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How to Control Silverfish

In this article we are going to answer the question – how to control silverfish . Silverfish are centipede-like creatures with long, thin tails. They’re attracted to two things: food and moisture.

They prefer starches and carbohydrates, and will often eat the starches out of clothing, paper, glue, dried meat, sugar, rayon, linens, cotton—just about anything.

Controlling their food sources is difficult, especially because silverfish can survive up to a year without food. Thankfully, apart from their unnerving looks, silverfish are harmless.

Signs of a Silverfish Problem

An occasional silverfish is the house is not cause for concern, but if you see them frequently in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement, you may have an infestation.

Habitat Modification and Sanitation

  • Dehumidifiers: Because silverfish crave moisture, the best way to reduce the attractiveness of your home to silverfish is to run a couple of dehumidifiers to suck the water out of the air. Dehumidifiers are particularly effective in areas that are traditionally damp, such as basements and bathrooms.
  • Standing water: Make sure there’s no standing water in any room of your house. To keep water from standing on surfaces in your bathtub and sink, dry your bathtub and sink thoroughly after use, and put down a few highly absorbent bath mats.
  • Sealed storage: Storing cereals, paper, clothing, and dried foods in sealable rubber containers can help reduce silverfish numbers in the long run. Silverfish can go a year without food, however, so you’ll have to keep your sanitary standards high for a while.

Chemical Control

  • Insecticides and pesticides: You can spread a residual pesticide (Sevin®) around baseboards, under countertops, and into cracks and crevices using a plastic squeeze bottle. These products should kill any silverfish that come into contact with them, providing protection for up to several months. Be sure to keep these products away from children and pets.
  • Boric acid (borax): Boric acid dust, applied to those same areas, is also effective. Boric acid is a desiccant that draws moisture out of the insect that comes into contact with it. It’s relatively safe to use around people and pets.

Keeping Silverfish Away

  • Cleaning: Keep your house clean and dry, and you shouldn’t see many silverfish around.
  • Diatomaceous earth: If you want to be extra-vigilant, spread some diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home. Diatomaceous earth is a type of soil that’s a lethal desiccant for ground-dwelling insects. It is harmless to larger animals and humans.

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