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Silverfish are mostly found in homes and businesses, not to be confused with ovenfish and paperfish. A silverfish is about 10 millimeters in size, has a flat body with silver scales, fairly large feelers at the head and 3 “tails. Silverfish are common in rooms with high humidity, but survive in just about any room.
Silverfish can also be harmful to your health. Many times, the presence of many silverfish indicates an underlying moisture problem. Furthermore, they carry many bacteria, including possibly salmonella, under their paws. So silverfish control is necessary to prevent health risks.
Silverfish nuisance? These are the main symptoms
When you see multiple silverfish walking in a room, there is usually a problem. This will usually be in the toilet, kitchen or bathroom. In addition, they like to go under baseboards, as this provides a perfect shelter and they can feast on the glue of your baseboards. Furthermore, it is important to check places that have starch in them. Did you know that starch is also used in wallpaper glue, for example, which is why silverfish like to sit behind the wallpaper? In such cases, the best way to fight silverfish is to get rid of the wallpaper.
What should you especially NOT do?
If you are not completely sure that it is silverfish, do not start fighting them, but call in the help of a professional. Should it not be silverfish but another insect, you are likely to make the problem worse.
Fighting silverfish yourself with poison or chemical pesticides in the home is also not wise, as some poisons against silverfish are also harmful to humans. Application in too high doses or in frequently used rooms can then unexpectedly lead to health problems. Should you see any silverfish you can of course kill them, but even better you can follow the silverfish. Then you will know exactly where to start fighting it and if there are more silverfish in that particular spot.
What can you do?
Ensure low humidity and good ventilation, especially in rooms that get damp quickly. If you cannot simply open a window, it is certainly advisable to consider mechanical ventilation, for example. In addition, it is important that the exhaust hood is on during cooking, or a window near the stove is wide open. A humidity below 50% is ideal; you can achieve this by placing moisture-eaters and possibly heating the room slightly warmer so that the moisture evaporates.
Be careful with the humidity though, below 40% it can become less pleasant for your skin and the air starts to get very dry. So 40% humidity is fine for controlling silverfish, don’t go for extremes.
How can you prevent silverfish?
In addition to the aforementioned measures to lower humidity, there are a few more things you can do to prevent silverfish. Keep gaps and cracks to a minimum by properly sealing baseboards and filling gaps as much as possible. In addition, try to keep the temperature inside below 22 degrees, as silverfish will not survive then.
Closets are also a breeding ground for silverfish, as clothing is often hung in the closet dry and then not ventilated. Therefore, make sure that you leave your closet(s) open for at least half an hour a day, preferably while windows and/or door of that room are also open. It is also important to ensure that there are no breeding grounds for silverfish. Therefore, do not place furniture too close to the wall.
Fighting silverfish? Follow these 5 tips:
- Buy moisture-eaters and moisture meters, ventilate and lower the humidity to 40%. Silverfish do not tolerate humidity lower than 50%.
- Seal seams and cracks as much as possible, limiting access routes. Also consider baseboards that they can easily walk under.
- Hanging in the house? Have the plasterer come and go for plastered walls
- Storage high-carbohydrate and starchy products in sealed plastic boxes. Think pasta, flour, bread, potatoes, but especially don’t forget to throw away paper and old newspapers or store them properly.
- Using products like silverfish spray and bait boxes will help control silverfish, but are temporary solutions.
Silverfish can live up to 7 to 8 years and reproduce several times a year. So prevention is definitely better than cure. If you do not manage to solve the problem completely, chances are you will continue to suffer from silverfish for years.
Always have silverfish control done by a pest controller!
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