The Survivalist Silverfish

The Survivalist Silverfish

One of the fun facts that pops up quite often in insect discussions is the fact that the cockroach has been around since the time of the dinosaurs. But did you know there’s an even more ancient bug? One that has learned to live and hide in the midst of humans – often without them even being aware?


We’re talking, of course, about the Silverfish.


Fish Out of Water


Their almost translucent, scale-like bodies and a wiggling run that resembles a fish moving through water give the insect its common name. They are silvery blue or sometimes greyish brown. They’re a little shorter than an inch long, not counting their antennas and rear bristles. While they cannot jump or fly, they rapidly scurry from place to place, mostly at night.


The insects prefer to be left alone in moist, humid areas with lots of food sources, which is one of the reasons they so often show up in storage spaces and units. They are found in places with less foot traffic, and lots of proteins, sugars and starches that they devour from boxes and book bindings. In way, they’re the ultimate preppers.


Too Many Fish in the… House


While they are usually brought into our homes and businesses by accident, their long life span and prolific procreation mean that just a few adult silverfish can rapidly become an infestation.


It takes about 2 years for baby silverfish to molt into adults. But once they have reached that ripe old age, they can lay somewhere between 2 and 20 eggs – per day. That’s a lot of babies in 3-5 years of life. And while they enjoy cereals and grains, as long as there are books, newspapers and clothing, they won’t starve...but they will become a nuisance.


Oh, and they remain active throughout the year, even in areas that have less than our subtropical Florida conditions.


A Nuisance, not Danger


While silverfish pose little danger to humans compared to other insects, they’re still not great as cohabitants. Their constantly shedding scales can activate allergies or accentuate the effects of asthma, especially in children.


Because of their survivalist diet, they tend to leave holes in books, both in dust jackets and pages, in clothing, especially vintage items, and in upholstery. And the larger the group of bugs, the more damage they do and the more rapidly they destroy.


Keep food items like coffee and sugar stored in airtight containers . Vacuum carpets and flooring regularly. Make sure water drains away from your house, and seal cracks and crevices around doors, windows and baseboards to help eliminate points of entry.


You’ll also want to eliminate excess moisture with a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers. The “Do Not Eat” silica gel packs that come in vitamins and some packages can be put in bookcases to help keep them protected, but make sure they’re out of children’s reach.


While there are numerous home remedies and old wives tales, most are barely effective, and only on individual silverfish. The odor of cinnamon, for example, may repel silverfish, but doesn’t eliminate them.


The only way to truly eliminate silverfish once you have an infestation is with a professional. The good news is, our most popular program, Perimeter Plus Green Pest Control works great at preventing and helping to eliminate silverfish, along with most of the other bugs you don’t want in your home.


It’s easy to get started, and once you’re in the program, we make tri-annual visits to ensure your home or business stays protected. And it’s all using risk-reduced, green pest solutions that have been effective for our customers from Punta Gorda to Ruskin. To schedule your first visit, just give us a call!

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