Silverfish are fast-moving, nocturnal insects that have many of the same habits as cockroaches. Like cockroaches, silverfish can trigger allergic reactions in some people, but are primarily nuisance pests that don’t bite and are not likely to spread pathogens that cause disease. However, they can contaminate food, damage paper goods and stain clothing, so you definitely don't want them hanging around your home.
Understanding what attracts silverfish to your home is important to helping get rid of them and keeping them out of your house.
What are silverfish?
As their name suggests, silverfish are (typically) silver or gray insects. The wingless adults are about one-half of an inch to an inch in length and their flat bodies help them to slip easily into crevices.
3 Things That Can Attract Silverfish
Here are some things that silverfish are attracted to:
Silverfish are sensitive to moisture and need high levels of humidity (above 75 percent) to survive, so they're attracted to humid, damp conditions. You can find often find silverfish in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages and cabinets. They can stray out of high humidity areas for a short period of time, but in general, they need higher humidity.
2. Warm, dark places
Silverfish typically prefer dark hiding places with temperatures between 70–90 degrees.
3. Carbohydrates and protein
Silverfish eat carbohydrates like flour, rolled oats and starches in cardboard boxes, paper, book bindings, glue and insulation. They also eat protein, such as dried beef and dead insects.
How to Help Get Rid of Silverfish
If you're looking to help prevent a silverfish infestation or help get rid of an existing one, try these tips and techniques:
Repair any leaky pipes and faucets. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas to help reduce water condensation and humidity, and use a ventilation fan when you take a shower or are cooking. Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, and grade your landscaping so water drains away from your house.
Remove food sources
Store cereal, flour, pasta, pet food and pet treats in plastic airtight containers.
Limit access to your home by properly using caulk to seal cracks and crevices under and behind baseboards, around windows and door trim. You can also seal holes in walls and floors where pipes pass.
Vacuum carpet, floors and upholstered furniture regularly
Silverfish hide and lay their eggs in cracks and crevices, so target these areas when you’re cleaning. Empty the vacuum contents outside so the bugs can’t escape inside your home.
A silverfish infestation is fairly uncommon. If you do wind up with a silverfish infestation, however, contact a pest control professional at Terminix. They'll help you get silverfish and other insect infestations under control.