Silverfish can be one of the most unsettling household pests to find in your home. Their scaly, creepy appearance and strange movement make them undesirable intruders, even if they don’t threaten humans. However, they are incredibly rapid breeders and can produce between two and 20 eggs in a day. They can also eat things like books, paper, and wood, which is why you might find them in your bookshelves and book bindings or around your window sills.
Knowing how to get rid of silverfish is a great way to keep your home sanitary and allow you to feel comfortable. Because they’re so ugly, silverfish can be alarming to come across, especially if you have an infestation.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Top 5 Ways to Keep Silverfish Away
- Top 3 Natural Solutions
- What Attracts Silverfish
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
Top 5 Ways to Keep Silverfish Away
Create a Jar Trap
While silverfish are known for eating things like paper and wood, they are also very attracted to starchy foods, which is why you might find them in your pantry around your bread. This can be an inconvenience, but you can also use this information to your advantage. Knowing what silverfish are attracted to can help you build a very effective trap.
To build a jar trap, put a piece of bread in the bottom of a tall glass jar. Then, wrap the jar in textured tape like masking tape or duct tape. The silverfish will climb up the outside walls of the jar to get to the food using the texture of the tape. However, once they are inside, they won’t be able to get back out due to the smoothness of the glass.
Make a Newspaper Trap
As with the bread, knowing where silverfish are most likely to want to nest can also help you trap them and get rid of them. Silverfish are very attracted to wet, pulpy materials, which is why places like your garage can be an ideal habitat for them. This is especially true if you have a lot of cardboard boxes or newspapers out there that get damp from the humidity.
You can use this information to your advantage and create a newspaper trap. To do this, simply wet a newspaper and roll it up into a relatively tight roll. Secure it with rubber bands if you need to. Silverfish will crawl inside and start to create their homes there after a day or two. When this happens, simply throw the newspaper out and reset the trap until your infestation is gone.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a useful substance to have in or around your home if you regularly deal with pests. This substance is made up of sedimentary rock and silica that has been made with fossilized organisms. It works because it cuts up the exoskeletons of pests that crawl over it, which causes them to die of dehydration.
You can spread diatomaceous earth around your home and under the thresholds of your doors. One of the major benefits of this method is that it is not toxic to your pets or children and can be used almost anywhere. You can also place it out in your yard in your potted plants to keep pests from eating them.
Seal Your Home
The best offense with silverfish is a good defense. By making sure your home is sealed up as much as possible, you can protect it from silverfish and other pests like cockroaches and rodents. This will be your best bet when it comes to preventing a silverfish infestation before it becomes a problem.
Start sealing your home by doing a thorough perimeter check. Go around your home and check for holes in your screens or the seams of your outside siding. Seal these up by replacing the screens or filling the cracks and crevices with caulk.
Silverfish love humid environments and will be most likely to infest places like your garage or attic due to the higher moisture levels. This is not only true of silverfish but also other pests like rodents and cockroaches. Most silverfish require a humidity level of about 75 to 90 percent, which is fairly moist and can easily be brought down using dehumidifiers.
Place one or two dehumidifiers in your home in some of the most humid areas. This will usually be in areas that don’t have a lot of ventilation, like the garage or basement, but they can also be effective in living areas.
Top 3 Natural Solutions
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are great, natural pest control solutions and work as well for silverfish as they do for any other type of pest. Cedar oil is especially effective, but things like peppermint oil and lemongrass oil can work just as well. Not only that, but they will also provide your home with a nice aroma that is a benefit to any homeowner.
When spreading the essential oils, make sure to put them in places that are out of the way and along the home’s perimeter. Baseboards and door thresholds are great places to spread these natural pesticides and can be incredibly effective in staving off other pests as well.
Spread Bay Leaves
Bay leaves work in essentially the same way as essential oils in that silverfish are repelled by them and will do anything they can to stay away from them. Like the essential oils, they will also give your home a pleasant smell that won’t be as overwhelming as some stronger oils.
Place your bay leaves in your pantry and around your dry foods like rice and bread to make sure silverfish don’t get into your kitchen cabinets. You can also place them in places like laundry rooms and other areas that tend to get very humid to make sure you don’t end up with a silverfish problem in there. This can be effective if you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a dehumidifier.
Spread Cedar Chips
Cedar shavings are a great way to get the same effect as the cedar oil but without constantly reapplying it. Cedarwood is very repellent to silverfish and acts as possibly the best natural deterrent that exists. You can place wood shavings in a bowl and put them around the home in places where silverfish are most likely to be in the first place.
Cedar chips can also be put in places where you might not want the strong aroma of essential oils. Closets and cupboards, which hold food sources for silverfish, often don’t have good ventilation, and cedar chips will protect without seeping into your clothing or food.
Silverfish are attracted mostly to damp places where they can easily find food and shelter. Because of this, your garage is going to be the number one place where you will find silverfish hiding and making their homes.
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What Attracts Silverfish?
Knowing what attracts silverfish is the best way to remove them. If you want to repel silverfish, removing anything that brings them into your house is a great first step and will allow you to make the right decisions regarding which of the above methods you should be using to get rid of them.
Silverfish are attracted mostly to damp places where they can easily find food and shelter. Because of this, your garage is going to be the number one place where you will find silverfish hiding and making their homes. Because they can procreate so quickly, even having just one female living in your garage can quickly turn into a serious infestation, so it is best to check these areas and make sure you are keeping them clean and dry as much as you possibly can.
Silverfish are also attracted to starchy foods like bread and rice. If you have a kitchen cupboard that holds these dry goods and is always a little bit damp from the steam of your stovetop, this is going to be an ideal place for them to make their nests. Because of this, you may end up with silverfish in your food, which is unsanitary and very creepy. When going through and trying the above methods for removing them, start with these places as they are the most likely to have an infestation.
By understanding the best methods for getting rid of silverfish, you can protect your home and make sure you and your family feel comfortable. Even though they aren’t dangerous or threatening to humans, they can still be a nuisance and give people the creeps, which is no fun for anyone.
Suppose you’re dealing with a silverfish infestation. In that case, your best bet is to contact a pest control professional. They will be able to help you get rid of the problem using insecticides and other methods and employ some more natural techniques. Plus, they’ll be able to help you make sure that you are continuously protected and that you don’t end up with a silverfish infestation in the future.