All that glitters is not gold, and all that’s silver is not shiny and pretty—silverfish included. If you aren’t familiar with this bug, consider yourself lucky. I, on the other hand, had an encounter with a silverfish just last week. To calm down and clean up post-panic, I consulted the internet to find out how to get rid of them and was surprised to learn they’re actually pretty common. (I also quickly learned that the internet isn’t the best anti-anxiety coach, as it will often encourage you to think your home is crawling with venomous, killer insects.)
What Are Silverfish?
Silverfish are small, wingless insects who are silvery or light grey in color. They're nocturnal creatures commonly found in the Americas, Eurasia, and parts of the Pacific. Silverfish are about 1.5 centimeters long, which is quite tiny but not microscopic.
If you, too, have come across silverfish in your living space, we can assure you that the situation is controllable. Read on to keep your home free of silverfish.
Despite how scary they may look, stay brave if you see a silverfish. According to pest control service and research institute Orkin, silverfish don’t bite, nor do they carry any harmful diseases.
Create a Homemade Trap
Unlike bigger infestations that require you to spray nasty pesticides and temporarily move out of your home, silverfish do not cause any damage. Plus, they can actually be caught with a simple homemade silverfish trap: Wrap a mason jar in masking tape and place a piece of bread inside. Before you go to bed (aka silverfish’s active hours), lay the trap wherever you’ve seen them in your home. They’ll crawl in on the tape, but the glass inside will be too slippery for them to escape.
Keep Spaces Dry
Silverfish love humid environments, so keeping a standing dehumidifier around can be a great way to keep them away in rooms like the bedroom or living area. However, damp areas like your bathroom deserve a high-quality fan, so invest in the proper wall or ceiling installation there.
Tightly Seal Pantry Items
To keep silverfish (and rodents) out of your cooking area, you should store your sugars and starches in sealed containers.
Vacuum Thoroughly and Often
Vacuum thoroughly and often. Silverfish lay eggs in carpeted areas (gross, but easy to prevent), so even if you haven’t spotted any around your pad recently or if you’ve gotten rid of the ones you did see, this is a smart course of action. Besides, you should be keeping your home neat and hygienic with the best cleaning hacks, silverfish or none.
Recycle Cardboard and Paper Products Quickly
I have quite a few cardboard boxes by my front door, but I’ve learned this could have saved me a mess of trouble. Silverfish love old newspapers and cardboard, so get rid of those items as soon as you can. You can follow this guide to make tidying up as easy as possible.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Make sure your surfaces aren't filled with clutter. This will ensure silverfish won't have nooks and crannies of stray boxes, paper items, and bags to hide in. By keeping your surfaces clean, you'll also be able to better see if one is hanging out in the open.
Featured Creatures. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. May 2018.