If you notice that you have a silverfish problem, you will want to take care of the problem immediately, as silverfish bugs reproduce rapidly, causing their numbers to grow exponentially. Unfortunately, it is difficult determining the severity of the infestation because these insects are night crawlers and they hide out in places like baseboards, crawlspaces, under sinks—basically anywhere there is high humidity.
When you are trying to tackle the problem, you are going to want to kill both the adult silverfish as well as their young. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be a one and done process—it may take several attempts if you are doing the extermination yourself.
The Natural Repellants
Once you’ve figured out the location of the infestation (hint: wherever you find their food source, they will be nearby), you will want to use any one of these products:
Citrus Sprays. You don’t want to use a citrus smelling cleaner because they aren’t organic and they will not work to repel the silverfish bugs.
Spices. Another scent that silverfish bugs dislikes are strong smelling spices like bay leaves, whole cloves, and sage. Put these spices in a cheesecloth satchel anywhere you spot the bugs. It’ll discourage them from coming back.
Mothballs. Just like citrus spices and spices, these bugs don’t care for the scent.
The Chemical Exterminators
Boric acid has a low toxicity when it is diluted in a solution, which makes it safe to use near your loved ones and pets. The acid kills the silverfish because it dehydrates them and it is also toxic if the silverfish digests it. There have been some scientists who are concerned about the use of boric acid if it is used in high concentrations, so we recommend you do some research first before using the acid.
Another option you have to eliminate silverfish from your home is by calling a professional expert to use commercial pesticides. If you have a bad infestation of the bugs, this should be your first course of action. Of course, you will want to do your due diligence and find a reputable exterminator who has experience with silverfish bug extermination.
How To Prevent Future Silverfish Infestations
After going through the process of exterminating silverfish, you’ll want to take precautions that will prevent them from coming back. For long-term prevention, you can:
- Keep the perimeter around your home’s foundation clear of any leaves or debris where there is excessive dampness.
- Seal up any cracks or crevasses that could allow the bugs access to your home.
- Upgrade the bathroom exhaust fan so it will be more efficient at removing the humidity after a shower.
- Use a couple dehumidifiers throughout your home.
- Avoid leaving piles of paper, cardboard, or magazines laying around.
- Store clothing in a sealed bin or bag.
Silverfish Bug Round-Up
Silverfish aren’t necessarily dangerous or harmful to you or your home, but they can be a nuisance, especially if they get into your food or eat up papers or clothing that hasn’t been stored away properly.
If you do find a few of these insects in your basement or under the bathroom sink, you’ll want to take measures to kill them before the problem gets out of hand, which may happen a lot sooner than you might expect, thanks to the silverfish’s ability to reproduce rapidly.
When choosing the best method of getting rid of these bugs, we recommend that you use a combination of natural methods as well as using a chemical treatment too. Hopefully, by doing this soon enough, you won’t have to call in the professionals!
Additional Silverfish Resources:
- Silverfish & Firebrats by University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Entomology - Houseman
- How to Chose a Pest Repellent - SmoothQuotes.com
- Silverfish Integrated Pest Management Manual by U.S. National Park Service
- Classroom Clutter & Pests Go Hand in Hand - The EPA Blog - Marcia Anderson