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Are Silverfish Harmful?

Silverfish are small insects, named for their brown and grey or blue and silver color, and are common household pests. Because they are most active at night and prefer dark, damp spaces, most homeowners do not realize they have an insect problem, at first. When they are found in the home, usually because they cast off skin or leave behind feces, most homeowners wonder if they are dangerous.

The good news is, silverfish are not harmful to humans or pets. They do not bite, and they are not poisonous. However, silverfish can do serious harm to a home due to their feeding habits. They like to live in dark, warm places, such as kitchens, basements, attics, or even the area around pipes, and when they enter, they search for starches to eat. This means they can get into the glue, paste, or adhesives surrounding pipes and vents, and also feed on lumber or other construction materials. Over time, they can do serious damage to the infrastructure of a home, and will live for a long time in moist environments if left untreated.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to deal with silverfish. Once a homeowner realizes they have a silverfish problem, they can try to tackle it on their own using a number of home or store-bought remedies, or may seek professional help.There are a number of home remedies to treat silverfish. Suggested methods include:

  • Using borax and sugar in a jar to trap the bugs. If you choose to use this method, and you have children or pets, you will want to be sure the trap is kept well out of their reach, since borax is toxic if ingested.
  • Making a trap out of a jar, tape, and a snack, such as crackers. The bugs will be able to get into the jar, but will become trapped. This method will work best for smaller infestations.
  • Diluting ceder water and spreading it along cracks and crevices where the bugs may get in. The smell is undesirable to the bugs, and they will stay away. This method is non-toxic and does not require you to empty a trap. However, you will have to find every entrance to your home, which will take time.
  • There are also a number of store-bought methods, including spray for your foundation and traps. As with any home-made method, these traps take time to work, and often require you to know where the silverfish are entering the home. The chemicals in these products should also be a consideration for those with children or pets, or people sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Because silverfish nest in quiet, dark places, it can be impossible to know where they are, making setting traps difficult. Because of the damage they can cause, an infestation should not go untreated, but it can be hard to be sure all of the bugs have been eliminated. Most treatments also require follow-up, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and may not work.

For a severe infestation, or if home remedies are not working, it may be a good idea to consider hiring a professional exterminator in order to protect your most valuable investment: Your home. For a free pricing quote, consider using the tools on this site to get in contact with a local professional who can help save your home and keep your family safe. When it comes to silverfish, the real harm is what you cannot see, and a professional can help you make it right.

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