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.
Easily the most common pest problem people deal with every day are flies in their kitchen. It makes sense: kitchens and other food storage areas naturally tend to create ideal fly infestation conditions. There are even all kinds of different common flies, and they’re all looking for something a little different. The trick to keeping flies away is figuring out what that “something” is and making sure they can’t get it.
Start by figuring out which kind of fly is bothering you. Chances are, it’s one of the four particularly pernicious pantry pests we’ve listed below. Once you’ve identified your nemesis, follow the steps below to deprive them of what they want. Don’t give up; a fly-free future is possible! Here’s how to keep four of the most common kitchen flies from bothering you anymore:
House flies are dark grey flies with four black stripes on their slightly hairy thoraxes. They’re around ⅛ to ¼” long and round or oval-shaped. The easiest way to identify a house fly is to look for their prominent red eyes. Usually, you’ll notice a house fly infestation when you see one of the flies near your garbage or food. You may also find small cream-colored eggs or larvae laid on food material.
House flies are a problem because they transmit hundreds of pathogens via their saliva and waste. They also soil food products by laying eggs inside of them. Fruit flies are naturally attracted to water, sugar, broth, and soluble food stuff, which they feed on and lay eggs in. The best way to prevent house flies is to make these breeding sites inaccessible. Keep garbage sealed and dispose of it before it begins to rot. Rinse out bottles and cans before you throw them away. Store food like grains and pasta in sealed plastic containers.
Blowflies (or bottle flies) are small, round flies that are metallic green, blue, or copper-colored. Their metallic-looking bodies are slightly iridescent and make them relatively easy to spot. They’re usually only around ¼ to ½” long. Blowflies congregate on dead, decaying, or rotting things in great numbers. They tend to be particularly noticeable outside during the summer. If you have them inside, they’re probably flying around either your garbage or some other source of rotting material.
Like house flies, blow flies are a problem primarily because they transmit diseases. Blowflies also reproduce astonishingly quickly. A large number of flies can inhabit a food source in a short period of time. When you have a blowfly problem, the first thing you should check is your garbage. Dispose of all your garbage and rinse out your cans and dumpsters. Look for and remove any sources of decaying organic material such as pet feces or fertilizer.
Fruit flies or vinegar flies are tiny (⅛” long), very light tan flies with almost translucent bodies. Like house flies, their prominent, bright red flies are their most distinguishing feature. Fruit flies are attracted to any organic material that’s ripe, fermenting, or otherwise moist. They reproduce and lay eggs in any thin film of moisture on top of fermenting material. A single female fruit fly can lay 500 eggs. These flies have extremely short life spans and reproduce extremely quickly.
Fruit flies are primarily considered nuisance pests, but like other flies, they can also contaminate food sources with pathogens. Any food that could produce condensation could attract fruit flies and foster fruit fly growth. Pay close attention to where you’re throwing away food, especially fruits and vegetables. Even small sources of moisture like spilled fruit juice could attract literally thousands of fruit flies. Dispose of any overripe or rotting food regularly, and rinse out your garbage cans once a month.
Cluster flies like the common cluster fly (Pollenia rudis) usually enter homes during the fall. They look very similar to common house flies, except they have patches of bright yellow hair under their wings. During spring and summer, they reproduce and lay eggs in the soil. Cluster flies produce three to four generations in a mating season. During fall, adult cluster flies attempt to enter enclosed and protected areas in order to survive winter.
Cluster flies are largely considered nuisance pests, similar to other overwintering nuisance pests such as stink bugs. They don’t damage your home or transmit diseases. Their bodies or waste may attract other pests to the areas they inhabit, however. The best way to keep cluster flies out of your home is to block their common entry points. Seal cracks around windows, doors, thresholds, and utility lines. Repair or replace damaged screens. Patch up cracks in chimneys or roofing shingles.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and you still have a fly problem, don’t despair. There’s a reason why flies continue to be the most common pest problem in the US. The frustrating little bugs are very good at getting theirs. Luckily, we’re even better at stopping them.
