What is a silverfish? [Video]

Silverfish pest close-up

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.

You can learn more about how to keep silverfish out of your basement and what silverfish are.

Get Rid of Silverfish in Michigan

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!

How Can I Keep Silverfish Out of My Basement?

Silverfish in a basement corner

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. 

Silverfish in a basement corner

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. 

Silverfish on a book

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.

The Pests in Your Basement this Fall

Seal openings in your home to keep pests out.

Fall is prime pest season. All kinds of pests know winter is coming, and they’re scrambling to sneak into a warm place. Basements are a pest’s favorite hiding place. They’re dark, damp, temperature-controlled, and secluded. You’ll deal with more pests in fall than you do during other seasons. You’ll find more pests in your basement than you will in the rest of your home. You… probably see where this is going.

It’s unavoidable: all kinds of pests are going to try to get into your basement this fall. They’ll sneak, squeeze, and scramble in from any tiny opening they get as if their lives depend on it. Just because you can’t stop them from trying doesn’t mean you have to let them succeed, however. If you take action now, even the most audacious autumn pests won’t be able to bug you this fall. Here’s what you’re up against, and how to come out on top.

Silverfish

Silverfish are small, wingless insects with silver-grey, segmented bodies and bristled tails. They require highly humid environments to survive, so they’re a common basement-dweller all year long. During fall, they’re particularly attracted to your basement as a source of warmth. Silverfish prefer environments that are 70 to 80℉. They feed on starchy materials like wood, paper, glue, and linen. The silverfish in your basement probably huddle beneath a food source in a particularly damp, warm area.

If silverfish can’t access moisture, they’ll dry out and die. Try to figure out where the high humidity in your basement comes from. Look for drafts coming from windows, door frames, hatches, or vents. Make sure your sump pump works properly and doesn’t leak. While you’re at it, look for plumbing leaks and other sources of stray humidity, too. Controlling humidity won’t just help with silverfish; it’ll help repeal all kinds of other pests, too. Pests like…

cockroaches in your basement this fall

Roaches

Like silverfish, roaches are very attracted to humidity. They’ll often seek out kitchens, bathrooms, or basements in order to access the moisture they need to survive. The most problematic roach in Michigan–the German cockroach–also highly prefers warm temperatures. Like rodents (we’ll get to them), they’re very good at following the warmth back to its source. Once inside, roaches tend to hide near food sources during the day and come out to forage at night.

Unlike silverfish, roaches don’t stick to one area in your basement. Instead, they’ll migrate throughout your home. Since they’ll go anywhere, you’ll have to check everywhere. Look for plumbing leaks under sinks, against basement walls, and near utility lines. Roaches love hiding near leaks and food, so depriving them of cover helps, too. Elevate boxes and other storage materials and keep them in dedicated, organized spaces. The clearer and cleaner the floor, the fewer places roaches will have to hide.

Spiders

Michigan’s many spider species have similar habits: they follow the food. The best way for spiders to feed in fall is by following their prey into overwintering locations. Whether you have orb-weaving or hunting spiders, chances are they’re in your home chasing prey. Michigan’s spiders can’t survive winter without taking drastic steps, so infiltrating your home kills two birds with one stone. Spiders are highly proficient climbers, so they can find access points from any angle or elevation.

Spiders generally build their nests near bug “highways” in your home, where they’re most likely to catch prey. In fact, by tracking down webs you can track down these “bug highways” and do something about them. Look for access points such as small cracks and crevices near the cobwebs in your home. Patching these gaps denies pests a way in and spiders a food source at the same time. Keeping your basement clean and cobweb-free will help disrupt spider hunting, too.

mice and rats in your basement this fall

Rodents

Rats and mice are the fall pest to watch for. Rodents are extremely attuned to changes in temperature and air pressure. As soon as they feel summer temperatures changing, they start preparing for winter. They have to: rodents and mice need to spend winter in warm places in order to survive. As such, rats and mice spend pretty much all fall looking for ways into warm structures. Unfortunately, they’re… very good at it.

Rodents can actually track warm drafts or food smells around a home’s perimeter until they find small openings. Rodents primarily find openings near utility lines, window and door frames, and vents. Check around these areas and seal them off with caulk or steel wool as necessary. Replace old weatherstripping and worn vent covers. Finally, vacuum, mop, and sweep your home diligently all fall and winter. It’s difficult to keep rodents from smelling your food, but you can keep them from getting it.

Even in the midst of pest season, it’s important to remember: keeping your basement pest-free is never impossible. It might seem like there’s “always another way in,” but there’s not. If you keep following pest control tips like these, you can make your basement a pest-free zone.

If you ever need help removing your current pests or keeping future ones out, give Griffin a call. We’ll help make sure you can enjoy your fall to the fullest–without worrying about pests in your basement.

What are Silverfish?

