Silverfish are small wingless insects that move quickly with fish-like motion. They are nocturnal and prefer dark humid places, like your basement. You’ve probably been startled by them. But what are they and where do silverfish come from? Watch our video.
No need to fear silverfish bites – beyond their freaky appearance, they are harmless to human beings. We’ll clue you in on these terrestrial shrimps of the cellar world and tell you how to get rid of silverfish. The main problem is their destructive capabilities, and we’ll tell you what silverfish eat in your home.
What Do Silverfish Look Like?
Glad you asked. The video below highlights the characteristics of silverfish along with some nice (safe) close-up footage. Generally, silverfish are about 1 inch long with gray or silver scales along their bodies. They have long V-shaped antennae sticking out from their head and three spiky bristles off their tail.
Silverfish are quite common pests. It’s even possible that they hitchhiked into your home on items that you brought in. More often, they squeeze into your basement through small cracks and gaps in your foundation or around windows.
What Silverfish Eat
Silverfish aren’t picky eaters. They will feast upon any starch protein or sugar they can find and the definition of each gets stretched.
Silverfish commonly will eat paper and cardboard found in your basement. They also like the glue that holds these items together. Other things silverfish eat include textiles like linen and cotton, cereal grains, wallpaper or even carpet.
Baby silverfish are tiny versions of the adult form except for the scales. Babies molt several times before they develop their scales. They eat the same starchy diet that adults do and are nocturnal feeders, like the adults.
How to Prevent Silverfish in Your Home
The way to keep silverfish out of your home is to create an environment they don’t like. This means keeping your basement clean and dry. Run a dehumidifier and fix any leaky pipes that are causing moisture. Seal gaps and cracks in your foundation and around windows where silverfish may squeeze in. Don’t attract silverfish and don’t let them in.
If you’re concerned about a silverfish infestation in your home, call or contact Griffin for real solutions to your pest problems. They may be harmless but that doesn’t mean you want them in your home!
Despite being one of the most common and widespread pests around, most people don’t know much about silverfish. This lack of public knowledge often makes silverfish seem like a scarier pest than they are. That said, it’s not difficult to understand why you might be frightened of the weird little things. Silverfish don’t look like common pest insects. In fact, they don’t look like insects at all!
Silverfish are definitely strange insects. They look like shrimp or crustaceans, and they’re distressingly fast. Although they’re not dangerous, they’re also not much fun to have around. You shouldn’t necessarily panic when you see one, but you should do something about it. Here’s what you can do. This is everything you should know about the creepy crawlers, including how to keep them out of your home.
What are silverfish?
“Silverfish” is frequently used to refer to several different species in the Zygentoma order of insects. It’s also the common name of one specific species of insect: the Lepisma saccharina. If you have silverfish in your home, chances are they’re Lepisma saccharina. Silverfish are small, wingless insects with six legs, silver or grey coloration, long antennae, and bristles on their tails. They’re typically no longer than ½ an inch long, though their appendages are often almost as long as their bodies.
The name refers to two of the insects’ highly distinctive characteristics. First, their bodies are covered in shiny, almost metallic looking scale-like segments. Second, the insect moves in a distinctive, back-and-forth manner, which make them look like fish swimming. Silverfish move very quickly when discovered, and many homeowners mistake them for cockroaches at first. The pests are also sometimes called “bristletails” because of the three long, bristle-covered appendages on their posterior end.
What do silverfish want?
Silverfish are nocturnal insects. They spend days hiding and come out to forage for food at night. They prefer environments that are 70 to 80℉, and have 75 to 95% relative humidity. Usually, the insect spends most of its time hiding in dark, cramped areas where they can remain warm, hydrated, and unnoticed. These dark, warm, humid hiding places should be near a food source they can consume at night. Once silverfish find a good food source, they’ll almost only move from food to shelter and back.
Silverfish are general feeders and consume a wide variety of materials. They’ll feed on anything that contains starch, protein, or sugar–not just food items. Silverfish are known to feed on starchy materials like wood and paper, especially glazed paper. They also feed on glue, linens, silk, cotton, and more traditional food products like cereal and vegetables. All kinds of household items may be food for the insect, including books, wallpaper, bed sheets, clothing, carpet, and furniture.
Where do silverfish come from?
The Lepisma saccharina is a common indoor pest all over the United States. They usually get into homes one of two ways: they sneak in themselves, or homeowners inadvertently transport them inside. Silverfish are naturally attracted to homes as sources of food, shelter, moisture, and darkness. They often follow utility lines like plumbing pipes through cracks in walls and into homes. They also might follow a cool draft and squeeze through a small opening near a window frame.
Unfortunately, silverfish are also often transported into homes by unsuspecting homeowners. The pests frequently feed on several materials used in moving, such as packing peanuts or cardboard. During the day, they hide on or inside their food sources. When people move these hiding places into their homes, they take the silverfish inside, too. Once inside, silverfish generally seek out the most secluded, dark, humid places in a home. You’ll usually encounter them in basements, crawl spaces, attics, closets, or laundry rooms.
