How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish pest in Tallahassee home

Silverfish, while harmless, are annoying to deal with. They’re gross, can cause allergies, and can even damage household items. There are about 120 species of silverfish, however, they are pretty easy to identify by their silver color and quick movements.

Although they are a nuisance, there are many solutions to a silverfish issue, from DIY tips to pest control. Read on to learn all about how to get rid of silverfish, and how to prevent them. 

What are Silverfish? 

Silverfish are tiny silver bugs that slither around kind of like fish. They need high moisture levels to thrive, so the humidity in Tallahassee makes your home the ideal habitat. 

They’re one of the most ancient insects out there. Scientists found a 385-year-old fossilized silverfish like creature. This fossil is about 60 million years older than the timeline when insects began to abundantly populate the world.

This was because the silverfish fossil originated in the Devonian period where insects were limited by Earth’s lower oxygen levels–but the lack of fossils could also be explained by terrestrial sediments that were unable to survive the time period.  

Silverfish are after polysaccharides, a sugary substance found in household items such as book glue, carpet fibers, household glue, paint, fabric, and furniture.

But they’re not very social creatures. If you’ve never seen one before, it’s because they tend to linger in the dark, whether they’re going between hiding places or coming out of hiding at night. They may pass along evidence such as droppings and egg sacs.

In fact, you might never see one in the daytime or even at night unless you’re looking for them or know what to look for. 

Why are Silverfish in my Home?

Silverfish, like many insects, look for dark, moist spaces. In Florida, they can find just that. In fact, if you have silverfish in your house, they may be telling you something. 

Your house may be too moist. Water issues like leaks can attract silverfish to your home, so you may want to look around for possible damages or have your plumbing inspected. 

Silverfish get inside your home through tiny entry points. This can include crawlspaces, cracks in your foundation, open windows, open doors, gaps underneath doors, and more. 

What Do Silverfish Eat? 

Silverfish can eat most things in your home. From food products to glue, this is the biggest problem with them. You can start to see damage in your home if you have a silverfish infestation. 

It’s common to see books destroyed, wallpaper chipped, or evidence of silverfish in food items like coffee, sugar, or oats. 

As I said earlier, this is because of the polysaccharides, a sugary carbohydrate. 

Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

  1. Finding silverfish: Sure it seems obvious, but if you see one silverfish, it’s likely that there are many. Seeing one means the conditions for your home are ideal for silverfish, so they’ll gradually start to migrate. 
  2. You see droppings: Gross, I know, but it’s an important sign to look for. Silverfish will leave their droppings pretty much everywhere. These are tiny pellets that look like peppercorns. 
  3. Yellow stains: When silverfish are hanging out, they’ll leave behind yellow staining, which doesn’t necessarily mean urine. These stains can be anywhere, such as on newspapers, clothing, or books. 
  4. Skin molts: If you see a thin, silver substance, this might be from shedding silverfish. 

Can Silverfish Hurt You? 

Silverfish are nothing more than nuisance pests. While they have mouthparts, their jaws are too weak to bite humans. They also don’t carry diseases, which is great, but you still probably don’t want the yucky bacteria they spread around your home. 

The most harm silverfish can cause is allergies from their droppings or skin molts. The reactions can vary depending on the person.

Besides that, all you really need to worry about if you have a silverfish infestation is if you have a possible leak or your belongings might be damaged. 

At Native Pest Management we understand why you might be concerned about finding silverfish in your home. The best way to get rid of them fully is to call pest control, but if you’d like to tackle the problem yourself, we’ve put together some ways you can get rid of them yourself.  

How to Get Rid of Silverfish 

While silverfish are fast, they’re not invincible. They’re sneaky, so you just have to think creatively. 

Remember that silverfish will eat just about anything, mainly because they love glue and adhesives. They’ll gnaw on just about any carbohydrate and protein and like to be protected by hiding behind or under furniture. 

The Best Ways to Get Rid of SIlverfish in Tallahassee

  1. Create silverfish traps: A DIY tip to eliminate silverfish is using a food source. Take a starchy food like cereal or dog food and put it in a glass container with the outside wrapped in tape. They’ll see the food and crawl in, but they won’t be able to crawl out because of the glass. Mix with water in a spray bottle and spray in any silverfish populated areas. 
  2. Purchase sticky traps: These can be found at your regular home and garden store. Place the traps around where you’ve seen silverfish and they’ll end up in them.
  3. Use essential oils: Certain essential oils, such as cedar oil, can repel silverfish. 
  4. Declutter: Silverfish like to feast on household items like books and magazines, and those are likely to take up space in your home on tables, bookshelves or in boxes. 
  5. Clean up: If you have unwashed dishes, lots of dust, food sitting out, or any other cleaning you’ve been meaning to take care of, that may be contributing to your silverfish issue. Silverfish especially love starchy foods like cereal, pasta and rice so make sure those items are sealed up.

