8 Best Ways To Get Rid Of Silverfish

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Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) may seem like creatures of the sea, but in fact, these little grayish bugs are another nuisance that can be found in your home. Unlike the house centipede, which is more of a bother than a pest that destroys things, silverfish can wreak havoc on items in your home, including your precious books and even your stylish wallpaper, according to House Beautiful

So, if you silverfish them in your home, don't wait on taking care of the issue as these pests, unfortunately, multiply quickly and can live a long time (up to eight years). "Although silverfish are mostly only considered a nuisance, if they reach substantial numbers, they can become unacceptable, especially in sterile environments such as hospitals," says Natalie Bungay, Technical Officer at the British Pest Control Association to Country Living. "They can also damage papers, textiles, and packets of dried food." 

Keep reading for a few ideas of things you can do to ensure that you eradicate a silverfish infestation if you find that they are taking over your home!

1. Use a dehumidifier

First, you'll definitely want to take note of the living environment in your home to see if you're making it the perfect breeding ground for silverfish. These pests flourish in humid areas of the house, such as basements or lower levels. Pest World says that silverfish do best when a space's humidity level is anywhere from 70% to 90%, with temperatures that range between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If this is the case for your home, purchasing a dehumidifier can help control your home's humidity levels since it pulls moisture from the air; that can in turn be an excellent way to help get rid of the ideal environment for silverfish to thrive. One of the best ways to keep bugs that thrive on moisture out of your house while keeping your home healthy is to keep your relative humidity from 30% to 50%, per the National Asthma Council.

2. Buy sticky traps

Sticky traps are an excellent way to catch spiders, centipedes, flies, and also silverfish. For example, the CatchMaster 724 Spider and Insect Glue Trap is a perfect option that can successfully trap silverfish and spiders. (We love a good two-for-one when it comes to creepy crawlies!) One reviewer loved this product saying, "I stuck one behind my bedroom door, checked on them a few days later, and saw two medium-sized ones caught! Eek! [It] gives me peace of mind that they get caught in these and [don't] crawl up and down my walls." They added that the placed the traps in parts of the home that are damp and dark.

If you would like to make your own DIY paste, Bob Vila says you can do just that by combining water and flour (you can add boric acid if you would like to as well). Then take a piece of paper or index card, add your homemade paste to it, place it in a spot where you know silverfish are, and wait for the results.

3. Clear out paper and books

It's essential to get rid of any paper or books in areas that silverfish could thrive. Once you do this, then you can do a rolled-up newspaper trap, as it is sure to entice any silverfish you may have in your home. According to Arrow Pest Control, take a rolled-up newspaper that's slightly wet the ends, and put it in an area where you've seen silverfish when they are most active — which is at night. By the time morning rolls around, you should find that they've infiltrated the newspaper. The company says that you can then throw away the newspaper or burn it.

Additionally, pest control company Massey Services has a few suggestions for paper-loving silverfish. The company says that they can thrive in attics or garages, so avoid bringing paper products into those living spaces, which could include cardboard boxes, gift wrapping paper, and books.

4. Try cedar oil and wood

Apparently, silverfish loath cedar oil and wood, the same way people dislike the smell of ammonia, per Hunker. According to the outlet, if you notice a massive problem of silverfish in your attic, one way to repel them is to have cedar shingles installed on your roof to keep these pests at bay. Additionally, in order to keep silverfish away from your foundation, use cedar mulch around plants that are close to your house. 

To deter silverfish from indoor areas, you could place Cedar Sense Cedar Rings in dark areas, such as a closet, to prevent silverfish from residing comfortably in these areas of your home. One reviewer said, "Bought a new home, had a silverfish and carpet beetle problem. Placed these in troubled areas while vacuuming daily, and the issue was gone within a week."

According to Healthline, silverfish intensely dislike the pheromones of cedar, so you could combine cedar oil with water or purchase a diffuser if need be.

5. Use a jar trap

Another popular method to get rid of silverfish is to use a jar trap and place items inside that silverfish can't get enough of. According to Orkin, silverfish love starchy foods, including pasta, grains, and sugary treats, so you can use those foods to lure them inside of the jar.

Additionally, Jarrod's Pest Control advises homeowners to take a glass jar, such as a mason jar or something similar, and wrap the outside of it with masking tape. They say that this method allows the silverfish to climb up the side of the jar and fall into it without the ability to climb back up since glass is a slippery surface for these irritating pests. But this is the most crucial part: Don't forget to put something starchy and extra enticing for them at the bottom of the jar, either bread or pasta, so that they will be enticed to get into the jar.

6. Put starchy foods in airtight containers

Prevention is a top method for keeping bugs like silverfish out of your home. To that end, since silverfish love starchy foods, you're going to want to take steps to protect your pantry. After all, silverfish are not going to want to take up residence in a home where there's no food. That's why Blue Sky Pest Control has a few suggestions for these carb-loving creatures. They explain that it is crucial to find airtight containers for your carbohydrate-based food items, including cereals, pasta, flour, and even your beloved pet's food.

Bio-Tech Pest Control says to take it a step further and store paper goods in an airtight container too, which would make sense since silverfish love paper products. Vtopmart Airtight Food Storage Containers feature seven different sizes of stackable containers and are an excellent way to keep bugs like silverfish out of your favorite food items.

7. Seal any cracks and crevices

One clever idea to keep silverfish (and other bugs, for that matter) from entering your home in the first place is to take a day and investigate the outside of your abode. Do you notice any cracks or crevices on the exterior walls, even if they are small ones? If so, you may want to work on sealing these areas as they can be how silverfish are entering your home.

After you have found the cracks, you will fill in any gaps and crevices with caulk. Additionally, another bright tip is spraying a home defense spray, such as Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Cracks & Crevices, which can be used to keep out several kinds of bugs for up to 18 months. Bob Vila also notes that when vacuuming, don't skip the cracks inside your home or your baseboards, which could be an excellent hiding spot for silverfish.

8. Call a professional

If you have tried all of the above methods to no avail and you still have a healthy infestation of silverfish, then you may want to give a professional exterminator a call. To have silverfish professionally eradicated, most homeowners pay around $400 for a single treatment or up to $700 for highly problematic infestations, according to Fixr. The company says that the most common treatments done by professionals are either using pyrethrin (a popular remedy used since the '50s) or diatomaceous earth. If pyrethrin is used, homeowners may want to be especially careful if kids or pets also live in the home. 

However, going with a professional to get rid of silverfish can ensure that the proper method is used, no matter what you decide to do. Per Orkin, a pro can look at your lifestyle and help determine the best route to go, which may end up saving you money and time in the long run.