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 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!
Several 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.
Unlike 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 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 hoursafter 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.
It’s finally summer, and you’re going to want to spend some time outside. Unfortunately, if you actually want to enjoy your time outside, you’ll have to do something about bugs. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or just lounging around the beach, bugs are a serious concern in the summer. Luckily, all it takes to enjoy a bug-free day outside is a little preparation and common sense. That’s where we come in.
These are our top four outdoor bug safety tips for summer. Next time you’re planning a nice day outdoors, review these important safety tips. Imagine: you’ll never have to itch another bug bite again! Follow these tips, and the dream could come true this summer.
Use bug spray appropriately
Yes, there are right and wrong ways to use bug spray. Applying bug spray effectively is easily the most effective way to keep bugs away while you’re outdoors this summer. Here are the bug spray “dos” and “don’ts” you should know.
Carefully read and follow the directions listed on your specific bug spray.
Apply the spray as directed by the spray’s instructions.
(Generally) mist the spray over your body and clothing from a distance.
Make sure to hit exposed parts of your body, such as your arms, legs, and neck.
Re-apply the spray exactly as often as the instructions direct you to.
Wash off the spray as soon as you’re no longer outside.
Apply the spray to your face, mouth, eyes, hands, ears, or mouth.
Apply the spray to wounds or broken skin.
Ingest or breathe in the spray.
Apply the spray to areas of your body that will be covered by clothing, such as your chest or stomach.
Attempt to use the spray to kill bugs that come near you.
Cover vulnerable areas
Mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects naturally target some parts of the human body more than others. In some cases, it’s because these areas are the most accessible or the easiest to sneak to. In other cases, it’s because skin is thin on certain parts of the body, so it’s easier to sting through.
The ankles, lower legs, back of the knees, armpits, neck, and ears ears are particularly vulnerable to bug bites. It’s a good idea to cover these areas with clothing while outside, even if you’re regularly applying bug spray. Wear high socks, long pants, long sleeves, and hat when you’re spending time in heavily bug-infested places.
Avoid bug hot spots
No matter where you’re going, there are ways you can stay out of the most bug-infested areas. Ticks use tall grass and other low-to-mid height plant life to hunt or “quest.” They climb to the top of the grass and wait for unsuspecting prey to wander by. Staying out of tall grass or heavy vegetation will help you avoid the worst tick risks while outside.
Mosquitoes live in shady, dark areas near water. Avoid spending too much time in heavily forested areas or near pools of stagnant water like bogs. In general, try to stay out of (or at least don’t linger in) overgrown areas. Stay out in the open, preferably on high ground with well-kept landscaping.
Don’t attract bugs to you
All kinds of stuff can attract different kinds of bugs. Some of it is obvious: sugary foods attract ants, wasps, and other carb consumers. Light sources draw in moths. Flies will flock to garbage and rotting food. Some of it is less-than-obvious, however. Water and especially beer attract mosquitoes, gnats, and fruit flies, especially if you leave it out.
Any experienced camper knows you have to think about how to protect food and supplies from wildlife. Think of this the same way, but with bugs instead of bears. Take some time to consider how you’re transporting and storing the stuff you bring outside with you. Make sure liquids are sealed up properly when you’re not drinking them. Store food in airtight, covered containers that don’t let the smell escape. Move garbage away from where you’re staying.
All four of these tips have something in common: they’re very simple! Protecting yourself against summer bugs isn’t complicated, even if you’re deep in their territory. Always keep bugs in mind when you’re outside, and you won’t have to think about them about when you’re itching bites later.
That covers the outdoors, but what about inside? Well, Griffin has your back there, too. If you have a bug infestation problem in your home, give us a call any time. We have the tools and experience to take care of any pest infestation, so you can get back to enjoying your summer.
