Despite what their name suggests, silverfish are not fish but they do need moisture to survive. Silverfish are capable of squeezing into small gaps. They gain entry into the home through damaged doors, windows, walls and other damp-related defects that attract silverfish infestations. These types of damage offer ways for these pests into the home and a moisture source that can eventually lead to mould.
Jordan Foster of Fantastic Pest Control described these insects as “creepy little silvery nightmare creatures” that are attracted to “the dark, damp corners of your home”.
He added: “Like most pests, silverfish like to invade our homes because there is an abundance of food and a lack of predators.
“Human homes also have a lot of dark, damp hiding places where they can live their little creepy nocturnal lives.
“All of these elements combined make for a silverfish paradise where they can eat as much as they want, live without the fear of being hunted, and cause adults to scream like children when they run over their feet in the dark.”
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Jordan claimed that, unlike other household pests, they are slow to establish infestation levels of terribleness but, once they get to that point, they are “incredibly difficult to control and remove”.
If households see one darting in or out of their skirting boards, or on gaps around windowsills, it’s a pretty good sign that they have damp and that there’s moisture inside the property.
When left untreated, damp can cause dangerous and expensive issues. According to the experts at myjobquote.co.uk, damp “must” be dealt with “immediately”.
They noted: “The cost of fixing rising damp can be anywhere from £200 to £5,000 depending on the scale of the problem.”
Damp is expensive to fix as it can cause mould spores to spread, bricks to crack, and plaster to decay, destroying the structure of the house and the air quality too.
Of course, damp can be caused by all sorts of things from leaky drainpipes to condensation, ageing damp proofing or just poor ventilation, especially around bathrooms or kitchens where a lot of water is left hanging in the air. However, no matter the cause it should be dealt with straight away.
Condensation can form on pipes and fittings. Using fans and dehumidifiers can help prevent this from happening.
In addition to moisture, silverfish are drawn to homes that provide ample hiding places.
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Silverfish are sensitive to light and prefer to remain in dark areas. They can often be found in or under curtains, furniture, attics and clothes.
These pests are nocturnal, so homeowners don’t usually see them during the day. Many people don’t even realise they have an infestation until they move something the bugs are hiding under.
Silverfish have compound eyes that are extremely sensitive to light. They also have little sensory hairs covering their body, detecting the slightest change in the air.
Although small, silverfish are incredibly fast. When disturbed, the tiny insects quickly dart out from wherever they’re hiding and scramble to find a new hiding place. This can make it difficult to catch or eliminate them.
Like most insects, silverfish are often attracted to the garden before they ever find their way inside homes.
Depending on the species, most silverfish are attracted to damp, humid areas of the lawn.
Once the damp is dealt with, households can place sachets with scents such as citrus, cinnamon, and lavender in pantries and cupboards to deter silverfish from residing in these areas.
Jordan suggested: “Spread cedar shavings around areas you want to keep silverfish away from. They don’t like the smell and will naturally avoid those areas. Vacuum or sweep the shavings up once a week and replace them until you stop seeing silverfish.”