Silverfish Infestation November 2, 2018March 26, 2019 Daniel Rowland Many people struggle with silverfish infestation in their homes and gardens, especially in damper climates. A silverfish is a little silver colored bug, and it looks like a fish – thus the common name. They are .5 to 1 inch long. They have a flat, thin body and are often seen under sinks, in laundry rooms, basements and attics. The insulation in attics and boxes of stored belongings are a big attractor. These insects like dark places and are nocturnal (active at night). Although they appear innocent, they can destroy walls, floors, food and books. They are drawn to starch and molds, so any mold in a carpet, starchy foods in the cupboards, and molds in walls are an attractant. They can get stuck in drains in tubs and sinks. Most people have had occasion to see a silverfish in the tub. That’s because they are unable to get out– a tub or sink wall is too slippery for them to climb. The first thing to do to get a silverfish infestation under control is to remove, as much as possible, the attractants. Remove starches from kitchen cupboards, or store in secure containers. Keep sink and laundry areas dry. Repair any leaks in the plumbing. Dry off condensation that collects around windows and doors. Leave doors opened to cabinets under sinks. Other ways to prevent or lessen a silverfish infestation include keeping rooms well ventilated to discourage mold growth, and drains closed when not in use. A dehumidifier will help too. You can vacuum them up, but that will not get them all. Check the outside of your home and make sure there is no standing water. If there is mold on bricks, wood or stucco, or along the foundation, you can remove it with a stiff brush and some bleach or mold cleaning product. If you have plants growing right along the foundation of your home that need a lot of water, you can remove them and plant some drought tolerant varieties, or just leave the area unplanted. It is a good idea to remove any earth that is directly abutting the sides and foundation of the home. The next step to get rid of these destructive pests is using baits or pesticides, but if you want to be environmentally friendly, you can use diatomaceous earth (D.E.). It costs about 10.00 for a bag large enough to last almost forever. It’s a powdery substance which you can sprinkle along baseboards and in attics and basements, and other dark places. Be sure to use behind the refrigerator and stove, behind bookshelves and shelving or boxes in the garage, attic and basement. Then treat the outside of your home by sprinkling along the base of the structure and in any very moist places nearby. This substance causes silverfish to dehydrate, and it is non-toxic. However the dry, dusty property can harm skin or lungs. This is because of the sharp or abrasive quality of D.E. Wearing a dust mask and gloves while using easily mitigates this. Diatomaceous earth is available at most hardware or garden supply stores.