Silverfish on wall in Michigan | Griffin Pest Control

What are Silverfish?

Despite being one of the most widespread pests around, many people don’t know much about silverfish. This can make them seem like a scarier pest than they are, but don’t worry, they’re fairly harmless. The name “silverfish” refers to two of the insects’ highly distinctive characteristics. First, their bodies are covered in shiny, almost metallic-looking segments. Second, the insect moves in a distinctive, back-and-forth manner, which makes them look like fish swimming in water. 

If you see silverfish in your basement, we understand why you want them gone. Even though they’re harmless, they’re creepy too. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about silverfish in Michigan, including how to keep silverfish out of your basement.

Why are Silverfish in My Basement?

To understand how to get silverfish out of your basement, let’s figure out why they’re in there in the first place. Silverfish are attracted to warm, humid environments, and the carbohydrates in starchy materials like cardboard and old paper. These are things that are often found in abundance in basements.

Silverfish can easily sneak into homes themselves. 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, baseboards, or the foundation.

People also frequently transport silverfish inside because they don’t realize the pests (or their eggs) are hiding in their boxes. 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. 

The more warm and 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.

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How Do I Prevent Silverfish in My Basement?

Humidity control is a huge part of it. 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.

Here are some other ways to prevent silverfish from getting into 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. 
  • Fix sources of moisture accumulation like leaking plumbing, condensation, or puddles. 
  • Consider investing in a dehumidifier if you’re having trouble keeping things dry.
  • Look for other possible cracks and gaps and patch them up with caulk. Silverfish don’t need much space to squeeze inside.
  • 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. 
  • Make food as inaccessible as possible. Elevate all storage materials 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.

Where Do Silverfish Go in My Basement?

Upon establishing themselves, silverfish spread throughout your basement. Often, the pests work themselves into the most secluded, humid, hidden corners where they can eat and hide in peace. 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.

Most silverfish species are nocturnal. They spend days hiding and come out at night to forage for food. If they can rest and hide during the day in a quiet basement that has food sources nearby, that’s everything they could want. Silverfish aren’t particularly picky when it comes to food. The stuff in your basement usually does nicely.

Are Silverfish a Seasonal Summertime Pest?

Silverfish are often referred to as a seasonal summertime pest, but they’re not a “true” seasonal pest. They seem like they’re more prevalent in the summertime, but this is because of their lifecycle. Silverfish live for two to three years or more and produce approximately 50 offspring each. They remain active as long as they have access to a warm, dark, and humid environment. Naturally, since there’s more warmth and humidity in the summertime, they’re able to move around more and stay out longer, which makes it seem like they’re summertime pests.

How Do You Know If You Have a Silverfish Infestation?

If you spot one or two silverfish around the house and want to know if it’s the beginning of 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. 

Do Silverfish Bite?

No, they don’t bite humans. Silverfish are the very definition of a nuisance pest – they’re annoying, but they don’t bite, pinch, spread disease, or cause significant damage. 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.

Questions About Silverfish Prevention in Your Basement?

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. 

If you need help dealing with a silverfish infestation, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call today. Our experts will help you keep silverfish out of your basement – and the rest of your home – because it’s your home, not theirs.

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