The silverfish is a pesky critter that sounds like it might have scales but is actually the little bug that scurries around your bathroom floor at night. When it’s one or two, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. However, one or two can turn into a whole lot more rather quickly. A silverfish is an insect that’s about one centimeter tall, has six feet, five antennae, and shiny silver scales.
You might be shocked to find out that these bugs are among the most ancient species, even older than dinosaurs. Scientists believe that they’ve been roaming the earth for 400 million years. Thankfully, silverfish are harmless. Nevertheless, silverfish still aren’t welcome guests.
Where Do Silverfish Live?
Silverfish like two things: warmth and moisture. For this reason, they are mostly found in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room at home. The insects’ optimal temperatures are 72 to 81 degrees and relative humidity of 80 to 90 percent. Since silverfish are nocturnal and shy of light, you don’t really get to see them during the day. They’re usually hiding in cracks, crevices, joints, or similar hiding places.
How Long Do Silverfish Live?
These pests have an astonishingly long lifespan. They can live up to eight years. How long it takes until silverfish are fully grown depends on the living conditions. It can take up to a year at room temperature. The insects care for their offspring all their lives. However, the females only lay eggs when conditions such as required warmth and degree of humidity are met.
What Do Silverfish Eat?
Silverfish aren’t very picky when it comes to mealtime, but they do have a particular preference for starchy substances such as sugar. Hair, glue, paste, dander, dust mites, cotton, paper, linen, silk, synthetic fibers, dead insects, or molds also serve as food for the insects. Basically, you can’t really live without silverfish food in your house somewhere.
If there is unexpectedly no food for a long time, these bugs have no problem surviving. In fact, they can survive for several months without food.
How to Prevent Silverfish from Invading Your Home
Since silverfish prefer rooms with high humidity, it’s essential to ventilate them regularly and well. In rooms that don’t have windows, you should instead open the door for a more extended period so that the moisture can at least escape into the corridor and doesn’t build up.
To deprive the silverfish of their food source, it’s important to always seal food properly in your kitchen and generally keep floors clean by a thorough sweeping or vacuuming. Cracks, peeling wallpaper, or similar open areas should be closed to not allow the insects a place of retreat.
Since silverfish often get into the home through drains and hide there, it is advisable to rinse them regularly with hot water and, if necessary, to close them overnight.
Finally, existing mold should definitely be treated, and not just because of its attraction to insects.
Why Do I Need to Eliminate Silverfish?
There is no need to get rid of silverfish from a health perspective as they do not transmit disease. However, a high incidence of insects can indicate problematic conditions such as excessive humidity or mold. But in this case, these little pests work for us and not against us. As mentioned above, they also feed on mold and, in doing so, solve a bit of that problem.
How Do I Get Rid of Silverfish?
Even though silverfish aren’t dangerous to humans, it’s okay if you’re still bothered by the sight of them. This is especially true if other insects are romping around between our meals and nibbling on books and the like. The following tips will help to get rid of the uninvited guests. It’s vital to use the various remedies in the evening, as silverfish are nocturnal.
Use certain scents
These bugs aren’t fans of lavender, lemon, or vinegar. So, wipe the floors of the affected rooms with a mixture of water and lemon or water and vinegar. You could also set up a bowl of water with lavender oil.
Self-made glue traps can capture silverfish. Simply spread honey on a piece of paper. Then, place it in front of the insect settlement in the evening. Since they like to eat sweets, they can’t resist the trap and will get stuck. The next morning the paper plus the captured insects can just be thrown away. The same works with glue strips sprinkled with sugar.
The tried and tested home remedy baking powder also helps. Mix it with sugar and sprinkle it near the hiding spots. The silverfish will die after eating this mixture.
Potatoes (yes, potatoes!) are a less cruel but also effective means in eliminating silverfish. These little bugs are very enthusiastic about starches. Cut a potato in half, hollow it out, and place it on a piece of paper. The insects gather there and can be taken outside the next morning.
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