What are silverfish? Are they harmful?
A silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is an agile, light-sensitive and wingless insect that is silver or grey in color. Characterized by a teardrop-shaped body, it has a cone-shaped belly, three long bristles on the rear, no wings, and two antennae at the tip of its head. Measuring 10-12 mm in length, they thrive in high humidity and warm temperatures and like to crawl through cracks. While silverfish can be a nuisance, they are actually harmless and instrumental in eliminating mildew and dust mites.
Where do silverfish hide in a home?
Silverfish are fond of warm and damp places like the bathroom and kitchen and are a fan of paper and damp clothing. They feed on carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches. While silverfish eggs are hard to spot and usually found in small cracks or gaps, grown silverfish often take refuge in places like the kitchen, bathroom, under the sink, cabinets, laundry room, wallpaper, window frames, door frames, storage boxes, bookshelves, and old newspapers and magazines etc.
What do silverfish eggs and baby silverfish look like?
Silverfish eggs are a major issue when it comes to getting rid of an infestation. Female silverfish can lay two or three groups of eggs every day with each cluster containing one to 20 eggs and produce 1,500 to 3,500 offspring in her lifetime. Measuring approximately 1 mm in length, a silverfish egg initially appears white, soft, and elliptical in shape and then it will toughen and turn yellow.
Baby silverfish (aka nymphs) typically emerge from their eggs within 20 to 40 days and can take up to two years to grow into adults. While having the same antennae and bristles as the adults, baby silverfish are soft, white and scale-less in appearance.
Damages caused by silverfish
Silverfish can chew holes into clothing, books, and sometimes, even leather goods and synthetic fabric when they are really hungry. Their main source of food includes starch, paper, glue, and plastics, meaning your wardrobes, bookshelves, newspapers, books, scrolls, bank notes, and stamp collection are all at risk of being destroyed,
How can I prevent silverfish infestation at home?
Silverfish can only survive in a moist environment that has cracks, so simply maintaining your home dry and filling all cracks and gaps can keep silverfish away. In order for your home to remain silverfish-free, you can use desiccants or turn on a fan to lower the humidity and seal off cracks and gaps in walls, on the floor, and holes in the pipes. You should also regularly inspect and check the ventilation in enclosed spaces, such as the storage room, to ensure that there are no signs of silverfish infestation.
How can I deal eliminate silverfish?
Here are several ways you can get rid of silverfish:
1. Mix one part borax (sodium borate) with one part sugar to create an ammonium chloride solution to fend off silverfish within 24 hours or place gypsum powder on a damp cotton cloth and put it in places where silverfish frequent for the night.
2. Place a wood board with potato crumbs near locations where silverfish are spotted, so that the silverfish will crawl into the potato for a feeding at night. All you need to do the next morning is to dispose the potato along with the silverfish. Another option is to use the smell of mothballs to repel them.
3. Use silverfish bait, such as Aeroxon.
4. Use insect-repellent essential oils that contain Marjoram, fennel or cedar.
Please note that the above methods cannot completely eliminate the cause of silverfish infestation. If you want your home to be 100% silverfish-free, it is most advisable to seek help from a pest control company.