Silverfish. Those disgusting, wiggling, squiggling, silvery insects that come out at night to crawl up your walls and feast upon your books, dry oats, wallpaper glue, plaster, drywall and carpet. We’ve all seen them, whether you knew what they were or not. Silverfish are common household pests that, while not dangerous, can cause considerable amounts of damage to household items (not to mention that they’re just plain nasty and the sight of them can make one’s skin crawl!) However, it’s pretty easy to keep your home’s population of silverfish in check, and can be done without the use of harsh chemicals. Below you will find some green tips and suggestions regarding how you can rid your home of silverfish (or at least keep their numbers to a bare minimum.)
- Vacuum on a regular basis. This will help get rid of silverfish eggs. Take special care to vacuum around floorboards and hard-to-reach crevices. Afterward, empty your vacuum cleaner contents into a plastic bag; tie the bag tightly and dispose of it ASAP.
- Wash all surfaces frequently. Use a peppermint or eucalyptus cleaner. This helps repel them.
- Keep ALL FOOD in sealed containers, such as plastic canisters or glass jars. Silverfish are unable to crawl up the smooth surfaces.
- Freeze all infested books and garments for a few days in order to kill any eggs which may linger.
- Jar Trap: This tried-and-true old timer’s trick involves wrapping the outside of tall glass jars with masking tape or twine and filling with about ½” of dry oats. The silverfish will be attracted to the oats and crawl up the rough surface of the jar- however, once he’s in, he’ll be unable to escape.
- Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around floorboards and other areas where the silverfish have been creeping. This non-toxic pesticide will stick to the silverfish as they crawl through it, scratching through its protective layers and causing it to dehydrate through the rapid loss of liquid. The result? Those nasty silverfish shrivel up and die.
- Mashed Potato Balls: Mix mashed potatoes with alum and roll into balls and place on newspaper or pieces of cardboard throughout your house. The alum in the balls will poison and kill the silverfish.
Natural Silverfish Repellents
Some items are considered to be natural silverfish repellents, and can be sprinkled around floorboards, cupboards and drawers in order to scare the silverfish away. Among these include bay leaves, eucalyptus, Epsom salt, whole cloves, cinnamon, and cucumber peals. If you don’t like the idea of simply sprinkling these items around your home, place them in cupcake wrappers and set them out, scattered about your house.
Silverfish may seem like nasty little vermin, but the fact is they are harmless to humans and mainly just like to munch on things like your books, which can be quite the nuisance! Thankfully they are fairly easy to get rid of, although you will have to repeat the process every few weeks as any new eggs that you may have miss begin to hatch. With persistence you can get your silverfish population under control- without resorting to using pesticides to do so.
About the author: Chris is writer for a Long Island pest control company.