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6 Powerful Easy Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish Completely

September 1, 2016
Silverfish on white background.

If you have a silverfish infestation, the first thing you’ll want to know is how to get rid of silverfish bugs. These pests are not cute and cuddly, and just thinking of them is enough to give a person goosebumps.

Before we even go into silverfish treatment, we’re going to discuss preventative measures as well as the cause for your infestation.

How to Prevent Silverfish

Anyone that already has a full blown infestation didn’t do everything they could to prevent these bugs. And the truth is that there are so many bugs, you’ll never be able to prevent them all.

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Silverfish on white background.There is a lot you can do to help prevent most bug infestations.

What Causes Silverfish?

The truth is that you probably had nothing to do with your silverfish problem. These pests can come into the home in construction material before anyone even lived in the home, or they could be transported on groceries or many paper products.

And even if the home is spotless, these pests can live for 2 – 8 years and go a staggering year without food.

They’re extremely resilient, and they can produce 100+ offspring in their lifetime. And since these pests love old paper – they even eat glue and wallpaper – there is one thing you can do to help prevent these bugs: remove their food source.

Preventing Silverfish

Silverfish in your house need a food source, so do your best to rid your home of all paper products. If you have important documents and files, make sure to close them in an airtight bin for best results.

Wet and molded wood is also a major source of food.

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If you know there is a leak or molded wood, repairing the wood will further lead to less food for these pests. And certain foods need to be sealed properly or removed, including:

  • Flour
  • Starch
  • Sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Coffee

But since the silverfish insect lives for so long without food, this is just a good preventative measure and will do little to kill the pest.

Seal Any Holes and Crevices

All holes and crevices need to be sealed. If you have any gaps between molding, use caulk to fill up all of these holes. This is bug removal 101, and it will help keep out countless species of bugs so that your home is less at risk of being infested.

Start by looking at all of the molding in each room of the home and start caulking away.

Caulk is very cheap, and this is something that can be done in just a few hours unless your home is huge.

Buy Door Sweeps

Gaps under the door, no matter how small, can let a variety of bugs into your home. An option that you have is to either add more trim to the door, or you can purchase a door sweep. This will be used for doors that lead out of the home.

What this does is add a “sweep” to the door.Brick wall with old wooden door, alongside worn broom.

Essentially, a metal or rubber sweep will close the gap between the floor and the door.

If you feel a draft from the door in the winter, these sweeps will stop the problem. On a side note, this is a great way to save on your energy bills during the winter months. Doors can let in a lot of cold air when not sealed properly, and a cheap door sweep can reduce the escaping of hot air dramatically.

If you silverfish in the bedroom, or any rooms with windows, you’ll want to look to see if any gaps exist. You may need to reseal the window with some caulk or fix a small hole that is causing these pests to enter the home.

If you have an attic, also check to ensure that these pests are not eating insulation.

Keeping your home clean and clutter-free will also help to reduce the chances of silverfish entering the home. If you allow these nocturnal pests to hide away, they’ll stay in your home for as long as possible providing that they have a food source available to them – yuck.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish extermination can be very difficult, and if the infestation is very bad, you’ll want to call in a professional. The ability to go so long without food allows these pests to become a real nuisance to remove.

If you want to get rid of these bugs, we recommend starting with:

Silverfish Traps

Traps are a good way to get rid of silverfish. There are a variety of traps available:

  1. Commercial Traps

Commercial traps are specifically designed to kill and attract silverfish. This has a benefit over homemade traps because they’re much easier to use, and they’ll be developed for killing silverfish specifically.

A few options available are:

  • Pest No More GP430 Silverfish
  • Dekko Silverfish Trap
  • Victor M256 Traps

What these traps often do is lure in the silverfish with some tasty paper and trap them in place with glue. There are other traps that lace the paper with poisons. The silverfish will eat the paper and ingest the poison, which will lead them to a slow demise.

  1. Newspaper Trap

Pixelated red Fishing Hook icon on Newspaper background.You need to be very careful with this trap. You’ll want to place these around your home for best results. This is done by doing the following:

  • Collect a bunch of newspapers and roll them up
  • Place rubber bands an inch in from the end of the newspaper ends
  • Moisten the paper
  • Place them strategically in the home
  • Place some outside of the home, too

And the silverfish will begin to eat the paper. Simply throw the paper in the garbage and throw it out. Some people go as far as burning the newspaper, but if you do follow this course, ensure that you only burn the newspaper in a fireplace or on the concrete outside of the home. Always remain cautious not to burn down your home in the process.

  1. Homemade Silverfish Bottle Trap

You’ll be able to make your own silverfish bottle trap, and this is a great way to catch these bugs so that you can later kill or dispose of the pests. Getting started, you’ll need:

  • 1 glass bottle
  • Tape

You want to apply tape to the bottle so that the sticky side of the tape is exposed. This will allow the bug to be able to walk into the bottle, but they won’t be able to exit the bottle because the glass doesn’t provide any traction.

Place one-inch of water into the bottom of the bottle.

Note: You can also place a bit of flour at the bottom of the bottle (without water).

Which one works better?

We’ve found that using flour is better to attract the silverfish and trap them. For whatever reason, a lot of the times, the water trap doesn’t yield any results. The slight dampness may attract the bugs, but it doesn’t seem to work as well with this trap, so try each for yourself and get rid of them using the method that works bests for you.

Silverfish Spray

One of the best silverfish killers is spray. But you’ll need some form of insecticide in most cases to be able to truly kill these pests. There are control kits on the market that work well, or you can choose to make your own spray.

A few options you have are:

  1. Commercial Sprays

Commercial sprays will use a poison to kill silverfish. If you have pets or kids, this may not be the option you want to pursue as there is a level of toxicity to worry about with any type of poison used in the home.

  1. Citrus Spray

A great silverfish repellent is citrus spray. This can be made by:

  • Filling a water bottle ¾ of the way with water
  • Fill the remaining with lemon juice

A bottle of lavender spray on white background.This will be a very potent spray, but it is a great repellent for silverfish. All you need to do is spray the mixture around the home and you can even clean surfaces with it.

  1. Lavender Spray

Lavender oils are another natural repellent for silverfish. You can apply the oil to the corners of a room where the pests like to stay, or you can also add it into a water bottle as mentioned with the citrus spray.

Since these essential oils are very concentrated, you’ll only need to add 10 drops of the oil to the water for it to be effective.

If you had an infestation in the past and are worried about your home getting infested in the future, one method that works very well is the use of cinnamon.

Professionals agree that cinnamon is a great way to repel silverfish. The smell is not welcomed, and you’ll want to place cinnamon in areas where silverfish are most common. This will not kill these critters, but it will cause them to stay out of your home.

Since females can lay 2 – 30 eggs at a time, you need to address the infestation as quickly as possible. Cinnamon should be another tool you use to deter silverfish.

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