According to scientists, silverfish are harmless pests, since they don’t bite or spread diseases. They do, however, damage our belongings, so seeing one in your house surely doesn’t excite you.
In fact, you’re probably wondering – where do they even come from?
They appear out of everywhere. Your basement, attic, bathroom, air vents… You name it. As long as the area is warm and moist, they’ll make it their home.
To help you find their hiding spots around your house, here are the 11 most common examples of places where silverfish reside. So let’s dive in.
Silverfish are known to love carbs. For that reason, it’s no surprise they’re often found in pantries. This room is like a Swedish table to these pests. From sugar and cereal to oat and flour, there are numberless things they can munch on. In fact, they’ll gladly eat a cereal box, as it’s made with starch.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t eat something else, too. These insects also love protein-rich food, so you can find them snacking on fibers and vegetables, too. In other words, they probably won’t mind anything they can find in your pantry.
One thing that’s worth noting is that they’re not like other pantry pests. Even though they love paying this room a visit, they won’t lay their eggs there. So when trying to get rid of these unwanted visitors, you’ll have to search for the lair elsewhere.
The best way to keep silverfish out of your pantry is to seal all dry food in air-tight containers. So ditch all the cardboard boxes and opt for either plastic or glass ones.
If you’ve found them in your pantry, it’s very likely silverfish are in your kitchen too. Not only are these rooms connected, but they’re also both filled with things silverfish like to nibble on.
These bugs will often do a tour around your kitchen cabinets. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually find them in there. That’s because they do their best at keeping a low profile while residing in our houses. They’ll only move at night when we’re asleep. And if they hear us walking, they’ll run like hell.
However, there is a place in your kitchen where you’ll get the chance to see them. That place is your sink. Kitchen sinks are made of sleek materials that cause these bugs to slip and fall in. And since they’re curved towards the drain, they can’t get out. The only thing they’re left to do is wait for you to find them and hit them with your flip flop.
Your bathroom is yet another room these insects like to hang out in. Silverfish need high temperatures and humidity to thrive. When the temperature is above 75°F, it takes them around 60 days to reach adulthood. On the other hand, a colder room can prolong their maturity to up to 500 days. When it comes to humidity, 75 to 97% is up to their liking.
With these numbers in mind, it’s no surprise they love hanging in the bathroom. Whenever you take a hot shower, you create an atmosphere to their taste.
But, there is a common misconception that these bugs live in our drains. The reason people often think that is because just like in the kitchen, you can also find them in bathroom sinks. However, that doesn’t mean they climbed their way through the drains. Instead, they have probably slipped while walking on porcelain or ceramic. Once they fall into the sink, there is no going back.
Where exactly in your bathroom do they hang out? Well, basically anywhere. From under the sink to behind a baseboard, there are numberless places they can hide. As long as they’re out of your sight, it’s a good enough hideout.
After fiberglass, blown-in cellulose is the most commonly used insulation for attics. It’s popular not only because it’s affordable and thermally efficient, but sustainable too. It’s made of anywhere from 75 to 85 percent recycled paper fiber, including shredded paper, cardboard boxes and other paper waste.
In other words, it’s an unlimited food supply for silverfish. So while your insulation is surely going to keep the heat in, it won’t keep silverfish out. And since there’s usually no AC in storage rooms, the air in the attic is humid just the way these bugs like.
But that’s not all. Your attic is filled with things silverfish like to snack on.
Attics are a more preferable storage option to basements and garages, due to the fact that they’re safe from the possibility of floods. Therefore, they’re likely to be full of boxes containing our trinkets and whatnot.
Books are often stored in the attic, and they’re like a magnet to silverfish. If you notice ragged edges, yellow stains, holes and scratchy markings on your books, that’s a clear sign you have unwanted guests staying right above your heads.
Your old photos are another thing these bugs like to chew on. The damage they make on them isn’t always so obvious. A faded photo might mean it didn’t withstand the test of time, or it can be a result of silverfish eating emulsion. Cards, stamps and similar collectibles are also jeopardized if stored in the attic.
Finally, your clothes, drapes and similar fabrics are also in danger of being munched on. This is thanks to the laundry starch we use to give them structure and wrinkle resistance.
With all this in mind, you should probably run to the store and get air-tight containers to keep your stuff safe from these pests.
While that’s not the case with recently built homes, most old houses in the US have a basement. In most cases, they serve as a storage space for everything you don’t need, but don’t want to throw away. Since it’s usually just a storage room, the basement is usually not well insulated. As a result, silverfish can easily find their way in.
