silverfish crawling on a green-coloured hardbound book cover

What The Silverfish Could Be Doing In Your Bookshelf Or Closet

Silverfish are wingless insects with a scaly, silvery appearance and a tapered body. Their colour is usually metallic light grey or blue and they have three appendages on the rear section of their abdomen. Most of these insects do not grow longer than one inch. Silverfish are sometimes mistaken as centipedes due to their bristled body, long antennae and agile movement, which resemble those of centipedes.

They thrive in dark, damp and humid areas and are most active at night, when they are searching for food. Once they find a food source, they will keep their nest nearby. Interestingly, the silverfish can survive for about a year without food, although they will need to live in a highly humid area.

How Their Feeding Habits Can Damage Your Prized Possessions

Silverfish are known to feed on carbohydrates, specifically starches. Their common food source includes paper, plaster, glue and clothing. You may also find them feeding on food items in your pantry, such as flour, sugar, oats and even coffee. While the silverfish can contaminate food as they forage, unlike other pests, they do not transmit or cause diseases in humans.

However, silverfish can be a huge nuisance in the household, especially because they can cause significant damage to valuable items such as books, wallpaper and clothing.

Most often, our clients at Defence Pest Management find out about silverfish infestation in their homes after seeing old books and other materials in their shelves already damaged. Silverfish will bite materials and leave tunnel-like holes across several pages of a book, leaving the text harder to read.

Silverfish also damage starchy fabric, including clothes, curtains and tapestries. Aside from small holes, you will also notice yellow marks and stains on the items they have fed on.

Clearing Up the Infestation

One problem with silverfish infestations is that most people will only notice the presence of silverfish after they find book or clothing that has been damaged by these creepy-crawlers. On many occasions, these items are not being used too often, so the pests are left to feed for a longer period, allowing the damage to be left unnoticed.

Silverfish also move very quickly, so even if you find one between the pages of a book, you will most likely be unable to catch it immediately. And even if you do, there could still be an entire nest somewhere close by.

In order to effectively locate or to get rid of silverfish infestations you can ask the help of pest control professionals. This will make the task easier and help to avoid the population of silverfish from growing rapidly. Having your property regularly inspected by Defence Pest Management can also prevent many other types of pest infestations in your home.