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!
Silverfish are attracted to humidity, darkness, and the carbohydrates in starchy material. To keep them out, deprive them of these things. Make sure your basement is dehumidified, dry, and well-insulated. Keep anything you’re storing in the basement in hard plastic containers, and elevate those containers off the ground.
If you have silverfish, chances are they’re hiding in your basement. Basements are a silverfish paradise because they provide all the food, shelter, darkness, and humidity the pests could want. Keeping these pests away from your home means finding a way to make your basement less appealing. Here’s what you should know to do exactly that:
What are silverfish?
Silverfish are several different species in the Zygentoma order of insects. The most common silverfish is the Lepisma saccharina. Silverfish are small, silver or grey insects with no wings, long antennae, and even longer bristles on their tails. The insects’ shiny scale-like segments and distinctive zigzag movement patterns make them resemble fish or shrimp.
Silverfish aren’t dangerous, but they can be slightly destructive when they feed. They could feed on stored food, books, boxes, clothing and other fabric, and a wide variety of other materials. As they feed, they’ll damage the material they feed on. They’ll also leave behind droppings, shed skin, and other waste products.
Why are silverfish in my basement?
Silverfish are attracted to warm, humid environments. They need a 70 to 80℉ environments to stay fully active. The more humid the environment, the longer they can remain active. Their ideal environment has 75 to 95% relative humidity. Basements are frequently the only part of a home that satisfies both of these requirements at once.
Most silverfish species are naturally nocturnal. They spend days hiding and come out at night to forage for food. To hide out successfully, they like to live in dark, secluded places where they won’t be bothered while they rest. If they can rest and hide around their food sources, that’s even better. The pests aren’t particularly picky when it comes to food. The stuff in your basement usually does nicely.
How do silverfish get into my basement?
Silverfish either sneak into homes themselves or you accidentally transport them inside yourself. They’re flat, thin, flexible pests and they can easily squeeze through tight places. Some follow utility lines like plumbing pipes until they reach small gaps they can follow into a home. They may also follow drafts coming from frames, base boarding, or the foundation.
People frequently transport pests inside because they don’t realize the pests (or their eggs) are hiding in their boxes. Silverfish spend days remaining perfect still in cramped, dark hiding places. They’ll frequently hide in commonly-transported materials such as cardboard, paper, boxes, bags, books, and more. After you inadvertently bring them inside, they’ll spread out, eat, grow, and mate inside your home.
Where do silverfish go once they’re in my basement?
Upon establishing themselves, silverfish spread throughout your basement. Often, the pests work themselves into the most secluded, humid, hidden corners in order to eat and hide continuously. Look for them beneath cardboard boxes, nestled in bookbinding and other stored paper products, and even inside storage materials. Female silverfish also lay their eggs in small crevices near food sources in secluded places.
If you’re unsure if you have an infestation, start looking for them by unpacking anything you’re storing in your basement. Go through all the cardboard boxes, paper or plastic bags, or other storage containers you keep downstairs. Silverfish usually nestle themselves in food sources to hide during the day. They might suddenly run away from you when revealed. Make sure you check beneath furniture and in corners, too, especially around utility lines.
How can I can keep silverfish out of my basement?
Controlling humidity is the best way to control silverfish. If you can dry the pests out, they won’t be able to live in your basement. Look for drafts, plumbing leaks, runoff, and other sources of excess moisture. Make sure pipes and fixtures don’t drip condensation and keep all storage materials dry. Replace weatherproofing once every couple of years, and make sure your basement is very well insulated. Consider investing in a dehumidifier if you’re having trouble keeping things dry.
While you’re patching drafts, look for other possible cracks and gaps. Check around door and window frames, base boarding, utility lines, and the foundation If a gap is large enough to see, it’s probably large enough for the pests to exploit. Finally, make food as inaccessible as possible. Elevate all storage material and keep paper, fabric, and other starchy materials in hard plastic containers. If silverfish have nothing to eat and nowhere to hide, they won’t stick around.
Once established, silverfish can be very difficult to remove. They’re small, fast, sneaky, and very good at finding the best hiding places in your basement. Don’t worry, though: as good as silverfish are at hiding, we’re even better at finding them.
Give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time you want to wipe out your infestation once and for all. Our experts will help you keep silverfish out of your basement–and the rest of your home–for good.
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.