And why wouldn’t they? It’s dark, damp, warm, but above all, it’s quiet. Since we barely go there, these pests can enjoy their freedom without staying hidden during the day.
In all likelihood, your basement contains cardboard boxes, which we know these creatures love. And if they’re full of books and papers, even better.
In most cases, basements serve as entrance points to our homes. They hide between your stuff, waiting to be brought into the house by mistake. Since they’re so tiny, it’s unlikely you’ll notice them hiding in your possessions. Once in, they find their way around.
Getting rid of silverfish in basements is hard, but not impossible. Your main trump card in the fight against these pests is a dehumidifier. Silverfish rely on moisture, so if you dry out the air, you’ll make an inhospitable environment they’ll run away from.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that silverfish are masters of sneaking inside our homes. A crack 1/16 inch wide is enough to give them a safe passage to the interior. Garages, on the other hand, are making things way too easy. Often, we leave it open for quite a long period, basically inviting these pests in.
Once within the garage walls, they can enjoy the Swedish table you prepared for them. All the boxes you couldn’t bother to put in your attic can be found laying on the floor. And let’s not forget all the leaves that piled up around the garage door. They’re soft and moist, just as silverfish like it.
Silverfish use cracks and crevices to enter your home. But since they’re dark and damp, they’re also a great place to lay eggs in. It’s very unlikely we’ll notice them hiding in there, which makes it an ultimate hideout.
To deal with them, you need to use caulk to fill the gaps around your house. And don’t forget baseboards, as they can also hide these pests behind.
8. Air Vents
Unwanted guests could also be seen coming out of your air vent. However, that doesn’t mean they actually live in there. In fact, airflow, both hot and cold, dehydrate the air, which is not a hospitable environment for such pests. So why do we see them exiting the vent?
If you remove screws on the vent cover, you’ll see that there are gaps between the duct and the wall. When you see silverfish “coming out of the vent”, they are actually exiting these tiny holes around the duct. Plus, they use the outer side of the duct to travel from point A to point B.
9. Pet Food
If you have a cat or a dog, there’s a food bowl somewhere around your house. Many owners find it easier to just fill it with kibble and let their pets eat when they feel hungry. That way they don’t have to keep track of their pets’ eating habits, but little do they know they might be feeding more than one mouth that way.
Pet food is rich in protein and carbs, and silverfish are fans of both. If you leave a food bowl filled with kibble overnight, you can expect these bugs to stop by. And if you’re worried about silverfish being dangerous to your pets, don’t be. They’re not toxic and do not spread diseases. They’re just plain annoying.
Silverfish can also be found around potted plants in your house. But don’t get them confused with springtails, their close relatives. Similarly looking, these bugs feed on organic matter found in plant soil, something silverfish aren’t interested in.
What they do like are dead insects and fungi. These bugs don’t mind eating their cousins springtails, but what’s worse, they won’t be opposed to eating their own kind either! They don’t say “you are what you eat” for no reason.
But there are some plants these bugs will avoid at all costs. Costmary, otherwise known as the Bible plant, is one of those. While costmary isn’t usually grown as an indoor plant, a bouquet can do well at keeping these pests at bay.
Rosemary is another plant that repels silverfish. What you might find its aroma pleasant, these bugs will disagree with you. In fact, they’ll run the other way. You can use both fresh and dried rosemary to get rid of annoying guests.
Last but not least, don’t be surprised to see silverfish coming out of your closet. They can hide behind your clothes, and since closets are usually dark, you can easily overlook them. Plus, they’re rich in silverfish food.
Hemp, linen and cotton are just some of the materials made of cellulose fibers, which these bugs find yummy. Asides from that, they’ll also love to nibble on the clothes you’ve treated with laundry starch.
You can easily find out if your closet has unwanted residents by inspecting your clothes. Silverfish leave scratch markings and yellow stains, which are different from the damage moths do. Plus, you might find droppings and dead silverfish at the bottom of your closet.
Just like any other part of the house, your closet should be as dry as possible in order to keep these bugs away. But what you can also do is put a cedarwood or lavender pouch inside. While we might find these aromas pleasant, silverfish tend to disagree. In fact, they find it noxious and will run like crazy as soon as they smell it.
From basements and garages to kitchens and closets, these annoying pests come out of everywhere. As long as there’s moisture and darkness, silverfish are happy to make that place their new home.
For more on silverfish, check out these links:
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