Signs of Pantry Pests in Kalamazoo |  Griffin Pest Solutions

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?

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?

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?

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?

How do 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.

If you need help dealing with that infestation, or any other infestation for that matter, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call today. We offer silverfish exclusion and elimination services guaranteed to keep the insidious insect away from you for good.

Michigan’s Most Common Summer Pests

Mosquito swarm

By now, you don’t need us to tell you which pests are the most active this summer. In fact, you probably never want to think about these four pests ever again. For these four particularly prevalent pests, the heat and humidity of Michigan’s summer is paradise. They’ve been growing, breeding, spreading… and probably bothering you like there’s no tomorrow.

No matter how bad the bugs, however, you don’t have to suffer them without recourse. Even at their most populous, there’s always a reason why pests choose a particular place to infest. If you can make sure you don’t provide them with what they want, they’ll leave you alone. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your least favorite nuisances away from you this summer.

Mosquitoes

mosquitoes in summerMosquitoes are so prevalent in summer for a couple reasons. First, they either hatch in spring or start reproducing. Either way, it means a lot of mature mosquitoes come early summer. Hot weather also allows mosquitoes to grow through their life cycles faster. They hatch faster, grow faster, and reproduce faster. The hotter and more humid the environment, the more mosquitoes breed. The more mosquitoes breed, the more mosquitoes hunt for blood and bother you.

Mosquitoes need moisture to stay active, breed, and lay eggs. They prefer to live and hunt near sources of standing, stagnant water. You’d be surprised just how many sources of stagnant water mosquitoes can find and use. Any kind of ditch, basin, or bucket can collect water, and mosquitoes only need the tiniest amount. Look for and remove sources of water mosquitoes could use to reproduce or lay eggs, outside and inside. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes!

Ticks

ticks in summerSeveral different factors conspired in 2018 to give us the worst tick season in years. Weather from La Niña produced a milder winter and an earlier spring. The mild weather allowed ticks to emerge and lay eggs much sooner than usual. In addition, the white-footed mouse population grew substantially last year. Small rodents like the white-footed mouse are a great food source for ticks. Between the weather and food availability, 2018 is a perfect storm for tick activity.

Ticks hunt by climbing shrubs and grasses. From their perches, the ticks simply wait for their prey to walk by and then grab onto it. The fewer places they have to hunt, the harder it will be for ticks to infest your property. Keep grass, shrubs, and bushes trimmed short during tick season. Take care to wear bug spray, long pants, and long sleeves when you’re in an area where ticks might live. Always check yourself for ticks after spending time outside. Tick-borne diseases are on the rise this year, so keeping yourself safe from ticks is more important than ever.

Silverfish

silverfish in summerUnlike the other pests on this list, silverfish aren’t more prevalent during summer because of their natural lifecycle. Silverfish live for two to three years or more and produce more 50 offspring each. They can remain active and reproduce as long as they have access to warmth, darkness, and humidity. They seem more active in summer because heat and humidity let them move around more and stay out longer.

Silverfish are nocturnal and live in dark, humid, and secluded places. Indoors, you’re most likely to find them in places like your basement, attic, closets, or crawl spaces. Often, you’ll find them under furniture, boxes, bags, and other stored materials. They’ll generally stay close to food sources, such as flour, cereal, fabric, paper, clothing, paste, glue, or paper. Controlling your home’s humidity is the best way to keep silverfish out. Find and correct moisture problems like leaking pipes, especially in at-risk areas like your basement. Reducing the number of hiding places silverfish could access and depriving them of food will also help.

House flies

house flies in summerHouse flies become especially prevalent in summer because they begin reproducing in late spring. Mother house flies deposit up to 150 eggs on an appropriate food source, such as garbage. During the heat of summer, these eggs hatch very quickly–sometimes only hours after they’re laid! House flies grow faster in hot weather during every other stage of their development, as well. In summer, house flies can complete their entire four-stage life cycle in as few as 7 to 10 days.

If you seem to have a house fly problem, it’s probably because they are laying eggs in your home. House flies lay eggs on food sources, which is usually garbage. House flies can only eat liquids, but they can liquefy various food items such as sugars and starches. Keep all your garbage in sealed plastic bags. Rinse out any liquid containers before you throw them out. Take garbage out to your outdoor dumpster frequently, and make sure it doesn’t spill.

 

Hopefully, these tips prove that no summer infestation is too intense to beat. Know your enemy and follow these strategies, and you can enjoy a pest-free summer. That pest-free summer can be this summer. Don’t give up!

If you need a little help driving out your pests once and for all, give Griffin a call any time. We’ve dealt with these all-too-common pests for plenty of summers before, and we’re happy to deal with them again.

What Are Those Bugs in Your Basement?

Bugs in your basement

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).

Earwigs

earwigWe’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

silverfishSilverfish 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

pillbugPillbugs 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.

House Centipedes

house centipedeIf 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.