Although it won't happen overnight, silverfish control is possible without hiring an expensive exterminator to handle the problem for you.
Let's face it, no one wants to share their home with insects and silverfish are no exception. However, to eliminate the problem and keep them from coming back it's important to understand these unwanted intruders to make sure you're not creating the perfect habitat for them to live and reproduce.
Silverfish are small torpedo shaped insects with a light grey or silver coloration that is scaly and metallic in appearance.
Their movements are almost fish-like as they seem to slither or swim across the floor instead of crawling which is more than enough to gross out most homeowners.
Even though they're only about 1/2 - 1 inch long these nocturnal insects are fast......really fast and once they see light, they quickly hide in baseboards, behind boxes or anywhere else that's dark making them difficult to catch or kill when you see one.
So, now that we've determined a silverfish is a little more difficult to control than your average insect, there are several things you can do to limit your chances of having a silverfish infestation, or exterminate the ones already living inside your home.
You're probably reading this article after you've noticed one or more of these unwanted insects roaming around your home or perhaps you've noticed small holes in your clothing, artwork or books.
Are silverfish dangerous? Not really. Although they're creepy looking with their long antennae sticking out of their wingless bodies, a silverfish really doesn't pose any serious health concerns. There is the possibility of food contamination, but a silverfish is not known to spread disease.
However, they are destructive. Silverfish feed on starches and other foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates. This includes books, cotton, the adhesive in wallpaper, linen, silk, coffee, food in pantries, photographs, artwork and even dead insects.
Do silverfish bite humans or pets? No, aside from their creepy appearance they're basically just destructive when they eat because they leave small holes or chew like patterns in family heirlooms and other items you have packed away or have sitting on a bookshelf.
Sometimes firebrats are mistaken for silverfish. Although they look similar in appearance a firebrat is actually a different kind of insect. To learn more read this article that explains how to get rid of firebrats.
If you're interested in getting rid of silverfish you should start by reducing the amount of loose paper products on the floor and controlling the humidity inside your home.
One example would be cleaning up the loose paper around a paper shredder or if you're in an office setting, making sure you frequently check behind the desk for office paper or envelops that have fallen behind the desk and onto the floor.
These insects are pretty tough. In fact, their predecessors are considered some of the oldest insects dating back over 400 million years ago. Plus, as long as they have access to water, a silverfish can go up to a year without eating.
Silverfish thrive in moist environments ranging from about 75 - 90 percent humidity which is why you'll commonly find them in basements, attics, bathrooms, and around sinks or showers.
Sometimes you'll find them trapped inside a sink or bathtub because they're not good climbers and they enter the sink or bathtub in search of water, but they can't climb the slick surface to get back out.
Proper silverfish control requires controlling the humidity in your home. Dehumidifiers in a basement will help lower the relative humidity reducing the damp environment silverfish require to thrive.
In order to kill silverfish you'll need a product such as boric acid which is a powder that works well at killing adult silverfish and hatching nymphs or liquid pyrethrin which works well at killing just the adult silverfish.
The downside to boric acid or pyrethrin is that they're chemicals and most homeowners are not comfortable with applying these chemicals inside or outside of their homes do to children or pets.
A great option is to purchase Dekko silverfish packs which are specially designed paper packets that contain the boric acid safely inside. They work really well and they're a lot cheaper than hiring an exterminator. To learn more, read our review on Dekko silverfish packs.
If you're serious about doing silverfish extermination on your own without calling a professional pest control company, it's going to take a little bit of work.
Since silverfish are nocturnal and they hide in such small places, they seem to just appear out of nowhere. Plus, they can go a long time without food so poisons and baits will take time for them to find it and allow them to work.
One of the easiest ways to control an infestation is clean up possible food sources and ventilate to reduce moisture.
Vacuum around your baseboards with a small nozzle to suck up any silverfish and their eggs, fix leaks around plumbing fixtures and ventilate your attic and basement to keep a relative humidity below 50 percent. Keep cardboard boxes elevated off the basement floor so they don't soak up moisture and store pantry food in a sealed container.
With a little bit of persistence on moisture control, cleaning and the use of bait packets or chemicals, you can control and eliminate silverfish once and for all saving your clothes, books and ultimately your piece of mind.