All about Silverfish

silverfishSilverfish are small insects often found in homes and libraries. They are gray or silver in color and are about quarter to half inch long. They have three filaments that extend from their rear. They are nocturnal insects and so they are not often seen by the homeowners.  They can jump easily and run fast. They feed on paper products, paste, glue and starched textiles. They also prefer vegetable matters that are rich in carbohydrate and protein content.

Silverfish is a wingless insect and has been in existence for around 300 million years around the world. It is considered to be the most primitive of all living forms. It is much older than the dinosaurs. The scientific name of silverfish is Lepisma Saccharina. It requires high humidity to survive.

Silverfish can be found anywhere in your home, but they normally prefer dark areas. The adult insect lays eggs in cracks and crevices. A female silverfish lays hundreds of eggs in her lifetime. The average lifespan of a female silverfish is two to eight years. The eggs take two weeks to two months to hatch. The temperature between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius is favorable for a female silverfish to lay eggs. It cannot reproduce, if the weather is too cold or dry. The shape of a young nymph similar to that of the adults, except for size.

The reproductive nature of silverfish has been studied only recently. The male insect lays a spermatophore, which is like a sperm capsule remains covered in a transparent case. The biochemical signals made by the spermatophore are recognized by the female silverfish and it takes up for fertilization through its ovipositor.

The silverfish feed on almost anything that contains starch or polysaccharides. They prefer book bindings, photos, hair, dandruff, sugar, glue and paper products. Sometimes, they may also feed on textiles and tapestries. Beef extract, linen, paste, synthetic fibers and dead insects are some other normal items of their diet. The interesting fact about silverfish is that it can live for longer periods without food. They can be commonly found in and around showers and baths. The sinks on the cellulose present in shampoos and shaving foams are also their favorite dwelling places. They can be found under refrigerators, well-heated toilets and crevices in the floor tiles.

Silverfish live outdoors under rocks, leaf mold, bark, ant and termite nests. They can also live in the nests of birds and mammals. However, they prefer to live indoors and they are considered a nuisance by homeowners.

There are many species of silverfish. They have silver to gray scales, depending on the type of species. They are much similar to firebrats. They have flat, elongated or oval bodies and two long antennae. They have three long antennae like structures at the tail. They are active at nights and usually hide at daytime.

The female silverfish continuously lay eggs, once it reached the adult stage. The eggs are deposited in small groups in cracks and crevices. They are whitish in color first and take the silver color, once they become adult. They continue to molt throughout their lifetime.

Silverfish are harmless, but they can contaminate food and damage loads of papers. They can even stain clothes. They tend to eat the paper products and can damage book bindings, wallpaper and curtains. Sanitation can help to control silverfish to some extent, but it cannot eliminate an infestation. The homeowner needs to employ some other method to get rid of large infestation.

Silverfish Removal

Silverfishes have to be eradicated as they can cause a lot of damage to clothes, rayon drapes, wallpaper and book bindings. Damaged portions appear like irregular patches of glaze on wall papers and other paper products. On fabric, we can find silverfish excrement, scales and yellow stains. Interestingly, silverfish is found to keep away from clothing made from animal fibers such as hair or wool.

Apart from these items, silverfish can also cause damage to mementos, photographs, cellulose items and valuable papers. They feed on carbohydrates too. Silverfish is found in moist and dark areas usually in the bathroom near the shower or under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Preventing a silverfish from coming into your home is relatively easier than removing them after they come in.

It is important to spray the crevices and cracks in your home with pesticides as silverfish usually lay eggs there.  While doing this you must be cautious and not use any sprays that are oil based near electric motors gas pilot flame to avoid any fire accidents.

Another silver fish removal tip is to spray old papers, books, cardboard boxes and wood stored for a long time with pesticide as these are places where silverfishes love to reside. Other areas you must take care to spray include underneath the sinks, baseboards, around steam pipes, shelves and closets.

A host of pesticides are available in the market you can use for eradication of silver fishes. If you do not want to use a spray, you can opt for the dust. Spray the corners and sides of the draperies with a light mist of insecticide.

There are various traps available in the market for trapping silverfish. You can use them effectively to remove them. Traps capture various insects such as the firebrats, bristletails and adult andnymphal silverfishes. As these insects run around your home trying to look for food, the traps intercept and trap them.

One of the best methods for keeping away silverfishes is to vacuum and clean many times and disposing of old papers on a regular basis. Silver fish removal tips include keeping Epsom salts in your cupboards. Epsom salts prevent silverfish from nesting. Other nesting places include dark places, insulation, wall partition and old newspapers. Throwing out old papers on a regular basis ensures silverfishes do not get an opportunity to nest.

Damages Caused By Silverfish

A silverfish infestation left untreated can damage photographs, wallpapers, book bindings, glues containing dextrin and textiles which looks as if they are irregularly torn by small kids. Cellulose being a constituent of shampoos and shaving foams attract silverfish to baths and sinks. This insect feeds on cotton, silk, linen and synthetic fibers. Leather items are no exception as food items for silverfish. They remain hidden in crevices, baseboards and furniture during day time.

Maintaining good sanitary conditions at home is a sure way of avoiding silverfish because this insect loves damp and cool environment. Controlling the humidity of the atmosphere inside the house is a good act in preventing the silverfish from breeding inside. All the cracks and crevices on the walls or woodwork have to be plugged giving no room for the insects to hide. It is more economical to prevent the damage caused due to silverfish than to eliminate them.

Many types of chemicals and baits are sold in the market that can destroy the insects and prevent their future entry into the house. A mixture of lavender and rosemary can effectively keep away this insect. Equal amounts of sugar and borax poison silverfish. The smell of sal ammoniac solution clears these pests from the room in a day. Insecticides sprayed into cracks and crevices kill silverfish. Dust insecticides spread in fine layer near storage cabinets and basements. People and pets have to keep away from these sites. Boric acid which is non-poisonous to human beings and pets help in killing silverfish.   

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