How to Kill Silverfish Bugs: Effective Measures, Baits and Traps
Lots of people and houses are suffering from those slimy, disgusting, filthy bugs.
That’s where such questions arise: How to get rid of silverfish bugs and how to do it fast? What method to choose? Will it be safe?
The answers to these and other questions you’ll find in the following article.
To cope with the problem successfully one should understand what exactly you deal with. You should also know their breeding and living patterns to make your home “inhospitable” to them.
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What Are Silverfish Bugs?
These are about 1/2 inch bluish-silver wingless insects with hard exoskeleton. They look like fish and their movements are very similar. They have 2 long antennas on their head and 3 prominent “tails” on rear.
Females’ egg numbers vary. Depending on species, their quantity may range from 2 to 20 eggs per day. Silverfish can lay eggs at any season of the year and grow from larva to adult in 3-4 months.
Silverfish feed on mold, fungi and carbohydrates (such as sugars, starch or cellulose). This means that your food (especially dry foods), clothes, shampoos, soaps, books, wallpaper, plants and many other things are in danger.
Though the insects may be found almost anywhere, they prefer dark, moist, moderate temperature areas (60-80 degrees Fahrenheit) and places with good sources of food. Unless the food is gone, they remain close to its supply.
Therefore, the usual silverfish habitats are:
- laundry rooms
They are commonly found in/under sinks, bathtubs, in storage boxes, bookcases, old stacks of papers (magazines, newspapers, etc.), on closet shelves, behind wallpaper, wall voids, window or door frames, and baseboards.
The bugs just love the taste of starch in book bindings, paper on which there’s glue or paste, various fabrics, bathroom products, cereals, flour, crumbs and plant materials.
Killing silverfish bugs is not an easy thing, since they hide in different dark, protected places and reproduce very quickly. They are nocturnal (i.e. they’re mostly active at night) and may remain unnoticed for a long time.
Thus, the majority of homeowners detect them by their cast skins, tiny pepper-like feces, or feeding damage (e.g. small holes in wallpaper, clothing, cereal boxes, yellowish stains on fabric) when the infestation is already well established.
The fact is that most people give up trying to eliminate silverfish at first failure. But you should be persistent! Not taking action is a poor decision. You don’t want these creepy insects scurrying up in your bathroom, kitchen, or your BEDROOM, do you?
Ways of Silverfish Pest Control
There are two principal ways of silver fish control: natural and chemical. Both of them may be effective, but chemical agents are usually much more costly and harmful.
Natural means are safe for you, your children and pets. Besides, they offer a wide range of solutions for these bugs.
You may also use different traps that can be bought at a store or made at home.
Natural Silver Fish Bugs Exterminators
First of all, determine the places of infestation. It is not too difficult – they are always near their food. Secondly, select the product that is more appealing to you.
Here is a list of available solutions: citrus sprays, spices, diatomaceous earth, mothballs, lavender oil, cucumbers, cedar shavings.
- Citrus sprays. These sprays smell like citrus and are specifically manufactured to eliminate bugs like silverfish which are repelled by the scent. Apply it generously in the alleged places of infestation. Don’t use citrus smelling cleaning sprays; they are not organic and will be of no help.
- Spices. They don’t like strong scents of bay leaves, sage, and whole cloves (not ground!). Place the spices in porous sachets where the insects appear. It can help deter and discourage them from coming back.
- Diatomaceous earth (food grade). It is white powder that dehydrates silverfish and other bug pests and causes their death. Dust all areas where they can hide and they will die simply from walking through it. Diatomaceous earth for silverfish is efficient as long as it is dry. Though the powder is lethal to pests, it’s non-toxic to people and pets.
- Mothballs. The bugs can’t stand their smell either. Place mothballs wherever they are seen frequently.
- Lavender oil. Silverfish are repelled by its scent and stay away. It proved to be a good method of clearing them out of your home. Mix a tea spoonful of concentrated lavender oil in 1/2 a small spray bottle of water. Wipe down the walls with the mixture, spray it onto the carpet, around the skirting boards, cupboard doors, pieces of furniture and other items at your home. Let them dry. Be sure to refresh the smell from time to time. Don’t apply it to delicate fabrics, as they can be damaged.
- Cucumbers. The scent of cucumbers is a nice repellent for silverfish. Cut a cucumber into thick slices and put them everywhere the pests may be hiding. Replace the slices once they dry up.
- Cedar shavings. Cedar pieces or shavings should be also helpful at getting rid of them.
- Silverfish are known to like damp areas (75 to 95% humidity), that’s why it is recommended to reduce it to about 50%. This can be done with the help of dehumidifiers and fans. Fix everything that leaks, minimize available water, ventilate the attic and closed rooms.
- Caulk cracks and crevices on walls, floors, and holes around pipes to prevent the insects from using them as an entrance.
- Inspect and clean ALL your possessions, including the contents of boxes, wardrobes, cupboards, book shelves, clothing, etc.
- Put all possible food sources into plastic air-proof containers.
- Vacuum, mop and dust your house frequently to remove eggs.
- Repair or remove wallpaper.
Baits & Silverfish Traps
Numerous traps are also non-chemical methods of eradicating the little buggers. They are very cheap and safe. There are some examples of such traps below.
Moisten and roll up newspapers, tie them with elastics, and leave them out overnight to catch silverfish. The next morning either burn the newspapers or dump them into a trash can outside the house, since they should be full of “prisoners”. Repeat the procedure every night until you no longer find any insects.
Take a jar or a glass container and cover the outsides with a masking tape. Put some bread in it or fill it halfway with water and 2-3 teaspoons of sugar as bait. Place the trap in a common infested area. The bugs climb up the masking tape, fall inside the jar, and die because they are unable to climb up the slick sides and escape.
General sticky traps are simple but effective, and can be bought at a local hardware store. The traps attract pests and they get stuck.
Starchy food items or moist cotton can be also used as baits.
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Chemical Silverfish Extermination
If you decided to continue a chemical route, be prepared to pay a lump sum of money either for hiring a professional extermination company or buying expensive silverfish pesticides. But none of them can address an entire infestation and guarantee complete silverfish eliminating.
The most common chemical silverfish exterminator is liquid pyrethrin. Spray it into the cracks around baseboards, doors and windows. This method will kill adult silverfish but won’t kill the eggs.
One more solution of the problem is boric acid. Though it is a natural insecticide, it can be toxic.
Sprinkle a small amount of powder around the infested areas. If it gets damp, just reapply.
Boric acid is effective in killing not only adult silverfish but also hatching nymphs.
- Pesticides are potentially dangerous to mammals.
- Boric acid is toxic when ingested or inhaled.
- Use a disposable face mask to cover your nose and mouth while applying pyrethrin or boric acid.
- Avoid applying insecticides near food, food utensils, or food preparation surfaces.
- Keep your children and pets away from these substances.
- Read and follow the insecticide directions for use very carefully.
Addressing silverfish infestation swiftly is extremely important because they reproduce very fast and are much more intrusive than most people think. If left untreated, the insects can cause costly damage to your home and make you feel nervous. To exterminate these bugs, you need to alter the conditions that make your home inviting to them.
Choose natural methods that kill the whole generation of silverfish, but are secure for humans and animals. Be persistent and don’t expect overnight results.
The process is quite tiresome and takes some time to achieve permanent elimination, so give the method a couple of tries and never forget about sanitation. This will prevent reinfestation and save you from many problems.
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