If summer ever feels too good to be true, then consider summer bugs the catch. All kinds of bugs naturally grow and thrive in the heat and abundance. Add Michigan’s seasonal humidity to that mix, and you have a pest paradise. Paradise for these pests, specifically.
These are four of the pests that Michigan will have the most trouble with this summer. Here’s why these pests love summer, what they’re up to, and how to keep them away from you.
When you think “summer bugs,” you almost certainly think of mosquitoes first and foremost. It’s not hard to understand why. There are over fifty mosquito species in Michigan, and they’re more-or-less all very active in summer. Lucky us. Some mosquito species start reproducing in spring. They lay eggs in puddles and other sources of “spring water” left behind by melting snow and rainfall. In general, the more standing water they have access to, the greater the mosquito population will be in summer.
Unfortunately, many mosquito species don’t stop reproducing in summer. Mosquito larvae grow faster in hot weather, so they’ll mature quickly, reproduce, and begin the cycle yet again. Mosquitoes thrive during hot, humid, and wet summers. You can’t really keep mosquitoes from thriving, but you can keep them away from you. Clean up sources of standing water near or inside your home. Make sure your window screens and frames seat properly. Address sources of excess humidity such as plumbing leaks or drafts.
Japanese beetles are an invasive species that can inflict serious damage on lawns, turf, and ornamental plants. Their grubs feed on the roots of grass, and adults eat foliage. Both grub and adult feeding habits may interfere with your plant’s ability to withstand the hot weather of summer. Larval Japanese beetles hibernate underground during winter. During spring, they begin eating roots until they store enough energy to pupate. By late June or early July pupation completes and the beetles emerge from the ground as adults.
Adult Japanese beetles are a particular problem for a couple reasons. First, they often skeletonize the foliage of the plants they feed on. Next, they produce a pheromone that attracts other beetles to plants. They also tend to reproduce and lay eggs near where they eat. That means if you have beetles this year, you’ll probably have them next year, too. If you see beetles on your plants this summer, spray them with soapy water to scare them off. The soap will also counteract the pheromone, so new beetles won’t replace the ones you sprayed away.
Wasp queens become active in late spring, when temperatures rise to a consistently hospitable temperature. During early-to-mid summer, wasps largely remain near their nests. Workers leave to hunt for food every day to bring food back to support wasp larvae. Wasps are highly defensive of their nests while larvae develop inside them. The majority of wasp stings in mid summer occur when people accidentally disturb a nest.
By late summer, wasp queens will finish laying eggs, and the colony’s behavior will change. The year’s final brood grow into the next generation of wasp kings and queens. Once they leave the nest, the workers no longer have to worry about feeding and fostering young. Instead, they range further and spend their time hunting and eating. They tend to sting more people during this stage, especially if people startle them near their food. If you you have a wasp’s nest on your property, have a professional remove it as soon as possible.
Several types of common flies thrive and proliferate in summer. These flies are sometimes called “filth flies,” because they’re attracted to rotting garbage and waste. Filth flies like the house fly seem so abundant in summer because they spend the whole season reproducing. These flies complete their entire life cycle in only seven to 14 days. A single summer season may see literally hundreds of generations of filth flies born.
Fly infestations begin when flies find a place to lay their eggs indoors. House flies lay batches of 75 to 100 eggs at a time. Flies look for secluded, dirty places to lay their eggs. Usually, they find garbage, either in the dumpster or in cans. They may also infest clogged garbage disposals. Make sure your garbage is as sanitary and inaccessible as possible. Keep all garbage in sealable plastic bags, preferably inside sealed bins. Take garbage out to your dumpster frequently. Don’t let garbage pile up, either inside or in your dumpster.
No matter how inescapable they seem, you shouldn’t have to suffer bugs like these this summer. Following these steps will help you protect yourself from summer bugs, no matter how many assail you.
If you do end up with a summer bug infestation, however, remember that you always have help in Griffin Pest Solutions. No matter how entrenched or expansive the bug invasion, we’ll wipe it out quickly and effectively. We want to help you enjoy a bug-free summer!