Although the desert isn’t the best place for silverfish to live outdoors, the interior of your home certainly is. Although they’re not as dreaded as other pests, seeing them scattering on your countertops, closets, or walls isn’t pleasant. Finding holes in your favorite clothes, books, or furniture might be even less so.
What Silverfish Look Like
Hairy, long and thin, silverfish can be silver, tan, or brown. Their triple tails are long and thin. The adults range from a half to three-quarters inches long. They move like fish as they run, which they do quickly and will disappear inside the smallest cracks where it’s safer. As nocturnal insects, you probably won’t see them unless you turn on a light late at night. When they appear, they’re scrounging for food.
What They Eat
Silverfish are primarily vegetarians who prefer carbohydrates in the form of sugar, flour, glue, paper and cardboard, silk and linen. They will eat dead bugs and skin periodically. They don’t spread diseases like cockroaches do, but still, seeing them on your counters or inside the closets is disconcerting.
These bugs often inhabit libraries and new and resale bookstores. They’re easy to bring home in boxes and bags. People have reported finding the insects inside sealed cereal and cracker boxes.
The Damage They Do
These insects will ruin whatever they eat. Even though they don’t carry diseases, throw away any food whose boxes or wrappers they’ve chewed through. They will leave holes in paper, natural fabrics (including cotton), and eat your food.
The Right Conditions
Besides the damage they cause, the same conditions that make life good for them also provide a good environment for more serious pests like roaches. The presence of ready moisture and insects also attract scorpions. They sense moisture and sniff out insect infestations from a distance. The best way to keep cockroaches and scorpions away from your home is to keep the perimeter dry and the interior bug-free.
How to Prevent an Infestation
Search your home for plumbing leaks in the form of dripping faucets, bad seals around toilet rings, or pipe leaks inside the walls. Silverfish can go a year without eating, but like other insects must have water close by to survive. Look under the sinks for loose pipe fittings and around the base of toilets for moisture.
Water leaks at outdoor spigots may attract them and if there are cracks in the exterior walls nearby, the silverfish would have the best of both worlds: A quick trip outdoors for water and a comfortable life inside the walls, cabinets or closets. Since they can find something to eat in nearly every room in your home, they don’t have to go far to meet their basic needs.
If you’ve seen more than one silverfish in your home, consider plugging the sinks and tubs at night to keep them from crawling into the drains for a drink. A call to Budget Brothers Termite & Pest will put you in touch with Valley experts in silverfish control and eradication.
Seal any cracks you have around the foundation and the gaps where pipes and wires enter the home. Silverfish can crawl through cracks as thin as a credit card. Look for daylight around the exterior door frames and apply fresh weatherstripping if the existing material is worn. You may need to attach a door sweep to gaps at the base of the door to keep them from entering.
If you have problems with silverfish or any other pests, call Budget Brothers Termite & Pest to eradicate pests in your home.