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Finding silverfish in your home is never a fun surprise, and like most pests, your goal should be to get rid of them as soon as possible. One reason to take action quickly is that, as Healthline points out, they can live for up to eight years and reproduce frequently, which means a small number can grow into a serious infestation in no time. Another reason is that they’re just plain icky, and get their name based on their fish-like shape and movements. Unlike the occasional spider or fruit fly, these are creatures you should go to great lengths to avoid.
According to PestWorld, silverfish aren’t actually a threat to humans, because they don’t bite or spread disease. They can however damage household items such as wallpaper, books, fabric, and even furniture, which all contain sugary substances that these insects feed on. Signs of a silverfish problem include seeing the bugs themselves, as well holes, yellow stains, and scales. Once you’ve confirmed a case of these critters, it’s time to get to work on exterminating them by following a few simple steps.
1. Dehumidify Your Space
Silverfish love humidity, and can’t survive in low levels of it. That means a good way to start the process of getting rid of them is to purchase a dehumidifier. Do Your Own Pest Control explains that silverfish infestations are difficult to control when the relative humidity in your home is above 50% year-round, so you’ll want to aim for much less. If purchasing a dehumidifier isn’t enough to do the trick, you can also try methods like adding a bathroom fan to shower areas, sealing up leaky pipes, and ventilating closed rooms and attics.
2. Seal Food Airtight
Don’t tempt silverfish with a free meal by leaving dried goods like flour, cereal, and pet kibble out for them to feast on. Do Your Own Pest Control recommends storing food in airtight containers, as well as regularly vacuuming crevices that crumbs may fall into.
3. Reduce Clutter
On top of eating pantry foods, silverfish also munch on paper goods such as old books, stacks of magazines, and envelopes. While your safest bet is recycling these items and removing them from your home, you can also store them in sealed containers to prevent them from attracting silverfish. Alternatively, another solution offered by Healthline is to roll up an old newspaper and wet it to create a DIY silverfish trap, then throw it away once you’ve caught a bunch.
4. Use Natural Repellents
If you prefer to use natural methods to rid yourself of silverfish, there are several items you can use that you likely already have in your kitchen. The most common is cedar oil or shavings, which silverfish greatly dislike, and can be sprinkled in the affected area to ward them off. Other natural repellents include cinnamon, citrus fruits, cucumber peels, cloves, and salt.
5. Set Up Traps
For speedier results, you may also want to set up traps designed for silverfish that you can easily purchase on Amazon or at your local home improvement store. You can place these in closets, drawers, bookcases, and other areas that you’ll commonly find these pests. The silverfish eat through the pack and ingest the poison inside.
6. Clear Debris From Outside
If your silverfish infestation is widespread, as opposed to localized, PestWorld recommends focusing on outdoor causes to the problem. Take action by removing anything stored near your home’s exterior, which silverfish can crawl on to enter, as well as removing any damp debris such as wood or dead plants that could be acting as a haven for these insects.
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