How can I keep silverfish out?
Silverfish need humidity to stay active, or they’ll dry out and die. Look for parts of your home with high humidity and figure out why it’s happening. Patch up drafts and reinforce worn insulation. Fix sources of moisture accumulation like leaking plumbing, condensation, or puddles. Consider investing in a dehumidifier for problematic areas like your basement. Deprive silverfish of likely hiding places, like clutter or stray boxes. You probably can’t keep all their food away from them, but you can make it harder to access safely.
Next, try to figure out how silverfish entered your home. Look for gaps along window and door frames, baseboard walls, floors, and near utility lines. Silverfish don’t need very much space to squeeze into a home. If you can see it they can use it. Patch up these gaps with caulk. Replace old or damaged windows and doors. Don’t leave anything leaning up against the side of your home for silverfish to climb on. Finally, be careful when bringing possible silverfish hideouts into your home. Check the bottom, sides, and insides of moving boxes and bags before you bring them inside.
Perhaps the worst thing about silverfish is their long lifespans. A single generation of silverfish can live for several years, and young silverfish grow up fast. Unfortunately, that means if you don’t deal with a silverfish infestation right away, it’s only going to get worse.
You’ll probably never forget the first time you encountered an earwig. Or the first time you learned what they were. Or even the first time you heard the name “earwig”. We don’t blame you. Earwigs are creepy even for bugs. They have big, upsetting butt-pincers. They sneak around just beneath the surface of the soil, like they’re waiting to pop out at you any second. And then there’s the name. Just… very upsetting, all around.
Unfortunately, if you haven’t already encountered an earwig or five this season, you might be overdue. Spring and early summer are prime time for earwigs, and this year looks like no exception. We do have some good news, however: like most pests, earwigs aren’t as scary as they seem. Here’s everything you need to know about how to handle these pesky pests during the warmer months.
What they are
The most common earwig in Michigan is the European earwig (Forficula auricularia). Earwigs are elongated, flat insects that are about an inch long fully-grown. Their bodies are reddish brown with lighter yellow-brown antennae and legs.
Earwigs’ most distinctive feature are the forceps-like pincers they have on the end of their abdomens. Earwigs use this forceps to hunt prey and defend themselves. Some European earwigs have two pairs of wings encased in beetle-like shells and are capable of rudimentary flight. The name “earwig” refers to these wings, which uniquely resemble a human ear when unfolded.
Where they came from
Earwigs are a cosmopolitan species of insect. They’re not native to the US, but they’ve been common here since being discovered in Seattle in 1907. Earwigs proliferated through the US primarily by inadvertently hitching rides from the inside of bags, boxes, and planter pots. They naturally find places where they’ll be transported because they love hiding in dark, confined places. Earwigs remain motionless for most of the day and emerge to hunt and forage at night.
Starting in late fall, earwigs mate and establish subterranean nests beneath the frost line. They remain in these nests through the winter, so they can survive freezing temperatures. In spring, male earwigs dig their way back out to forage for food. Earwigs remain active at night through spring and summer. They’re at their most prevalent soon after hatching, when they have to eat constantly to grow and molt.
What they want
Earwigs are opportunistic hunters and foragers, meaning they feed on just about anything they can find. They usually feed on and tend to be attracted to decaying plant material. They’ll also eat healthy plants, moss, algae, pollen, other arthropods, and pantry foods.
Earwigs need to live in damp, cool, sheltered places, preferably near a reliable food source. They particularly like sources of cover and darkness where they can hide during the day. Since earwigs dig subterranean nests to lay eggs, they’re particularly interested in finding damp, loose topsoil. The ideal earwig environment combines all of these interests. Outside, they’re often found under mulch, damp leaves, rotting logs, or decaying plants.
Are they dangerous?
No. The pervasive myth that earwigs like to crawl into people’s ears at night is just that: a myth. In fact, earwigs want very little to do with people. When encountered, earwigs usually attempt to scuttle away from people and under cover. They may nip with their pincers if you attempt to pick them up or they feel threatened. Fortunately, this isn’t a major problem, because earwigs don’t have enough strength to break your skin.
Other than a slight pinch, earwigs can’t really endanger you or your family in any way. They don’t damage property, transmit diseases, or sting. Unless they’re present in large numbers, earwigs don’t even necessarily inflict significant damage to plants or trees. Earwigs are the quintessential “nuisance” pest – they’re not dangerous, just annoying.
What to do about them
The best way to prevent earwig infestations is to practice moisture control. Earwigs require damp or humid environments to stay active. If you can limit their access to places like these, they won’t be able to stay in your home. Keep an especially close eye on crawl spaces, basements, and first floor or basement bathrooms. Clear away sources of cover earwigs could use, patch up pipe and fixture leaks, and find and fix drafts.
