Silverfish Control - How to Get Rid of Silverfish
All insect infestations are unpleasant and having a silverfish infestation in your home is no exception to the rule, but what are silverfish, what gives rise to an infestation, and how damaging are they?
How to Identify Silverfish
Silverfish get their name from the way they move. Adult silverfish have long silver bodies, rather like a fish, and they use a curious “swishing” motion to travel across walls and floors. Silverfish are not very big; they only grow to a maximum of 2.5cm in length. They also prefer dark places, which means they are not immediately noticeable, so because of their tendency to avoid light, by the time you realise you have a silverfish population in residence, there are likely to be quite a lot of the little critters enjoying a very comfortable existence in the dark corners of your home.
How can I be sure I have Silverfish?
If silverfish have infested your home you may see them, but another good indicator can be small holes and scrapes left on paper products, particularly wallpaper. You may also notice yellow stains on clothing made from synthetic fibres.
Where do Silverfish Live?
Although silverfish prefer damp, dark places, they can be found just about anywhere when the right conditions prevail. They are attracted to glue and enjoy snacking on wallpaper paste and books. They also like to munch on starch and have been known to inhabit cereal boxes and sugary products in kitchen cupboards.
What Causes Silverfish Infestations?
Silverfish love damp conditions, so a silverfish infestation is a strong indicator you have a damp problem. An infestation might not necessarily point towards anything as serious as rising damp as even high levels of humidity can cause silverfish to move in (which is why silverfish are often found lurking in poorly ventilated bathrooms), but if the cause of the damp is not immediately apparent, it is worth investigating whether you have a leaking pipe or any other problems that might be creating damp in parts of your home.
How to Get Rid of Silverfish
Silverfish control can be a long and tedious process, but it can be done if you are willing to fix the problems that gave rise to the infestation in the first place.
While you have areas of damp, you will not be able to eradicate a silverfish infestation, so the first thing you need to do is deal with any damp issues you may have. When the source of the damp has been fixed, dry the area out and keep it dry using dehumidifiers.
Once you have dealt with the damp, the next step is to eliminate the silverfish to prevent them from reproducing. In an area where moisture is still a concern, for example in a bathroom, you would need to use a liquid based insecticide, such as Insectaclear C or the Insecto Bug Destroyer. In areas where dust can remain dry, residual insecticides in the form of powders are also effective, such as Agrodust.
The sprays can be used as a spot-on killer and as a residual spray. Particular effort should be made to treat any cracks and crevices where Silverfish may rest during the day, using the spray or powder. These forms of treatment should reduce the population dramatically and any remaining silverfish can be dealt with immediately using the spray when spotted.
Silverfish are known to find books, magazines and newspapers very attractive, so remove any you have that are surplus to requirements, and if you find silverfish in any books and magazines you wish to keep, seal them in plastic bags and place in the freezer for a minimum of 4 days to eliminate the insects. You may also have a silverfish infestation in stored clothes. If this is the case, launder the clothing on a hot wash or have the garments dry cleaned.
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