Most of us are familiar with silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), the tiny bugs that dart out of our old books and clothes. They are nocturnal, wingless insects with a silvery-gray color, and fish-like movements. These insects are neither found to inflict bites, nor do they carry diseases. Even though not dangerous, they feed on a wide range of materials, especially those containing starch and sugar. They include paper, wallpaper, certain types of clothing, photographs, book bindings, cereals, sugar, mold, and mildew. So, if you notice any silverfish infestation in your house, deal with it at the earliest, so as to prevent any damage to articles, and contamination of food.
These bugs can cause extensive damage, if they infest your house in large numbers. In order to control them effectively, you must identify these insects, the signs of their infestation, and their hiding places and food. They are insects with no wings, and a fish-shaped body. Even their movements resemble those of fish. The body color of silverfish may vary from silvery-gray to greenish and bluish hues. These insects have two long antennae, and three small filaments on the rear end.
As far as their habitat is concerned, silverfish like to live in damp, humid, and dark places. So, they are usually found in moist basements, beneath carpets, in bookshelves and wardrobes, and under sinks. Infestation signs include sightings of the insects inside books, on clothes, and beneath carpets. You must also look for markings, like scrapings, notches, and holes on books, wallpapers, and photos.
In case of clothes, yellow stains and holes could be a sign of silverfish infestation in the wardrobe. If you are not sure about the locations of infestation, then make a paste of flour and water, and apply it on both sides of a few index cards. Once they get dry, place them on different locations. If the cards develop any scrapings, holes, and notches, you can ensure the presence of silverfish in that location.
The following are some tips for eliminating silverfish.
- First and foremost, you have to get rid of those conditions, that are ideal for silverfish infestation. Prevent excess moisture build up, by fixing leaking pipes and other such structures. Using dehumidifiers will be beneficial for this purpose. You must also provide ventilation in closed rooms.
- As they like darkness, try to light up the infested locations. Even high temperatures are not suitable for these insects. So, it will be beneficial to heat the infested locations, if it is viable for you.
- In order to get rid of silverfish, you have to eliminate their food sources. Keep the books in zip lock bags, along with some desiccants, and store them in the freezer for 2 to 3 days. This will kill the insects. Apply diatomaceous earth on books and bookshelves, so as to kill silverfish. You have to keep your kids and pets away from these substances.
- You must also seal the cracks and crevices with silicone sealants. As wallpaper glue is one of the preferred foods of silverfish, try to repair or replace damaged wallpaper. You must also try to clean the areas regularly, as an effective elimination method. Vacuum the locations regularly, so as to get rid of these insects.
You may also try silverfish pesticides that are available in the market. In such cases, follow the manufacturer's instructions. The best way to get rid of silverfish is to adopt a combination of the above said methods, rather than resorting to a single method.