by Anza Goodbar
(last updated February 17, 2012)
Silverfish and their close relative the firebrat are pests than can cause damage to everyday items in your home. They thrive in a dark humid environment like basements and attics. Standing or leaking water is an open door for them as they require moisture to survive.
Silverfish only hatch about 50 eggs at a time, and most females reproduce less than 100 eggs in her lifetime, so infestations take awhile to grow. It takes an egg anywhere from two weeks to two months to hatch. It can take up to three years for the insect to gain full maturity. So, if caught in time, the infestation can be controlled.
The best place to start is food supply. Keep your kitchen clean. Clean up spills immediately and take out the trash regularly. Do not allow dishes to sit in a sink soaking in water, this will attract them to your home. Keep your yard free of moist dark places like wood piles and piles of leaves.
Silverfish can live up to a year without food. They enjoy eating cereal grain and starches so keep all food stored in air tight containers made of glass or plastic. They will also eat other starchy substances found in paper, book glue, wallpaper glue, and synthetic substances like carpeting.
Next, check for leaky pipes or faucets and standing water. Moisture is essential for their survival. Keep the attic and basement well ventilated by using fans or dehumidifiers. If you don't have small children or pets, seal the cabinets under the kitchen and bathroom sinks with silica gel. Be sure to fill all holes, corners and cracks to prevent entrance. Use bleach when cleaning to keep mold in the bathrooms to a minimum.
Silverfish do not like heat and light. They prefer temperatures ranging between 60-80 degrees. If possible heat up or cool down the rooms you have infestations in to drive them to an area where they can be controlled. Keep the lights on and they will flee to a more habitable environment.
Keep in mind that silverfish will use any small hole or crack to gain access into your home. Look around doors, base boards and flooring to find cracks and seal them. Silverfish will also use these small crevices to hide their eggs after mating.
Normally it will take a combination of preventative measures and spraying to rid your home of these pests. Before spraying be sure that their source for water and food have been removed and the humidity in the house has been significantly reduced. Read the label of the insecticide to be certain it is formatted for silverfish. Look for sprays that use cypermethrin. Leave a film on surfaces so they can work for several months.
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