Silverfish Don’t Hurt Your Health, They’re Just Unsightly and Destructive to Your Possessions

Silverfish aren’t really a threat to your health, so who cares if you have them in your home?

Let me give you a few reasons you don’t want these insects in your world.

  • The silverfish eats materials that contain high levels of starch. This includes dextrin, which you find in glue, paper, pictures, your hair, sugar, and cereals.
  • Silverfish are unsightly creatures.
  • Silverfish are fast, and hard to catch.
  • Sometimes you’ll find them in your bed.
  • They’re tough to control, and get rid of.
  • The female lays one-to-four eggs every day.
  • They live an average of two years, and sometimes as long as 3-years.
  • They’re a native of the northern continent, and found around the world.
  • They live in most any building, occupied or not, and favor kitchens and bathrooms where the environment is warm and damp.

Silverfish hide during the day, mostly inside walls or behind furniture and appliances where it’s dark. They are most active at night.

Since they eat dextrin they’ll show up in your cereal sometimes, but they don’t really threaten your health so much as your possessions. A large population can destroy your library by eating the glue that binds the books together, and when the glue is gone they’ll start on the paper itself.

These bugs normally don’t bother you, unless they move into your bedroom and crawl across you as you lie in bed at night, but they’re ugly bugs. Guests might question your housekeeping skills when they see these creatures scampering around your walls.

As the female lays so many eggs each month, the population grows fast if left untreated. The silverfish is hard to control because of the rapid growth in population, the speed of the bugs, and the fact that pesticides only kill the adults. When the nest is inside walls treating the hatching young is an even more difficult task due to the difficulty of getting the chemicals into the proper locations.

Look for pheromone traps designed to capture silverfish. These are toxic so make sure you place them out of reach to children and pets. These traps still won’t affect eggs, but by catching the live bugs you shrink the number of females that lay those eggs.

Since silverfish prefer (and require) moist areas for survival, make sure you eliminate any leaks and other sources of dampness.

The best treatment I know of is dusting the nesting area with chemical powders.

Find the area where the most silverfish activity appears. Usually this is near a wall, and the nest is most likely inside that wall. You want to spray the powder inside the wall such that it creates a cloud of dust in the wall cavity. Just dumping a pile of powder on the floor only gets the bugs that actually crawl through the pile, getting the powder on their legs as they walk through. Spreading a cloud inside the wall puts the chemical in the air, and they inhale it as they breathe.

Start with a spray every couple of days to kill any eggs a week or more old. Eggs take 2 – 3 weeks to hatch, so some of the eggs there are up to three weeks old. Widen your spray schedule out to once a week two times, then spray one month later. Your problem should disappear. If not, start your dusting process again, and continue the procedure until you see no more silverfish.

Persistence is key for controlling these bugs, as it is in many of our successes in life.