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How to get rid of silverfish once and for all

How to get rid of silverfish once and for all
Learn how to get rid of silverfish (and stop them from invading your home in the first place) with expert tips from Adam Juson, founder of Merlin Environmental
Pests and bugs in our homes are enough to make our skin crawl. It's always best to try to rid your home of these unwanted visitors as soon as possible in order to prevent disease and damage.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about the pesky silverfish, including how to identify, remove and prevent these bugs from taking over your home.

What are silverfish?

Silverfish are attracted to materials like paper in your home
Silverfish are nocturnal insects that love nothing more than snuggling up in dark, moist spaces in your home.
Light grey in colour, these wingless creatures, once inside your home, will make a beeline for paper, fabrics and wood to make their home as well as seek out food.
If left to their own devices, silverfish will often burrow their way into packets of dried food in order to feed and lay their eggs.

How to spot silverfish in your home

While silverfish may not always be readily visible in your home, you can identify their presence in a few ways, and some of these are:
  • Stains: yellowish marks and stains on fabric and paper, including wallpaper, are often a good indication that silverfish have invaded your home. These stains occur when the silverfish moults.
  • Droppings: in some instances, you may find silverfish droppings around your home, which are small, black balls that resemble tiny peppercorns.
  • Scales: often, you can spot signs of silverfish in your home by identifying the opaque scales that are left behind. You may also see translucent material, which makes up part of the silverfish’s exoskeleton that is discarded during the moulting process.
  • Holes: when moving into your home, silverfish will quickly try to establish nests and find food and, you may begin to see tiny holes in fabrics, paper and food packets.
When you do spot silverfish in your home, it’s unlikely that you will be able to catch them manually as, although they don’t fly, they do run—and surprisingly fast!

How to get rid of silverfish

Once you’ve identified silverfish in your home, you’ll want to evict them as soon as possible to prevent them from causing damage to furnishings and ruining food packets. This can be done safely and naturally in a few ways:
  • Cedar shavings: cedar oil is a natural insecticide, so, placing cedar shavings in areas of your home where silverfish have been identified can often convince these pests to move on. If you can’t get your hands on shavings, sprinkling cedar oil around the area does the same job.
  • Salt: although silverfish are attracted to salt, it is lethal to them, so sprinkling salt in identified areas will usually kill off the insects, which can then be vacuumed up.
  • Pest control: if neither of the above methods is successful, your best course of action is to call in a pest control expert to resolve the issue. It might be necessary for you to vacate your home for a few hours or overnight as toxic chemicals may be used.

How to prevent silverfish

Fix cracks in your walls to prevent silverfish from nesting
With any kind of bug, prevention is usually better than cure. There are a few ways to prevent silverfish from entering your home:
  • Damp: silverfish are hugely attracted to moist, damp spaces so fixing any damp patches in your home can help to keep the door shut on these pests.
  • Scent: there are a number of scents that can help to repel silverfish, and these include cinnamon, citrus, cloves and cucumber.
  • Cracks: check your walls and floors for cracks as these tend to present an open invitation to silverfish.

Keeping silverfish at bay

Although not harmful to humans, silverfish can cause damage in the home, so it’s always a good idea to act quickly to get them out—and keep them out.
It’s usually best to begin by trying some of the natural remedies mentioned in this article. If the problem persists, you may want to try boric acid sprinkled around the affected area (keeping children and pets away) or call in a professional pest control service.
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