Silverfish are wingless nocturnal bugs with a grey or bluish-silver pigmentation. These bugs have a hard exoskeleton and resemble a fish in appearance. Their head houses two long antennae and there are three prominent bristles on their rear. They are usually about 12-19 mm long with movements that can be likened to the swimming of a fish. They are usually hard to be pinned down because they move very fast. Silverfish are very tolerant and can survive most climatic conditions. They thrive well in moist, dark places such as floor or wall cracks, attics, basements, kitchens, stores, bathrooms and garage. You can find them in storage boxes, abandoned book stores, old stacks of magazines and window or door frames. They also prefer areas with moderate temperature levels (usually room temperature) and abundance of food supply. Their habitat attractions are usually fabrics and papers. Silverfish conveniently feed on carbohydrates (sugars, starch), textiles, papers, molds, shampoo, dried food products, glue, silk and dead insects. Although, Silverfish do not bite humans, they are very destructive to properties.
Silverfish are creepy but their reproduction is somewhat interesting and fast. There are three phases in the reproduction of Silverfish: the first phase which lasts over half an hour features the face to face positioning of the male and female with their antennae touching with intermittent withdrawal. In the second phase, the male silverfish runs away from the position and is chased by the female. The third phase, the female meets up with her “romance partner” and they stand side to side with the heads and tails touching. The male’s tail vibrates and releases a sperm capsule, spermatophore which is absorbed through the ovipositor into the female’s body to fertilize her eggs. The female lays about 2-60 eggs at once and they are deposited in hidden places.
The presence or infestation of silverfish may be unnoticed for a long time until major damages are done. Detection of silverfish infestation is majorly through their droppings, cast skins or damage inflicted on properties through feeding. Silverfish may also be seen under bathtubs or dishwashers.
We at Mega pest control understand how devastating silverfish damage can be- we therefor present to you the three “I” of effective silverfish control.
Inspect: When you discover signs of silverfish infestation in your home, the first step to take is make a thorough inspection of the entire building. Due to the very secretive nature of silverfish, they are hardly seen. Check through areas where the damage signs were detected for cracks on the wall or crevices on the floor. For an effective inspection, it is advised to use an insect sticky trap. These traps are available commercially and most usually come with a bait that will attract the insect to the trap. Place the traps at strategic locations which may serve as potential habitats in and around the house. Remove after one week, and then prepare your control method based on the population trapped.
Insecticide application: This can be done naturally or chemically. There are some natural products (such as citrus spray, diatomaceous earth, lavender oil, cucumber, spices, and mothballs) that can repel silverfish. However, most of these natural chemicals only reduce the population but do not destroy eggs. You can try some stronger insecticides like boric acid, pyrethin, insecticidal dust (such as D-fense) and aerosols (such as Alpine PT). Spray insecticides to suspected and possible habitats in the entire building. Using natural insecticides is quite safe but may take longer period for effective results. Chemical insecticides on the other hand provide better results but are extremely poisonous when inhaled or ingested, hence caution must be taken in their application.
Infestation prevention: Make your building inhospitable for silverfish by keeping away anything that attracts them or supports their stay. Silverfish are usually close to their food source. Ensure you reduce moistness or dampness in the attics, basements, kitchen and bathrooms. Check and disinfect storage boxes regularly. Clean cracks and crevices within the house with vacuum cleaners regularly. Keep food products especially carbohydrates in air-tight containers. Fix broken windows or doors.
We suggest a combination of techniques for a faster and more effective result. We hope you find these tips helpful and rescue your homes from Silverfish infestation.