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Silverfish in Queensland

February 16, 2017

Most people living in Queensland will be familiar with silverfish either through their own experience or someone else’s. You have probably seen them or evidence of them,  in your home or workplace. They are very common and very destructive. In this article, we are outlining what these insects are and how we manage our interaction with them.

Silverfish Lifecycle

Silverfish are a primitive, wingless insects with six legs. These insects are white to brown-grey or bluish-silver in colour and are teardrop-shaped measuring 12mm -19 mm in length. You can identify silverfish by their tapered body and fast wriggling movement, along with the appearance of silvery scales giving them some “fish-like” features.

The silverfish nymphs hatch from eggs. Females’ egg numbers and habits vary, depending on the species. One species lays a few eggs a day whereas another species lays clusters of 2 to 20 eggs, growing from nymph to adult in 4 months without a major change in their appearance.

Silverfish Lifecycle

Silverfish Diet and Habits

These insects like to dwell in dark, damp areas such as garages, sheds, kitchens and bathrooms and are capable of thriving in most climates. They are especially attracted to paper and damp clothing. Silverfish are commonly found in cupboards and in stored cardboard boxes.

Silverfish feed on natural products, cellulose, carbohydrates, sugars and starches.  Food sources include shampoos, glue in books, linen, wool, silk and dead insects. You will find them in a variety of common items in homes and businesses such as books, wallpaper, paintings, fabrics, carpets, coffee, sugar,  and other food debris. Silverfish have also been found in unopened food packages.

Silverfish can cause significant damage to clothing as well as spoiled food. However, our major problem with them is the damage they do to photos, documents,  books and fabrics.


Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

Silverfish are nocturnal and move very quickly.  They hide in dark corners, and a severe infestation may go unnoticed for long periods of time, allowing for exponential growth.

Most often, homeowners detect silverfish when they find one on the floor or in a wardrobe, sink or bathtub. In buildings, you will commonly find them in roof voids, sub-floors, bathrooms and laundries. Silverfish don’t come up drains, they fall into basins and baths and are unable to climb out.

Other than seeing a live silverfish, their feeding can indicate their presence, along with tiny pepper-like feces. You will detect their presence by holes in clothing, chewed areas on boxes and damage to pages of books. Sometimes you will see a yellow stain around the damage caused.

Tips for Silverfish Prevention in the Home

If you are stringent with hygienic housekeeping practices this may help prevent an infestation by limiting potential feeding sites. You can deny silverfish their food by keeping dust and debris to a minimum.  Also if you regularly vacuum all areas in the home, especially dark corners and undisturbed areas, this will help. Remember to empty your vacuum bag and make sure the contents are placed in a sealed bag and put in the outside bin after each use.  Clean up any spilt food immediately and store food in containers with tightly sealed lids.

Silverfish can survive in almost any environment, but they prefer areas with high humidity. Therefore, you can make a big difference by controlling the humidity in your home. Fixing leaks in pipe work, improving ventilation, and using dehumidifiers, air-conditioning or fans in bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, roof voids, sub-floors and any other damp areas can help discourage silverfish.

There are a variety of silverfish traps and insecticides sold in retail stores. However, these traps only target individual insects and cannot prevent silverfish infestations. Most do-it-yourself remedies prove ineffective over time, with brief periods of relief followed by another infestation.  Some people try to use cinnamon to repel silverfish from certain areas, but it does not kill the insects or their eggs.

Hitman can treat silverfish for you

You don’t want a silverfish infestation to take hold in your home. Therefore you need to contact Hitman as soon as you see evidence of them.  If you have an infestation then you need a professional to treat for both adults and their eggs.   A silverfish treatment is included in our Hitman Professional Pest Control VIP package and covered under our 12-month warranty!


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