Silverfish is one of the most common pests in Ireland. As evident from its name, it has a silver-coloured body.
The name “silverfish” comes from their carrot-shaped, shiny grey body that makes them look like a fish. These insects have six legs and, they can grow up to 0.75 inches. Silverfish insects have no wings and can run at a rapid pace.
This insect is mainly reported in the US and Europe. As they tend to live in damp and moist areas like bathrooms and kitchens, they have become very common in houses in Ireland, and more recently in apartments.
Humans usually hardly notice them as they are mainly active at night.
1. What does a silverfish do?
Silverfish climb and run as well. They can live for many years and can spend a significant amount of time without consuming any food. Silverfish cannot live in areas without high levels of humidity. The optimum temperature in which this bug live is around 21 to 29 degree Celsius.
Slate roofs are the silverfish preferred area of the house for breeding in the summertime because they find lots of moisture, starch and dead insects that they can consume during this time.
Small silverfish cause problems in offices, schools, restaurants, etc. The way of entering these premises for the small silverfish is usually through the moving of cardboard boxes, especially if these boxes contain books or any product made from paper.
When these bugs reach a room, they will move around until they identify a source of food and then they tend to live close to this source.
The female silverfish can produce three eggs every day. The baby silverfish crack the egg open so that the little bug can come out of it. Silverfish inside the egg develops within 3 to 4 months and requires optimum temperature and humidity. Otherwise, it may take some years before it fully develops and comes out of the egg.
Another silverfish fact: they have a lifespan of 7-8 years!
2. Can silverfish cause harm to a person?
The answer is no because silverfish do not bite or spread any disease to humans. But they can damage your belongings, and primarily those made from paper. Silverfish insects also destroy materials such as wallpapers, books and printing paper. The reason is that these items contain glue and silverfish eat glue to live.
3. How can you know if there is a silverfish infestation in your house?
There are many signs of an infestation that are noticeable:
- Holes appearing on the edges of surfaces.
- Yellow stains present on light-coloured floors.
- Holes in various items of clothing.
If any of these signs are noticeable it is likely that your house has an issue with silverfish insects.
4. How can you get rid of silverfish?
Silverfish insects can settle in various areas around the house. Getting rid of silverfish is not a simple and easy task because they can climb and run well so they can easily hide from humans.
Still, several methods can be followed to help you get rid of silverfish:
- FOOD: Do not place your foods in the open. Place paper related items in briefcases or metal lockers. Keep dry items like cereals, beans and others inside airtight containers. When a silverfish do not find its food in one location, it will go to another area.
- You should clean your carpets and floors with a vacuum cleaner regularly, as this will remove even the smallest food particles.
- Place dehumidifiers in areas like bathrooms and basements, as they can reduce the levels of moisture in these areas and hence make the silverfish move to somewhere else.
- Make sure to install dampproof plastic sheeting under basement floors as this reduces the moisture in these areas.
- Make sure to place ridge vents appropriately on the roof of your house. It helps in reducing the levels of humidity in the house.
- Clean the gutters of your house regularly. Try to have the water drains installed away from your home.
- Paint the outside walls of your house using good quality weatherproof paint and make sure that any walls cracks are well caulked beforehand.
- If there are any sorts of cracks under your walls, ceilings and around windows, effectively seal them to reduce moisture.
5. How bad can a silverfish infestation get?
Silverfish insects don’t bite. However, you may be in a bit of trouble if you have silverfish at your place. Don’t presume they are harmless just because the bug doesn’t bite. A silverfish infestation can go bad as the points below mention:
- People with allergies don’t go live well with silverfish. They can aggravate allergies in some sensitive individuals.
- Silverfish don’t bite but they attract other bugs like carpet beetles. Carpet beetles can give you a rash, itchy skin, watery eyes, and running nose.
- Silverfish bugs feed on grains and paper. They have destructive feeding habits, often ruining clothing, wallpaper and other papers, etc. Silverfish feed on sugar, starch, and carbohydrates. They also feed on glue in books, silk, linen, shampoos, dead insects, and cellulose. Sometimes they are even present in unopened food packages.
- Silverfish reproduce so quickly that if you do not control their infestation in the early stages, you will make it much more difficult at a later stage.
6. Why do silverfish mostly live in houses?
There are several reasons why silverfish prefer to stay in houses or apartments.
- As mentioned above they prefer to live in houses because they find plenty of food and paper products.
- They can easily find different nooks and corners to hide.
- They love humidity, moisture, and damp areas. They find these spots in bathrooms, kitchens and sometimes even basements get infested with silverfish.
Although the tiny bug looks harmless, silverfish can severely damage your property, belongings and peace. It is highly recommended to get rid of them in the initial stages before the infestation gets bad. We hope you enjoy reading about our Silverfish facts!