Dangers of Silverfish
A common pest found in homes that can give one cause for concern based on their appearance is the Silverfish and its close cousin, the Firebrat. They are harmless to humans and pets but their damage potential can be significant depending on your hobbies or interests. We’ll talk about what the Silverfish is, what it likes and how to control it.
What is it?
The scientific name for the Silverfish is Lepisma saccharina. It’s known as the Silverfish because, it’s silver in color. It also moves somewhat like a fish. They don’t have wings so ground speed fortunately is the best they can manage. They live on average for two to eight years. The problem is even though they’re walking and they live as long as some pets, their diet can give you many sleepless nights and cause irreparable damage to special treasures.
You see, part of the Silverfish’s scientific name is derived from its diet. Basically anything with polysaccharides sounds absolutely tasty to the Silverfish. What could it possibly find flavorful in your home? Most adhesives contain starches and some dextrins. Adhesives are found in places like..paper, photos, linen, silk, carpet, clothing, glue, sugar, coffee (do we have your attention now?) and during challenging times the Silverfish may even dine on leather. So imagine a pest that say, for five to seven years could be munching its way through a collection of rare books, a treasured tapestry, or the plaster in your walls. Did we mention they like coffee too?
The good note to all of this is that Silverfish don’t transmit disease. Their favorite places include damp areas with humidity upwards of eighty percent. Therefore, if you live in the South or along the coast, you’re quite accustomed to these pests but drier, arid places could be spared their destructive dining.
Where is it found?
Silverfish typically make their way into your domiciles through the roof. If you have a leaky roof that’s been wet for a time, you’re mostly likely going to have guests for dinner. They often show up early during home construction and are waiting for you when you move in. Having your home treated if you believe these could be a problem will save you many problems in the future. Additional good news is although they will chew through your tax returns and receipts (which the government probably won’t accept as an excuse), they don’t generally pose much danger to the structure of your house like termites do. Their diet of dry wall and insulation though will make for headaches later when the damage becomes apparent.
A few DIY and basic methods for controlling Silverfish start out with home maintenance; dust and accumulated trash make great nests for them as they grow and prepare to seek out other food sources. If you have a stack of magazines of books lying around that you’ve “been meaning to read some day” and you haven’t, you really should get rid of them before they end up as a main course at a Silverfish buffet. If you know you have Silverfish and you’re getting rid of papers and the like; there’s a good chance they could be infested with Silverfish eggs and if you good naturedly donate or give them to someone, you’ve given them a present they really wouldn’t want.
A better choice would be taking them to a recycling area where they’re processed properly for that kind of problem. Applying a thin dust layer of boric acid on books can keep them away and if you want to be green, use rosemary or lavender which are natural ways to deter them. Should you find you have a sizeable infestation, or you’re building an new home and want to ensure there aren’t any surprises waiting for you to move in, contact a reputable exterminator that’s licensed, experienced and trained with the latest tools and procedures for Silverfish and Firebrats. If you think something fishy is going on in the library or walls, best to let an exterminator deal the problem before you find a rare work of art was the main course for a Silverfish.