Boric acid is another substance that can kill silverfish and other insects, however, you should be extremely careful with it. We do not recommend using boric acid if you have children or pets as it is a hazard. If you decide to, you can put it in a spray bottle to cover paths or sprinkle it around cupboards, bookshelves, and anywhere else you’ve found silverfish.

You can also try sprinkling around diatomaceous earth, a safer alternative that can kill silverfish as well as many other common household pests. 

Essential oils like lavender and citrus can overwhelm silverfish so much that they’re repelled from your home and are one of the safer ways to target a silverfish infestation. Just remember that some essential oils like tea tree oil are extremely toxic to pets, so make sure you’re using the best option for your home.

Bay leaves are another herb that can repel them. Spread them throughout your home as a pet friendly, eco-friendly method. 

After you try these tips, you can go after the moisture issue. Find the areas in your home that have the highest moisture levels. This could be the attic, bathrooms, or kitchen. Look in all the nooks and crannies to make sure you don’t have any leaks, where silverfish are bound to congregate. 

If you find leaks, fixing them as soon as you can will make a big difference in the number of silverfish in your home. 

Other Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish 

Silverfish in the Bathroom

Bathrooms are where a majority of moisture is likely residing in your home. Luckily, it isn’t too difficult to get silverfish out. 

A dehumidifier is a great tool to get silverfish out of bathrooms. It’s much safer than using boric acid, or store bought traps. 

You can also use scented sprays to repel silverfish, such as air fresheners or cleaners. 

Silverfish in the Kitchen 

Your kitchen could be a hotspot for silverfish, especially since they love starchy foods. A good first step is to make sure any cereal boxes, chip bags, rice, or pasta packages are sealed up. 

Next, you can try swapping your generic cleaners for citrus or essential oil scented cleaners. Deep clean your kitchen, and the silverfish will see less food source options and be repelled by the scented cleaners at the same time. 

If the silverfish love to go after your morning papers, you can grab an old paper and get it wet, then roll it up and leave it out in the kitchen. The silverfish will crawl into it and make it their home. After a few days, either toss it or burn it to eliminate a group of them all at once. 

Silverfish in the Closet

Silverfish like to go after clothes, unfortunately. An easy way to repel them is when you wash your clothes, put a few drops of essential oils in the washer with your laundry detergent. Your clothes will smell like the oils and overwhelm the silverfish. 

Silverfish in the Attic 

Your attic serves the perfect purpose for silverfish. It’s dark, remote, dusty, and protected. If you find silverfish in there, this may be a good place to sprinkle or spray boric acid assuming your children or pets don’t go up there. 

You can also try dusting, or using any other methods discussed earlier such as diatomaceous earth or essential oils if it’s what you prefer.

Happy family with silverfish control in Tallahassee

Silverfish Control Near Me in Tallahassee

While DIY methods are smart, they can grow tiresome. SIlverfish are tricky pests. They’re so small, quick and shy that you may see all the evidence of them and not be able to find a single one. 

However, there is another solution that is proven to work! Native Pest Management uses the most pet friendly products to eliminate silverfish as quickly as possible.

Our home pest control services go after silverfish as well as the other most common household pests like ants, cockroaches, spiders, millipedes and earwigs. 

To get rid of these insects, we’ll first use a long lasting granular bait in the attic. Next, we’ll go to the kitchen to use borate dust in your electrical outlets. 

We’ll then set insect monitors, gel baits, and granular baits in the cracks and crevices of your home. Finally, we’ll place a long lasting granular bait and spray a pet friendly residual product along the exterior of your home.  

We’re focused on long term prevention. By choosing a home pest control plan, we’ll give you back your peace of mind that the silverfish and other pests took from you. 

You’ll also save time and money with a recurring plan. Trying insect traps and baits is one thing but if you’re constantly going back to the store for another trap because you haven’t seen any results, that’s when pest control might be the best option. 

And we’re available to you locally–Native Pest Management services all of Tallahassee. If you’re outside the area, we service all of Broward, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, and Leon County

You don’t have to live with silverfish forever. Put your pest problem in our hands and give us a call today!