) of pests, has turned into a quest to share my research and findings with others.
Despite the cost and potential dangers of some eradication techniques, there are cost-effective and ethical ways of dealing with pests.
Knowledge is power.

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