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Silverfish Facts & How to Get Rid of Them


While they’re not usually as dreaded as spiders or cockroaches, silverfish are still a nuisance that many homeowners have to deal with every year. These little crawlers won’t spread germs or bite you, but they can cause damage to your home – especially if your house has a cedar roof. Here’s what you need to know about silverfish and how you can deal with them.

12 Facts on Silverfish

  1. Silverfish are found all over the United States, with the largest concentrations in the south. However, we still get our fair share of the critters here in Massachusetts.
  2. The insects are usually grayish in color, with a teardrop-shaped body about a half-inch long.
  3. Silverfish have long antennas, and are highly secretive. They are most active at night as they prefer dark and damp areas.
  4. Their primary food source is cellulose, found in many shampoos and the glue in books.
  5. Silverfish also love mold. This is one of the reasons why homes with cedar shake roofs are so susceptible to silverfish infestations. The wooden roofs are prone to mold, making them a huge attractant to the bugs.
  6. This insect is a very hardy breed. It has demonstrated a capability for living in extreme conditions, despite its obvious preference for cool, damp places.
  7. The majority of homeowners plagued with the problem will find the pests in basements, attics, kitchens or bathrooms. 
  8. The more mess there is on the premises, the more likely silverfish are to make a home.
  9. They are naturally drawn to paper and damp clothing, which provides ample hiding places, as well as the preferred climate.
  10. They will also slink their way into unopened boxes and bins, which have been stored in garages, sheds, and basements.
  11. Just like humans, Silverfish require carbohydrates to live. They feed on slightly different food, however.
  12. In addition to the obvious damage they can do, silverfish have also won disfavor among people for the fact that they leave behind their pepper-like feces wherever they go.

Do DIY Treatments for Silverfish Work?

If you have been plagued with this pest for a while, you are probably wondering if the battle can ever be won. Unfortunately, the traps and pesticides marketed to the public will only exterminate individual bugs without addressing the colony lurking nearby. 

Natural remedies have also proven less than adequate. Cinnamon, for instance, has proven to be a good deterrent, but it does not kill the insects or the eggs, which means that the colony can continue producing until the problem gets out of hand.

Eliminating & Preventing Silverfish 

Fortunately, you don’t need to swap out your cedar roof for asphalt shingles to eliminate pesky silverfish. There are a few actions you can take, including sealing cracks around doors and windows and in your basement and attic. Controlling humidity can also help, as silverfish thrive in humid environments. You can also remove items that silverfish are attracted to, such as soaps, newspapers, and clothing, storing them in secure areas that won’t allow the bugs in.

But because silverfish are nocturnal, many people often don’t realize they have an infestation until it’s too late. When it gets to this point, it’s time to call in the pros. A licensed exterminator can rid you of your silverfish infestation, as well as make recommendations on preventative measures to keep it from happening again.

If you’re experiencing a silverfish problem, give us a call at 508-756-5197 or visit us online today.

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