What Causes Silverfish? Detection & Factors attracting Silverfish

What causes silverfish bugs or insects in homes? How can I detect silverfish in my house and get rid of them cheaply? In this article, I examine the factors that attract silverfish into the home. I also explore the various procedures used to detect silverfish infestation.

Can Silverfish Hurt you?

Silverfish are not harmful to humans and will not hurt you. Neither do they carry or transmit diseases to humans and animals. They only disappoint by causing damage in your house. The presence of these creepy insects in your home result in damaged fabrics, paper products and foods. These insects are such a nuisance and that is why they cannot be tolerated by people.

What causes Silverfish in Homes and Houses?

These insects are never found in just any home, but in those with favorable conditions for them to thrive. Several factors will cause these insects to infest your home.

  1. Moist, warm and dark environment: Such an environment provides them with favorable living condition to thrive and breed. They are particularly attracted to damp clothes and papers. But, you can avoid infestation of these insects in your home denying them favorable condition for their survival.
  2. Food sources: Silverfish survives on starchy materials like cereals, flour, pastas and grains as well as paper products, bookbinding glue and fabrics. This can be prohibited by clearing all food remains and unwanted paper products and fabrics from your home. Avoid leaving behind foods that can sustain these insects.
  3. Easy Access: These insects will come to your home if they have access. They can crawl naturally environment through holes and gaps into your home. They may also enter your home through groceries and building materials. Take measures to minimize possible access routes. This can be done by sealing off any holes around water pipes and other entrances that can be used by silverfish to easily crawl and move into your home.

How to detect Silverfish

Detecting silverfish can be difficult given their nature of evading and hiding away from humans. They love dark places and will remain hidden in cracks, crevices, gaps and holes inside and around your house the whole day. They only come out at night to search for foods and water. However, these insects can be detected in a number of ways.

  1. Spotting a live silverfish is one way of detecting silverfish in your home: However, it is vital that you know how they look to be able to tell if the insect is indeed a silverfish. The key features to look for include grayish-silver insect about half to three quarter an inch in length. It has carrot like elongated body covered with scales with two antennas on the head and three appendages on the rear.
  2. You can detect silverfish by their eggs and nymphs:  If you spot white and yellowish eggs in clusters of about 20 eggs then there is likelihood of full blown infestation of silverfish in your home. These eggs are found in crevices and cracks as well as in between the papers and book pages. You may also notice nymphs which look similar to an adult silverfish, but rather white in color.
  3. Damages typical to silverfish are other indicators of these creepy insects within your home. These include irregular holes in papers, wallpapers, photographs and fabrics like linen and cotton clothes. You can also find yellow stains on your clothes and surfaces. Books may also be eaten on edges where as feed on bookbinding glue which is their favorite meal.
  4. Scales or dust left behind as they molt they leave behind scales forming yellowing stains on floor surface, papers and clothing. Silverfish are the only insect that molts into adulthood as they shade their outer covering leaving traces of stains behind. Note that these dusts can cause allergies to some people especially those with respiratory disorders such as asthma.

How to Trap Silverfish

Silverfish are primitive insects and very easy to trap using simple homemade methods.

  1. Use masked glass jar with sugary water of starch or bread placed inside as bait to lure silverfish into the container. The insects will climb over the glass on masks to fall inside the container. But once inside the container, they get trapped because they can’t climb the glass wall to come out.
  2. Wet newspapers are favorable foods for insects and could be used as a trap. Make a rolled bundle of old newspapers and place them in areas most frequented by silverfish for overnight. While they will be attracted to feast on wet newspapers, the roles will offer them dark condition ideal for staying and will not move back to where they came from. You then carry the newspaper with trapped insects for disposal and destruction.
  3. Commercial traps such as Pro-Pest Silverfish can also be used to lure and trap silverfish for eventual disposal away from your home. This ready to use traps are specifically designed with attractive smell to silverfish and mechanism to prevent them from exiting the trap. This trap is effective and will help you protect your fabrics, books, groceries and other items which may be at risk of silverfish attack and destruction.

Measures to avoid Silverfish Infestation in Furniture

Infestation of silverfish in furniture can be avoided in a number of ways. This can be done using natural and commercial repellents.

  • One way is to spray your furniture with repellent sprays like citrus and lavender spray.
  • You can also sprinkle diatomaceous and boric acid dusts around your furniture
  • Place spice sachets around your furniture to repel theses insects from to your furniture
  • Chemical sprays containing pyrethrin can also be used around your furniture to keep them away.

Common Insecticides for Silverfish Eradication

Residual insecticides are used for silverfish eradication. Insecticides containing pyrethrin are effective. Examples of effective and long lasting insecticides include Pro-Active C silverfish spray, Organisect RTU and Pest Expert Formula C which are effective in killing silverfish.

These products can be purchased from local drugs stores, home improvement shops and leading supermarkets and online stores.

Are Silverfish related to Fire Brats?

Many people confuse silverfish for firebrat and vice versa. So, Yes, silverfish are somehow related to fire brats, but they are not very close as many think. This is attributed to the close relationship and similarities in physical appearance and behaviors between these insects.  They both belong to Thysanura order and lepismatidae family in biological classification.

Silverfish and firebrats are about ½ an inch long, have two long antennas and three posterior tails and covered with scales. They also thrive under similar conditions- moist and dark places and they feed on the same type of foods- mainly starchy materials, books, fabrics and grocery.

Treatment for Silverfish

Natural treatments for silverfish include dehumidifying, vacuuming, use of traps, removing food and elimination of harborage sites. You are also advised to air and dry articles stored in moist areas to minimize growth of molds which they feed on.

Non chemical dusts such as boric acid and diatomaceous may also be used to kill these insects. Chemical treatment involves using residual pesticides like Pro-Active C silverfish spray, Organisect RTU and Pest Expert Formula C discussed above.

Sources and References

ORKIN: https://www.orkin.com/other/silverfish/

PEST CONTROL SUPPLIES: http://www.pestcontrolsupplies.co.uk/how-to-get-rid-of-silverfish-34-w.a

WIKIHOW: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Silverfish

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