Silverfish, also known as fishmoth or carpet shark, is a small wingless insect with a long, slender body and a hard exoskeleton. It is about ½ inch long and has two large antennae. It gets its name from its fish-like movements and silver scales on its body. It is classified under Lepismatidae family and Thynasura order. Its scientific name is Lepisma saccharina.
It is a common household bug that thrives in a damp environment. Household products or food items that contain polysaccharides are potential food sources for this insect. It can cause a great deal of damage to your wallpaper, books and clothes. If you spot these insects in your home, you must immediately consider the methods of silverfish elimination.
Methods of Silverfish Elimination
Since silverfish thrive in damp areas, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your home is well-ventilated. Look for signs of water leakage and get it repaired to ensure that your home is dry. Poor ventilation of areas such as the basement leads to humidity which in turn leads to an infestation. Therefore, using dehumidifiers and ventilating closed rooms and attics will help in curbing their growth.
Being a nocturnal insect, silverfish come out from their hiding places to look for their preferred food sources at night. So, store food in airtight containers and don't leave it out in open. If you happen to spill food, clean it immediately. You need to keep your house clean. Look for places where these could be hiding. Try vacuuming cracks and crevices with a narrow vacuuming tip and get rid of old useless papers. Keeping the house dry and clean will surely help in preventing an infestation.
If the aforementioned remedies don't work, you could use poisoned food baits to eliminate them. First remove all the food items from the infested area. Now place the poisoned food baits to attract them. In case you are not sure about the infestation, you could use a method to find out if that area is infested or not. Make a paste using flour and water. Apply a very thin coating of this paste on both sides of index cards. Once the cards have dried up, place them in the area suspected of being infested. If the area in infested, you might see irregular scrapping on the cards. Once you are sure about the infestation, you can use poisoned baits. Do make sure that you keep your pets and small children away from these poisoned baits.
You could use insecticides, dust, sprays, baits and bombs for eliminating silverfish. You can use dusts in wall partitions. Put these in the crevices and other entry points in wall partitions. It will take around 2 weeks for this method to work. You can use citrus sprays as they work like repellents. Insecticide bombs could be used for hard-to-reach places.
Though this insect can be found anywhere in the house, you might find them mostly in damp areas such as the kitchen, attic, laundry rooms and basements. Since these wingless insects feed on sugar and starches, the maximum damage is caused to paper, glue, book bindings, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet and clothing. Since book bindings contain starches and dextrin, those who have a large collection of books at home must take precautions and check for an infestation every now and then. Do look for signs of infestation on tapestries and wallpapers. They can also damage cotton, linen, silk and synthetic fibers, leaving behind yellow stains and holes in your expensive fabrics. If you find signs of infestation, follow the aforementioned precautionary measures to protect the household goods and minimize the chances of an infestation in future.