Silverfish love starch and have enzymes in their gut that digest cellulose. They damage books, wall paper, and the paper backing on sheetrock and / or insulation. They can infest dry starchy foods, and they feed on fungi. They are known to eat other dead insets, and they thrive outside in dried vegetation. While they will feed nightly, they can go for months without eating.
Silverfish move into homes from the exterior. I have seen heavy infestations most often in homes with certain kinds of paper backed insulation – where thousands of silverfish were nesting inside attic and wall voids, in homes with older style real paper and paste wallpaper, and in homes where people collect books.
Silverfish are shiny, silver or pearl gray, and about 1/2 inch long when fully grown (see photo).
It can take 1 and half years for silverfish to complete their life cycle, well beyond the residual life of current pesticides, if you have silverfish, especially if you have lots of them, you will probably need an ongoing pest control service.
Silverfish damage paper by scraping it off in incremental swipes, and they can carry types of fungi that discolor paper
Silverfish are active when you aren’t. To tell if you have silverfish you can use sticky spider traps from your local home center, or we can put some out for you. You also can use small, glass jars – covered on the outside with masking tape. Silverfish will climb up the tape, fall into the jars, and can’t climb back up the slick sides. Place traps or jars in corners and along your baseboards where you suspect they might be, or in areas where you have things to protect.
Keeping books and magazine collections tidy can make it easier to spot silverfish.
We dust under baseboards and cabinetry, dust inject walls at plumping and electrical outlets, and dust attic and sub areas with food grade, fresh water diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth should never be applied in areas where it will become airborne, through the action of fans or vacuums. Which is why we do not sprinkle it on carpets. In some home with heavy infestation we may take additional measures such as sealing gaps into possible nesting areas, or spraying baseboards. All homes with silverfish should consider an exterior spray program to keep them from moving back in.
You can make your home less attractive by removing exterior plant debris, but there is nothing you can do to prevent them fully if they occur outside in your area.
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