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SILVERFISH PREVENTION & IDENTIFICATION

(Lepismatidae)

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What are silverfish?

Close up of a silverfish on a dried leaf

Silverfish have distinct slender, scaly bodies that are silver- or gray-colored. This pest is best described as teardrop or carrot-shaped. They grow between ½ and 1 inch long, have antennae on their heads, and three antennae-like appendages on their back end. They can live anywhere from 3 months to 8 years in the perfect climate and reproduce all year long. Females produce up to one hundred eggs in their lifetime.

The lifecycle of silverfish has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. In a warm, humid environment, females can produce a handful of eggs that hatch in as little as 19 days. Silverfish enjoy carbohydrates, such as sugars or starch. Starch is present in foods like vegetables, meat, and dry pantry foods like cereal and flour. They also eat the starches in adhesives used in bookbinding, so you can often find them inside books. Even without any of these food sources, silverfish can live almost a year without eating if they have access to water.

Are silverfish dangerous?

While silverfish are harmful to your property, they don’t pose any threat to humans or pets. Keep an eye on bookshelves— these pests love to ruin paper products like books, photos, and packaging. They also love starchy and sugary foods commonly found in pantries.

Be aware that they can be a costly nuisance around the house, as they are attracted to the starches used in wallpaper glue and fabrics. Be especially mindful if your house has wooden shake roofing or siding. These materials allow entrance into your home, as silverfish eat the starchy cellulose in the wood. This can lead to extensive damages and costly repairs.

Why do I have a silverfish problem?

Silverfish gravitate towards places around your home where they can live undisturbed. Any area with lots of moisture and a food source attracts these bugs since silverfish need a combination of heat and moisture to hatch. Regular maintenance of your exterior and interior spaces is essential in warm and humid climates. 

Anything with starches and moisture will attract these pests. Think of dark, low-traffic areas. You’ll find them under sinks with leaky faucets and cardboard packaging. They can live under porches where piles of leaves are left to rot. A sink filled with dirty dishes or a library that’s become too warm and humid can be enough to cause an infestation.

Where will I find silverfish?

When trying to pinpoint the source of a silverfish infestation, remember that they don’t like direct sunlight. Indoors you should search low-traffic areas, such as:

  • Attics
  • Basement and crawl spaces
  • Cracks and crevices
  • Closets
  • Near bathtubs and sinks
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry areas

They typically gather and enter by way of the exterior of your home, through shingles and the underside of roof trim. Look outdoors in leaf piles, under rocks, and in moist, shadowy corners. Silverfish thrive in temperatures between 72-90 degrees Fahrenheit and in 50-75% humidity. A good rule of thumb is to look in places where mold tends to form.

How do I get rid of silverfish?

Silverfish are tough to get rid of because they can survive for up to a year without a food source. Their tendency to hide in hard-to-reach places makes it even harder to spot them. Your best bet is to trust a dependable pest control company with your silverfish problem.

The team at Phenom Pest Protection has extensive experience and knowledge in pest control. We have all the tools and treatments necessary for a fully customizable silverfish treatment. 

When you choose Phenom Pest Protection, you get a family-owned business committed to offering excellent service and results to the greater Baltimore area. Call us today and to learn more about our effective silverfish control services!

How can I prevent silverfish in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, protect your property from silverfish with the following tips:

Exterior tips

  • Check plumbing for leaks and confirm proper drainage and ventilation to reduce moisture.
  • Look around your garage or yard for places where clutter, litter, and raw materials accumulate.
  • Store boxes, packages, and other materials off of the ground and in ventilated spaces.
  • Inspect and seal cracks in walls and around doors, ceilings, windows, and your foundation to eliminate possible entry points.

Interior tips

  • Consider installing dehumidifiers in rooms that have a problem with too much moisture.
  • Experts suggest keeping indoor temperatures at 69 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Humidity should be no more than 70%.
  • Store paper products and starchy foods in dry areas using hard sealed containers.
  • Allow as much natural light as possible into rooms during daylight hours.
  • Be aware of dark and humid areas of your home and check them often, keeping them clean and organized.

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Phenom Pest Protection received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from 354 reviews.

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