What Are Silverfish?


General Pest Control    Silverfish   

Have you been seeing tiny little bluish silver bugs moving across the surfaces in your house or business in an almost fish-like swimming motion? Are they around 12-19 mm in length? Do they have 2 long antennae on their heads, and 3 long bristles on their rear ends? If so, then you have silverfish.

So, what are these creatures?

Silverfish thrive best in damp, dark areas such as basements and underneath sinks and tubs, and they are especially attracted to paper and damp clothing. They feed on carbohydrates, especially sugars and starches, and sometimes they can be found in unopened food packages. They also eat things such as shampoo, the glue in books, linen, silk and dead insects.

Since silverfish are nocturnal and they move very quickly, which means it’s often difficult to know that you have an infestation. They may go unnoticed for a long period of time, which allows for exponential growth. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the telltale signs of a silverfish infestation. You may see damaged papers, clothing or wallpaper.

How can you keep silverfish from invading your home?

  • Remove dampness. Since silverfish prefer a moist environment, it is important to dry out wet areas by repairing leaky pipes or fixtures. Using dehumidifiers and fans also goes a long way to drying out your home or any building. Ventilating closed rooms and attic spaces and running an air conditioner can also help reduce moisture.

  • Vacuum floors and rugs, as well as cracks and crevices using a narrow tip. This can help keep silverfish from invading.

  • Keep all food stored either in the refrigerator or in sturdy sealed containers.

  • Do not keep stacks of newspapers or cardboard boxes inside. Silverfish love hiding in these places.

  • Store off-season clothing in sealed containers.

  • Inspect the outside of your home for gaps and cracks. Seal any holes by using a caulking gun.

  • Clear the area around your home of wet leaves or any other damp debris.

  • Consider placing a barrier of crushed rock around the perimeter of your home.

  • Keep bushes and other vegetation trimmed back away from the outside of you home.

If you have done all you can and you are still seeing these creatures "swimming" across your bathroom floor or tub, then it’s time to call in the experts. Here at American Pest, we have been helping folks in Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia get rid of silverfish, and a whole host of other household pests, for over 90 years. If you need help with these destructive, nuisance pests, give us a call because life really is better without pests.


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