The silverfish is a slender, wingless insect that measures approximately half an inch in length. Its body is a silvery-gray color, and it has a set of long, whip-like antennae. Despite the name, silverfish are not actually fish (sorry fish fans). They received the name from the fact that their silver-scale appearance and “swimming-like” movements make them appear quite fishlike.
Another interesting fact is that silverfish are among some of the oldest insects on the planet, being as old as 400 million years (that’s older than the dinosaurs, by the way)!
Silverfish are essentially the tiger shark of the insect kingdom (I had to do a fish pun, come on). They're omnivorous, nibbling on diverse items like paper, glue, starch, and even deceased insects. A silverfish's ideal home is one that's moist and humid, and these creatures can enjoy a surprisingly long life span of up to three years!
Silverfish are capable breeders, able to lay up to 100 eggs at a time which only take around 2 weeks to hatch. Silverfish are also great at hiding, combined with their reproductive rate this makes them very difficult to get rid of.
The adaptability of silverfish is noteworthy. They don't discriminate between homes, businesses, or even libraries - if the conditions are right, they'll happily move in. Naturally, they have a penchant for warm, humid environments, making your kitchen or bathroom a great habitat for them.
While silverfish don't pose a serious health hazard, they can be an irksome presence in our living spaces. They've been known to damage paper products and other personal belongings, and their presence may signal a larger pest issue. Silverfish are also known to produce a nasty odor which makes them very unsuitable for homeowners.
While you may not love their taste in diet, these critters are essential players in our ecosystem, helping to break down and recycle different materials.
How can I get rid of silverfish?
If silverfish have become unwelcome pests in your home, here's some action you can take:
Seal any cracks and holes
Work towards reducing moisture in your home
Consider using desiccants like diatomaceous earth
How do silverfish get into my home?
Silverfish can slide into your home through cracks, holes in the foundation, and even the tiniest of gaps around windows and doors. Cardboard boxes are another popular entry route due to their love of paper. Given their preference for moist, humid environments, they are more likely to come visiting during the spring and summer months.
How do I identify a silverfish?
Picture a small, slender insect of about half an inch, with a distinct silvery-gray body and elongated antennae. Remember, silverfish are wingless, making their identification much easier.
Should the silverfish situation in your home spiral out of control, it's time to call in pest control professionals. They'll come armed with the experience and the expertise to nip your silverfish problem in the bud, hook - line - and sinker; (okay sorry that was the last fish pun - I’ll stop.)
As for keeping these silver critters at bay, here are some bonus silverfish prevention tips:
Maintain cleanliness and reduce clutter.
Be cautious with storing paper products in high humidity areas.
Regularly inspect your home for signs of silverfish.