Silverfish are cosmopolitan insects, meaning they can be found on any continent of the world. Well, besides Antarctica, which is too cold for them.
They don’t really care much about the climate, as long as they can find a nice, moist place inside someone’s home. Luckily for them, our houses have plenty of rooms that satisfy their needs.
But what are silverfish attracted to?
The short answer is – dark and quiet places filled with things made of starch. This means that the kitchen and pantry are the most common places you’ll find these bugs. But you might also find them in unusual places, like your study or laundry.
To find out some unexpected places these bugs are attracted to, read on.
7. Silverfish Are Attracted to Silence
The thing is, these bugs are most attracted to silent places. Unlike flies that seem to be on a mission to test our patience by buzzing around our heads, silverfish are pretty shy creatures.
It’s not very likely you’ll see silverfish around your house in the daytime. There are two reasons for that:
First, that’s because they’re nocturnal animals, meaning they’re sleeping during the day and active at night. And second, they’re quite afraid of us. After all, to them our flip-flops are dangerous, killing tools.
But, when the household goes to sleep, your home becomes quiet, except for possible snoring sounds any of you might make. And this is the perfect atmosphere for your silver-colored bug roommates. The air is clear and they’re searching to grab a bite of whatever yummy they could find around.
Since silverfish usually come out when no members of the household are home or awake, there’s little chance you’ll see them walking around. This means it might take a while before you even realize you’re sharing your living space with a bunch of insects. What’s more, their hiding ability will make getting rid of them an even harder job.
6. Silverfish Are Attracted to Books
Unlike cockroaches, silverfish don’t go around our homes, eating the first thing they find, but they tend to like some stuff that we hold dear.
Remember your first copy of Harry Potter you got as soon as it came out? Well, unless is stored in a sealed storage container, there’s a pretty good chance silverfish will find it and munch on it. That’s 300+ pages of pure carbs for them.
Why? Well, as you know, paper is made of trees, which contain cellulose. During the manufacturing process, cellulose is broken down into starch, the main ingredient of the silverfish diet.
This doesn’t mean that silverfish will eat the entire book, cover to cover. But, if you see yellow stains on pages, holes, ragged edges and scratch-like markings, that’s a clear sign these bugs have visited your bookcase.
Another thing you should know is that these little bugs can make your home library their home. Unless you read five books a day, your bookshelf is a place that’s dark and calm enough for these pests to lay eggs and hide during the day.
5. Silverfish Are Attracted to Wallpaper
It’s horrible how these tiny creatures can destroy things we’re attached to, like memories or souvenirs. But what’s worse is they can make some extremely costly damage. See that expensive wallpaper in your living room? Well, to silverfish it looks like a nice dinner.
Your wallpaper might be coated with vinyl or foil, but it still uses paper as a base, and these bugs don’t miss out on anything starch-made.
Speaking of, wallpaper adhesive is also a yummy treat. This glue is also made of modified starch, called methylcellulose. Considering that silverfish enjoy eating it, it’s clear they don’t mind the chemical treatment it went through.
If you see your wallpaper peeling or bulging, or if there are scratch-like markings, you can safely assume you’re sharing your living space with silverfish.
4. Silverfish are Attracted to Laundry
Another possible location for your unwanted guests is the laundry. This might sound unexpected, and you’re probably wondering what are they even eating there? No, silverfish aren’t attracted to chemicals like detergents, bleaches, color removers etc. The thing they’re looking for is actually your basket full of dirty clothes.
These tiny bugs are not drawn to your garments because of the material they’re made of. Instead, it’s all the spills and stains from food and beverage that they’re after. That smoothie you spilled on your favorite shirt yesterday is like a candy shop to them.
But that’s not all. The main attraction these bugs can find in your laundry room is, well, laundry starch. And these bugs don’t care what type of fabric it is. Cotton, wool, linen, polyester, leather… anything works if it has starch or juicy stains on it.
This brings us to our next point.
3. Silverfish are Attracted to your Closet
Moths might be the most notorious fabric eaters, but they sure aren’t the only ones. Silverfish simply love the starch treatment we give to fabrics, so it’s no wonder we can find these insects in the place we store our clothes.
As we previously mentioned, they aren’t picky when it comes to material. Anything treated with starch will do. That includes a wedding dress, expensive suits and coats. They’ll eat the surface of fabrics, leaving your clothes looking shaved. Other “pieces of evidence” include holes of irregular shape and yellow stains.
2. Memory Box
Nowadays, our phones and computer are filled with photos, video clips and other files that remind us of past events. But 20 years ago, we actually kept tangible memories, real developed photographs, letters we received, newspaper clippings etc. Most of these can’t be found in a digital form today. And even if they could, it’s not the same.
The old paper has that unique smell and it feels fragile that we like. But, silverfish like that too. In fact, for that reason, these bugs will often make their way in photo studios.
Often, people don’t even know they’re sharing their space with these bugs, since the damage they make to photos can look like they faded over time or some pieces have fallen off. Silverfish usually eat the emulsion, leaving damage that’s mostly irreparable.
Now that you know this, quickly grab that box you’ve been keeping under your bed, and transfer all the memories you’ve been keeping into an air-tight container. Books and clothes can be repurchased, but memories are one of a kind.
1. Silverfish are Attracted to Fireplaces
Interestingly enough, these bugs are attracted to fireplaces, but not because of wood. Their diet consists of proteins, starches and sugars, but wood is not on their list. The only reason why they might munch on it is because of something applied on the wood that consists of these elements. This usually is not the case with wood used for fireplaces.
Silverfish like fireplaces because they’re dark and dry, and there’s no real danger of being found by us. Of course, this doesn’t mean silverfish will hang inside the lit fireplace, as that’s too hot even for them. But when the fire’s out, it’s a perfect hideout.
Besides the kitchen and pantries, there are plenty of things in your home silverfish are attracted to. As long as there’s starch, these little bugs can be found close by. If you’re dealing with a silverfish infestation, this article should give you a clue where to search for them.
More about silverfish and other common household intruders:
I’ve seen one silverfish should I be worried?
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