Why Silverfish Invade Western Massachusetts Homes

April 14, 2021

a group of silverfish eating paper

In: Occasional Invaders

Ever flip a light switch and see a silvery, bristled insect scurry across the floor? You’ve encountered a silverfish, a very common nuisance pest in Western Massachusetts.

Silverfish aren’t harmful – they don’t bite, sting, or spread disease. But they can startle you and they like to eat common household items. That’s why you should seek professional pest control treatment if you develop problems with silverfish in your home.

What Are Silverfish?

Despite their name, silverfish are insects. They’re also sometimes called bristletails or fishmoths. Adult silverfish are about ¾’’ long. Two antennae protrude from their heads, and three bristly appendages extend from their last abdominal segment. Their bodies are brown, but silverfish have shiny metallic scales covering their teardrop-shaped bodies. These scales, along with the distinctive way they move, give silverfish their name. Nymph silverfish look just like adults but are smaller and don’t develop scales until after several molts.
 
Silverfish don’t fly. They move in a wriggling, swim-like manner across the floor or wall. Despite the odd motion, silverfish can move very quickly. And given that silverfish are small and flat, they can easily fit into cracks and crevices or hide behind your walls.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Fun fact – as long as they have access to water, silverfish can live an amazing 300 days or longer without food. When they do eat, silverfish are foragers. They’ll eat bits of food they encounter on the floor and under appliances. They’re especially fond of high protein meals, including dead and injured insects. But they also like to munch on books, anything with glue, cereal, wallpaper, and paper products.

If you have a severe silverfish infestation, you might find irregular-shaped holes in the pages of a book. The insects’ excrement can also stain papers and walls.

Why Do Silverfish Live In Your Home?

Like most pests, silverfish come into your home looking for food and a comfortable place to live. Silverfish prefer humid, moist environments. They don’t have great eyesight either, so they tend to prefer dark places. That’s why you’re more likely to find them in bathrooms, attics, and basements.

They find their way into your home in packages or boxes as well as through tiny cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation. If you’re moving, they might hitch a ride in a box, especially if you reuse boxes.

Silverfish Prevention

Controlling moisture and eliminating access points are keys to silverfish prevention. Here are some practical ways to keep silverfish out of your Western Massachusetts home.

  • Fix leaky pipes and faucets.

  • Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels. 

  • Replace water-damaged wood on the interior of your home.

  • Seal up potential entry points with caulk. These may be around the foundation, or the spaces beneath or behind baseboards, holes in walls, or around windows and doors.

  • Store books, magazines, and paper products in sealed containers.

  • Store cereal, pet food, and dry goods in containers with tight-fitting lids.  

  • Inspect preowned books for silverfish before bringing them inside.

  • Stack woodpiles away from the exterior of your home.

The Best Silverfish Control Option

A professional pest control service can help answer your questions about silverfish and provide assistance with infestations. American Pest Solutions provides inspections and treatments along with ongoing protection from silverfish and other pests like cockroaches and ants.
 
American Pest Solutions is a family-owned business with more than 100 years of experience in protecting people and property from pests. Contact us today and let us help you protect your home from nuisance pests like silverfish. 

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