Silverfish certainly look dangerous. These insects have an other-worldly appearance. But, you can relax a little. They're not nearly as scary as they look. Silverfish don't bite, and they aren't known to spread diseases. But they can be a danger to your stuff. Here are a few things you should know about silverfish.
Let's Make Sure It's A Silverfish
A silverfish is a small insect with two long antennae and three hind appendages that look like antennae. It will be a silver or brown color. An adult silverfish is around ¾ of an inch long. If you see an adult, you may notice that it looks like it has armor. But that's not armor. A silverfish is easily squashed.
Silverfish pass through four nymph stages. Nymphs look like adults but are smaller. If you see an immature nymph, you might have a hard time seeing any of the descriptive features listed above, due to its small size. It will just look like a slimy little teardrop-shaped bug.
What It Means To Have Silverfish
Finding silverfish in your home is some cause for concern. These insects are drawn to damp wood and organic debris. If they're in your home, there are a few factors that could have lead to the infestation:
- You may have lots of leaves near your exterior walls.
- You may have overgrown landscaping.
- You may have a clogged gutter system.
- You may have water damage to your sole plates.
- You may have damage caused by wood-destroying pests.
That last one is the most important. Silverfish don't chew tunnels in wood, but they are attracted to tunnels or holes created by pests that do. Nothing is more attractive to a silverfish than damp wood, cardboard, or paper.
Activity In Your Home
Silverfish cannot survive in dry conditions. When they get into a home, they tend to gravitate to areas that are dark and damp. If you're seeing them in your common areas, it is likely that you have a moisture problem inside your home. These insects tend to stay in cellars, basements, boiler rooms, laundry rooms, etc. They may be found in bathrooms if the humidity tends to be high. It is a good idea to do an inspection and look for plumbing issues, leaky faucets, areas where rainwater is getting into your home, and similar problems.
The diet of a silverfish is strange. While these insects can feed on some of the foods you eat, such as flour, rolled oats, and dried pasta, it is their love for glue, paper, and fabrics that make them a threat to your belongings.
Glue — You can find these insects chewing on the bindings of books, wallpaper, photos (and the photo album the photos are in), and the glue that binds the fibers of some fabrics.
Paper — Silverfish love a good book. Along with the binder, they may eat the pages as well. They prefer pages that are moist. If they get into your office or study, they can chew holes in important documents. They'll also nibble on works of art.
Fabrics — Silverfish can damage clothes, curtains, drapes, bedding, sheets, pillowcases and more. They're drawn to wool, silk, cotton, and rayon.
Since these pests can target many areas of your home, these prevention tips are diverse.
- Seal exterior entry points, particularly any areas where wood is damaged. A caulking gun is a good tool for this job.
- Install dehumidifiers in your basement and in areas where you're seeing silverfish.
- Use the fan in your bathroom when taking a bath or shower to reduce the humidity.
- Make sure you store your clothing and books in a dry place or store them in sealed plastic totes.
- Keep your bathroom clean. Silverfish feed on hair, dandruff, and dead skin.
- Keep the cap on your toothpaste. Silverfish eat toothpaste.
- Dust your home. Those particles can be food for silverfish.
- Put your pantry products in sealed containers.
Professional Pest Control
Getting residential pest control for your home is one of the best investments you can make. When you have routine inspections and appropriate treatments around the outside of your home, silverfish, and a long list of other pests, will be repelled and eliminated before they can get in. If you need assistance with this in Texas, reach out to us. We can help you protect your health and property from the threat of unwanted pests.