Can Silverfish Infest My Home? How Do I Treat Them?
Signs of Silverfish
Nocturnal and reclusive, silverfish typically remain hidden during the day and evade capture by quickly fleeing when exposed. The elusive nature of the fleet-footed insects often makes silverfish infestations challenging to locate. Because the pests can travel throughout a building in search of a suitable food source, the sight of a roaming silverfish does not always mean an infestation exists in the same room. Instead, homeowners must rely on certain other signs that indicate the presence of silverfish. Signs of a silverfish infestation include tiny holes, stains, or other feeding marks on common food sources like wallpaper, books and similar paper products, and clothes. The insects also produce visible fecal matter that will be located near many of the potential food sources. Silverfish molt as many as 50 or 60 times over the course of a typical lifespan and leave behind the discarded skin cases, which serve as further evidence of a potential infestation.
Effectively dealing with large silverfish infestations requires an integrated pest management plan combining household sanitation with the application of chemical insecticides. As silverfish can survive for months without eating, simply cleaning up potential food sources often proves insufficient in combating existing infestations. The origins of silverfish infestations can also be difficult to locate due to the ability of the insects to avoid detection. Furthermore, an infestation of silverfish often represents a chronic, ongoing issue that is rarely eliminated completely using DIY remedies alone (and may be the result of a leaking roof or other chronic structural issue). Commercially available chemical insecticides can even exacerbate the problem by allowing the bodies and scales of dead silverfish to accumulate and serve as food sources for other pest insects such as carpet beetles. When silverfish infestations are large in size, difficult to locate, or resistant to ineffective DIY methods of management, New England residents should employ the services of an experienced pest control professional.