When earwigs enter structures, it’s usually an accident. They crawl into topsoil, mulch, or fertilizer and find their way in through cracks or gaps in the perimeter of a home. Earwigs are attracted to places by wet, dark places like damp soil, compost, wood piles, or mulch. They feel comfortable getting closer to homes when they have cover like fallen branches, piles of leaves, or other lawn debris. If you can make your propertyless attractive to earwigs, fewer will end up in your home. Then, if you restrict their access, you’ll be able to prevent them entirely.
Hopefully, our earwig info has de-mythologized the (admittedly) freaky pest for you a little. They’re really not nearly as terrifying as they seem, and they’re not dangerous at all. That being said, we can’t blame you for not wanting them around.
Bugs LOVE a basement. They’re dark, quiet, warm, and usually pretty humid to boot. If you have a bug infestation in your home, chances are they’re hanging out downstairs. Basements are a little spooky even under better circumstances, so we’re guessing you’re not terribly pleased to hear this.
There’s more bad news. Some bugs like basements more than others. The ones that really like basements are some of the freakiest-looking bugs around. Before you burn your house down, however, consider: these bugs are mostly terrifying because you don’t understand them. They aren’t the most dangerous pests in Michigan, or the scariest, or even the most stubborn. They’re just the freakiest ones that are here. This is everything you need to know about the monsters in your basement. The more you know, the less afraid you’ll be (we hope).
We’ll grant you: earwigs look like they crawled directly out of a nightmare. They’re about two inches long, with dark brown, reddish bodies, creepy light orange extremities… and GIANT PINCERS ON THEIR BACKSIDES. Earwigs are actually harmless to humans (and definitely don’t crawl into people’s ears) but… yeah, we get why you’d want to give them a wide berth. These insects love basements because they’re attracted to darkness and humidity. They feed on decaying plant material and sometimes hunt other insects.
Earwigs can’t fly or climb very well, so if they entered your home, they did it from the ground level. They usually find cracks near window wells and frames, or cracks in the foundation of the home. Earwigs often end up behind wallpaper or crammed into basement insulation after they sneak through low gaps. If you have earwigs in your home, it’s probably because your basement has a humidity problem. Consider investing in a dehumidifier and look for leaks.
Silverfish are those tiny, silver-grey insects that really look more like shrimp than fish or bugs. Their long, thin bodies wiggle back and forth when they crawl, making it look like they’re swimming. “Silver” because of the color. “Fish” because of what they look like. Like earwigs, silverfish love moisture. They’re also attracted to warm and dark places where they can move around without being bothered. Silverfish are nocturnal, so chances are you’ll only see them at night.
Silverfish eat the starch naturally found in materials like paper, cotton, glue, carpeting, and other common household materials. They may also destroy clothing. Silverfish make use of their tiny size and thinness to get into homes. Usually, they sneak through narrow gaps in baseboards or flooring. They may even live inside walls if they can find a wide enough pathway. Humidity control is important for controlling silverfish, as is temperature control. Silverfish need temperatures of over 60℉ to breed.
Pillbugs are very small, black bugs that are about as wide as they are long. Their backs are made up of seven overlapping, segmented plates that look hard and shiny, like a beetle’s shell. Pillbugs roll into a ball to protect themselves when threatened. These “bugs” (they’re actually related to crabs!) are a common sight in gardens. They consume decaying vegetable matter beneath the top layer of soil. Most pillbugs live bury themselves several inches under soil, because they’re very temperature sensitive.
Pillbugs can’t climb sheer surfaces, so they only enter basements via the ground level of the home. Usually, they’ll find gaps under the soil, around baseboards, foundations, or siding. Once inside, pillbugs generally cover themselves by hiding under furniture, boxes, or other clutter. Pillbugs can only survive in a basement if they have a source of moisture. Check for plumbing leaks, condensation, or puddling, especially around corners and the bottom of the wall.
If basement pests are monsters, then you probably think of this guy as the “big bad”. House centipedes are inch long, tan-yellow bugs with very long longs. Those legs enable the bug to move very quickly, often in a rapid, darting motion. House centipedes are nocturnal predators that use their speed and venom-injecting claws to hunt other insects. These centipedes are capable of using these claws to “sting” humans too. The venom injected isn’t serious, but it hurts like a bee sting would.
House centipedes commonly follow their prey into homes through gaps near windows or cracks in the flooring or siding. Once they’re inside, they spend their days hiding and their nights hunting. Like most of the pests on this list, house centipedes love moist environments. Check for leaks and puddles in your basement, and consider a dehumidifier. Patching gaps may help with the humidity problem and deprive bugs of their access points at the same time.
We hope this blog helps you feel less afraid of venturing into the dark abyss that is your basement at night. Even if it doesn’t, however, at least now you can take action? Remember: your basement is your turf, not those bug’s. Even if house centipedes are just about the scariest things ever.
If you ever decide you need a little help with your basement monster slaying, feel free to call Griffin Pest Control anytime. We’re always happy to lend you our sword.