Listen, I hate bugs. Probably more than I should, but that's just the truth of the matter. I blame the fact that I grew up in the country so we had a lot of bugs around. Sure, some people think that should desensitize me, but instead it made me so much more wary.
If there is one bug, that means that somewhere, not too far away, there are hundreds more. While something like a fly is gross and annoying, it's nothing compared to one of the worst bugs ever: Silverfish.
These shiny-looking little monsters can infest your home, destroy your books, eat a bunch of your dry foods, all without being seen.
They are considered a "nuisance pest," which basically means that while they don't spread disease or harm humans, they can still damage your belongings.
How do you identify a silverfish?
As their name implies, their bodies are silver. They are a longer little beetle, and the adults are covered in tiny scales.
They are basically like a smaller, thinner cockroach who has been painted silver, and they're awful.
They move fast, and they got their name for the way the move side-to-side, just like a fish swimming.
What do they damage?
Silverfish are constantly looking for proteins and carbohydrates, but their favorite treat is bonding glue. They find it in your books and wallpaper, and can eat a thin layer of it in no time.
They will also eat cotton and linen, so when you leave these fabrics in your basement (a favorite hangout of silverfish) they have a good chance of being ruined.
How do you get rid of silverfish?
While you may not think it's a huge deal because they aren't harmful to humans, your belongings will be much happier without these little critters scuttling around.
Step One: Seal off their food sources
While you obviously can't hide away all of your books, you can put all of your cereals, flours, pastas, and other dry goods into airtight containers. This will prevent them from getting a free meal on your groceries, and hopefully get them out of your kitchen.
Honestly, having airtight containers is pretty ideal even if you haven't noticed silverfish. They will keep your food fresh longer and acts as a good preventative measure against other pests as well.
Step Two: Reduce humidity levels in the house
Your bathroom and basement are the prime areas that silverfish tend to hang out, because they are the most humid environments.
To reduce humidity, check that all of the pipes are tightened properly, and if possible, install an exhaust fan that you can use when you shower to help get rid of the moisture. You may need to have someone install it for you, but it's worth it.
In the basement, you're going to want to get a dehumidifier. Yes, it's a bit of a bigger expense, but first of all, it's going to protect you from silverfish, and second of all, it's going to make your house feel more comfortable. It's well worth it.
Also, depending on the size of your basement, there are some smaller options available that cost less. Just make sure that you empty the container regularly so it can keep doing its job!
Step Three: Repair any tears in wallpaper
Because silverfish love eating wallpaper paste, if there are any tears that give them access, they will use it to dig in for more.
Slowly but surely, their nightly snacks will cause the wallpaper to continue peeling away until it ends up looking terrible. Either pull it all down, or repair any cracks in the wallpaper before they create a breeding ground.
It's pretty easy to repair, you just need a simple seam repair tube that costs around $5 and it'll save you a lot of frustration.
Step Four: If possible remove clutter
If you tend to keep a lot of papers around that you don't need, think about getting rid of them. Even if you need to keep them, store them in airtight containers so bugs can't get in.
Step Five: Get yourself some Diatomaceous Earth
This dusty substance works well on a lot of bugs, including silverfish. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) helps to destroy the waxy coating on their exteriors, and they will die from lack of moisture.
You can put it in your cupboards, along the baseboards, and anywhere you have seen silverfish crawling around. It might take a few tries, but keep applying it and eventually it'll get rid of them.
Step Six: Set traps for whatever is left
By the time you've gone through all of these steps, you should probably be well on your way to a silverfish-free house, but just in case, it's always a good idea to set a few traps in their high traffic areas just to prevent them from coming back.
Traps are inexpensive, and will be your best defense against any of the leftover bugs.