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Silverfish

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What do silverfish look like?

A silverfish is a small, wingless insect with a fish-like shape when observed from above. The skin of a silverfish has a metallic silver sheen, depending on the species. This can give it a scaly appearance. It also moves a bit like a fish, wiggling as it runs. But a silverfish is not a fish; it is an insect with one contiguous-looking body, though it has three body parts: Head, thorax, and abdomen.

An adult silverfish can range from ½ to 1 inch, but the nymphs are smaller. Some nymphs are so small that it is difficult to easily distinguish them from silverfish. They appear as little more than tiny silver specks.

In all stages of development, a silverfish has six legs, two antennae, and three appendages at the end of the abdomen—two that stick out at an angle and one that points straight back. These rear appendages make silverfish identification a breeze once they are large enough to see clearly.    

silverfish inside home

Pest Facts

Did you know?

  • Silverfish are known for their extreme speed.
  • When silverfish run, their bodies create a movement that resembles the swimming motion of fish.
  • It's quite common to find silverfish stuck in tubs and sinks.

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What do silverfish eat?

The diet of a silverfish is so diverse you may wonder, what doesn't a silverfish eat? Here are a few items they find inside homes:

  • Sugary and starchy foods in cabinets and pantries
  • Glue, wallpaper paste, and the adhesives used to hold packages together
  • Materials with cellulose, such as paper, cardboard, and fabrics
  • Protein sources, such as insects, bugs, dead animals, and pet food
  • Shed skin and hair, as well as the dust created by these materials

If you're hoping to hide the food from silverfish, you're going to have your job cut out for you. They are built for survival. 

Are silverfish harmful?

These insects are not considered a threat to human health, though their shed skins and droppings can cause skin and respiratory irritation. The primary issue with silverfish is their ability to damage belongings. They can damage books, documents, paper ornaments, artwork, photographs, carpets, clothing, sheets, curtains, furniture coverings, and more. 

They're also pantry pests. A silverfish can get into stored foods and lay eggs in food products. Fortunately, kitchen and pantry infestations are not considered a disease concern. It's just gross to have these insects in your food.  

What attracts silverfish?

Silverfish encroach upon homes that have favorable exterior environments. They are primarily moisture pests, getting into zones that are damp or wet. They feed on detritus, so leaf litter, sticks, mold, algae, and plant matter can attract them. A clear, dry, and well-maintained perimeter is resistant to silverfish. 

How do I get rid of silverfish? 

It is extraordinarily hard to get rid of these insects if they find a suitable living space, such as moisture damage underneath a bathtub or shower. In a damp environment with decaying wood, these insects can survive and thrive. The first step in eliminating an infestation on your own is to consider any plumbing or moisture issues inside your home. Repairing leaky showerheads and grout is a good place to start. Also, check pipes under the sinks in your home and address any issues you find.

Along with repairing moisture problems, consider humidity as well. These insects survive if there is moisture in the air. Installing ventilation, fans, or dehumidifiers can reduce air moisture to levels unacceptable to silverfish.

Once you've addressed moisture and humidity, you'll need to consider entry points. Fill in structural cavities and apply seals around window and door frames. Doing this will prevent continued entry.

These maintenance steps take time and may not be enough. For help getting rid of silverfish, contact the Phoenix pest control pros at Greenway Pest Solutions. We apply multi-pronged control solutions to identify, eliminate, and prevent silverfish.  

How can I prevent silverfish from infesting?

You can proactively prevent a silverfish infestation by addressing the conditions that can lead to an indoor problem:

  • Clean your gutters to reduce perimeter moisture.
  • Trim vegetation in your landscaping to cut down humidity.
  • Water your plants in the morning.
  • Rake away leaves, sticks, and plant debris.
  • Install motion-sensitive lights around your exterior to reduce insect populations. Light attracts silverfish and the insects they eat.
  • Seal gaps, cracks, and holes, and repair weatherproofing issues.

For more control and stress-free pest management, contact Greenway Pest Solutions and get started with a year-round pest control service plan. We can provide ongoing protection for your home and family.

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