When most people think of pests, the silverfish isn’t the first example that comes to mind. However, these serpentine insects are worth knowing about before they start causing problems on your property.
What are Silverfish?
Silverfish are among the most difficult common pests in the UK to identify; a situation which isn’t helped by their misleading name. Silverfish are not fish, just in case you thought this was an issue that only home aquariums have to worry about. If you’re unlucky enough to get a good look at a silverfish up close and in detail, you’ll understand why they are referred to as ‘fish’, despite clearly being insects. Their light-grey colouring and unusual fish-like movements are unlike any other common household pest you’ll find in the UK.
What Problems do They Cause for Homeowners?
The damage caused by household pests falls into four distinct categories:
- Health hazards: Some pests can transmit and spread a range of nasty diseases. Cockroaches, rodents, and birds all have the potential to bring some very nasty diseases into the properties they infest.
Fortunately, Silverfish do not carry diseases with them; you don’t have to worry about catching something nasty from them.
- Contamination: Not all pests carry diseases with them, but many still have the capacity to cause health problems through contamination. For example, cockroaches do not carry diseases themselves, but they like to spend their downtime wandering through sewage works and other unclean places. When they walk from their filthy hideouts to your kitchen, they bring all those contaminants with them.
This is where silverfish are more problematic. Silverfish will happily chew through paper packaging and find their way into anything they can in your pantry. They are particularly fond of sugar, oats, and flower.
- Damage to structures: To look at most common pests, you would think they stand little chance of causing serious damage to any modern building. However, while most pests will only cause superficial damage to buildings, some can cause issues that threaten the building’s structural integrity.
In this regard, silverfish fall somewhere in the middle. They aren’t like termite or carpenter bees and ants, who will happily gnaw away at wooden foundations until the whole structure is compromised.
- Damage to property: Most common pests in Britain are capable of damaging your personal property in some way. Insects often like to lay their eggs in fabrics, meaning your clothes and furniture could be contaminated without you even knowing. Different pests will prefer different materials to choose from, but there’s a pest eager to eat their way through just about any material.
Silverfish are not at all fussy about what they eat. The list of materials they will happily work their way through is enormous. But here are some of the most common items swordfish have been known to make a meal of around the house.
- Exposed toothpaste tubes
- Books and magazines, regardless of paper type
- Cardboard; including storage boxes and collectable cards
- Silverfish prefer natural fabrics; silk, linen, cotton. But they will also consume synthetics.
As with any kind of pest infestation, the most reliable indicator that you have a problem is the presence of live specimens. There’s no proof more definitive than seeing the actual living pests that are causing you so much grief. But many homeowners will notice the signs of damage caused by silverfish before they see the creatures themselves.
Common signs of a silverfish infestations include yellow stains on synthetic fabrics, small feeding holes along the edges of paper and books, and their presence in unsealed packets of dried food.
Silverfish are one of those pests that rarely turn up on their own. If you have live specimens on your property, or you notice the tell-tale indirect signs of an infestation not far away, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a multifaceted problem. Silverfish don’t just cause numerous problems on their own, but their presence usually indicates existing damage through which they have been able to gain entry. Silverfish will exploit holes created by water damage; they don’t chew their way into a home through the walls.
How to Get Rid of a Silverfish Infestation
Silverfish require damp, humid conditions to thrive. This is why they often favour kitchens, bathrooms, and other dark, isolated areas where there is plenty of moisture.
As a result, fixing old, leaking pipework and ensuring proper ventilation will make these places less appealing for silverfish. If you also use a dehumidifier, you can make the environment inhospitable. This will hopefully be enough to convince them to leave.
As with any pest, if you remove the silverfish’s food source, they will have no choice but to leave. Unfortunately, given that they will eat just about anything, this is a difficult route to take. Among the most common features of the silverfish diet are:
- Pasta, cereal, and other dry foods
We’re not suggesting you start throwing out your books or stop buying coffee. But anything you can do to make these less accessible to silverfish will help to alleviate an infestation. Regular vacuuming will pick up much of the debris that silverfish rely on for sustenance.
There are DIY pest control sprays that advertise themselves as being effective against silverfish. These sprays are effective against minor infestations if you’re lucky enough to catch them early, but they have serious limitations. Large or recurring outbreaks will require the services of a pest control professional.
Not only will we deal with the infestation itself, but we will also provide homeowners with the advice and guidance they need to prevent future outbreaks. There are plenty of mice living in London; anyone living in the city will inevitably encounter them now and then. But there is no reason that an infestation in your home or business has to be an inevitability. As long as you adhere to some simple guidelines, you can maintain a mouse-free environment with ease.
Why You Need a Professional Pest Control Service
Professional pest control services like Bon Accord give you the best chance possible against any infestation. Our technicians won’t just turn up with off-the-shelf bug spray that anyone can buy. Some people assume that we simply use a more powerful spray only available to pest control businesses, but our methods are much more sophisticated than that.
Sprays, poisons, and traps all form part of our repertoire, but every infestation is different. When you call in Bon Accord to deal with a pest problem, you are paying for our experience and expertise as much as the equipment we use. The first stage of treating any pest infestation is to conduct an initial assessment. This will tell us exactly what the problem is, how well-established the infestation is, and why it appeared to begin with.
With this information on our side, we can formulate a bespoke plan of action tailored to your infestation’s precise nature and your individual needs. Pest outbreaks of business premises present extra challenges because of the need to minimise disruption. Bon Accord has worked with countless businesses over the years, coming in out of hours when necessary. We are always discrete, yet thorough in every job we handle.
We will provide you with regular updates regarding the status of your infestation and our efforts to eradicate it. You can also contact a member of our team at any time with your questions and concerns.
How to Discourage Future Outbreaks
Silverfish are common pests, but there are several simple steps you can take to deter infestations. Preventing them from occupying your home to begin with is much simpler and cheaper than removing an active infestation. Here are some of the most effective ways you can keep them away:
- Make sure all foodstuffs are sealed away tightly and securely. This is especially important for dry foods like grains, pasta, and cereal, which silverfish love
- Remove waste paper and cardboard from your home as soon as you are done with it
- Keep general clutter to a minimum
- Hoover your home regularly, making sure to pick up ay food crumbs and debris on the floor
- Keep your gutters clean and ensure they can drain properly
- Invest in a dehumidifier; silverfish love the damp
- Seal any cracks and crevices in your walls and ceiling that silverfish could enter through.
As part of our service, we will explain to property owners how pests were able to infest their home or business and walk them through any measures they can take to prevent outbreaks from recurring in the future. Of course, in the very unlikely event that our pest control technicians leave and you experience a recurrence almost immediately, we will be more than happy to rectify the issue for you.
Silverfish are one of the more obscure common pests found in the UK. While they are not dangerous, these pests can cause a surprising amount of damage to furniture and property if left unchecked. Any home or business owner who suspects they might have a silverfish infestation on their property should call Bon Accord today to discuss the situation and arrange for our team to come and make an initial inspection.
HOW CAN WE
Get in touch with our friendly customer service team now if you want to book an appointment or if you have any questions about pests and what can be done to get rid of them – for good.