Silverfish: One of the peskiest of pests

Secretive silverfish are pretty sneaky – they are nocturnal, move quickly and like dark, damp areas such as wardrobes, attics, garages, basements, kitchens and bathrooms, so they can go unnoticed for quite a while until their destructive eating habits start damaging your belongings. They also breed quickly, so their population growth can be exponential.

Silverfish are not fussy eaters. They like both animal and plant products and are drawn to things containing glue, sugars or starch. This means that in addition to food items, they will eat books, wallpaper, photographs, paper, textiles and other household objects.

They get their name from their fish-like appearance – they are teardrop-shaped, look scaly and are a dull, silver colour, measuring from 12-19mm in length with three long bristles on their rear. One of their weaknesses is the inability to climb smooth surfaces, which means they’re often found in baths or basins.

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How to Reduce The Risk of Infestation

If silverfish are established in your home, hiring Pure Services, who can create a customised approach, is recommended. Traps and insecticides sold in stores will only kill individual insects (not their eggs) and cannot wipe out an entire infestation. As female silverfish lay eggs daily, the problem needs to be stamped out fast.

There are steps you can take to discourage silverfish from returning, however:

  • Silverfish love humidity, so one way to prevent an infestation is to control humidity with adequate ventilation and efficient heating.
  • As they consume a variety of foods, stringent housekeeping may help keep them at bay by limiting potential feeding sites.
  • Regular clearing out and cleaning of cupboards, drawers, boxes and other storage areas will alert you to any new infestations so you can get on top of them quickly.
  • You can deter adult silverfish by using cinnamon and ground cloves (to which they have an aversion), and trap individual adults by using silverfish traps, but neither of these methods will address an existing silverfish infestation. The infestation must be dealt with in its entirety and as quickly as possible, which is best done by a professional, such as Pure Services.