I started noticing little holes in my clothes, and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. At first, I thought I might have gotten a moth infestation or something similar, but one day I saw a tiny little silver bug crawling around the floor of my closet. Without a doubt, I knew I had a silverfish infestation in my house, and my wheels started turning.
I got on the computer, started doing some research, and even got in touch with a few experts. I learned that there are quite a few different ways to get rid of silverfish from the house, but I wanted to stay away from the traditional poisons because I have pets and kids in the house. Here’s everything I learned when I asked the question, “How do I get rid of silverfish from my closet?”:
Silverfish, also known as lepisma saccharina, are tiny little bugs that are often found in homes. They get their name from their appearance and the way they move. They have a teardrop-shaped body that is flat. They can vary in color from white to a muddy grey, or then bluish silver color. They have three tiny legs on either side of their body, two long antennas and two shorter ones on their heads, and three tails, two shorter on the sides and a longer one in the center on their rear. Their size can be anywhere from 12 to 19mm in length. These bugs move in a very peculiar way, much like a fish, and can move forward, backward and even sideways.
These bugs are not dangerous to humans, but they can be quite pesky. They feed on starchy food, old books, magazines, wallpaper glue, photographs, clothing, and other items. These bugs are nocturnal and feed at night. When they are not feeding, they hide in humid and dark areas of the house until. They can also go for long periods without any food, and they multiply very quickly.
Silverfish are likely going to get into your closet and try to snack on your clothes, and that is something you want to avoid. If you spot a silverfish in your closet, there are a few different things you can do to get rid of it. Keep in mind that this bug is probably not there on its own! Here are some things to do if you see a silverfish in your closet:
Take some open containers with food that attracts silverfish. Make sure you use a slightly tall glass jar and fill it just slightly with starchy food. There are two ways to set the trap; the first would be to put double-sided tape on the outside, so the silverfish get stuck as they try to climb up the jar. The second way is to put masking tape on the outside of the jar, which will allow the silverfish to climb up the sides. Once they drop into the small amount of food, they will not be able to climb back up on the smooth surface of the glass from the inside. Replace the trap frequently till you stop seeing new silverfish.
Silverfish love to live in high moisture and humid areas. With this trap, you can create their perfect environment to hide in and then destroy it. Roll up a newspaper and wet it. The dark and moist inside of the newspaper will be their ideal spot to hide and lay their eggs. After a few days, burn the newspaper and replace it with a new one.
Diatomaceous Earth or DE for short, is a white powder that is made up of fossilized algae. Purchase this powder and sprinkle it on the parameter of the base of your closet. What this powder does is, it decomposes the outside waxy layer that silverfish have to retain moisture, which they need to survive. Once the silverfish is no longer able to retain moisture, it dies.
Silverfish do not bite, and they are not carriers of any diseases, so they are safe for humans and pets. However, as I mentioned earlier, silverfish can be a great nuisance because of what they tend to feed on. Since these creatures have a diet that is mostly starch and high protein, they tend to get into stored food, but worse, they eat books and clothes too.
The worst part about having these creatures in the home is that they can survive for long periods without any food, and they can still multiply at an alarming rate. So, while it might not be a danger in the direct sense, these bugs can become pests in more than one sense of the word.
What Are Silverfish a Sign Of?
Now, you might think that having silverfish in the home only means having some tiny holes in your clothes, a few nibbles in your favorite book, or a bite out of a precious photograph. In reality, a silverfish infestation can be a sign of a much bigger underlying problem.
Now that we know that silverfish need high humidity levels and moisture to survive, it is safe to assume that if you have found them in your home, they have probably found a place with tons of moisture in your house. These little bugs probably got into your home from a spot that was compromised; somewhere, your home might be affected by water damage.
Several different things can cause water damage. You could potentially have leaking pipes, a damaged foundation, or clogged gutters. Once these critters have entered through the compromised area, they will move on to other high moisture places like the basement, kitchen, and bathroom.
Once you have gotten rid of the silverfish infestation in your house, you need to put a plan together to ensure that these pests don’t ever come back. These plans start with understanding what brought the silverfish into your home in the first place. If there was some water damage in your house that allowed the silverfish into your home, the first thing to do is to find out where it was and get that fixed up as soon as possible.
Once that is done, it is time to start looking into what steps to prevent the infestation from happening again. After identifying water damage as the problem and rectifying it, it is time to start looking into all of the external pipes in your house. Check the basement, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. Look at all the exposed pipes under the sink, or anywhere else they may be and make sure that they are tightly secured, and there is no possibility of leakage. If you want to take an extra step, some experts suggest putting a dehumidifier in places like your basement to be sure.
Next, you want to make your way into the kitchen and pantry. Any stored food you have in the kitchen cabinets or the pantry needs to be stored properly; otherwise, it will become silverfish food. This includes all cereals and grains and anything else that is similar. Instead of leaving these foods in their original packaging, transfer them into airtight containers that are properly closed. Not only will you be keeping silverfish at bay, but you’re likely to keep your food fresher for longer.
When silverfish can’t get into your pantry and kitchen food items, they’re going to look around the house for other food. This includes papers, books, and photographs. If you have your books on a bookshelf, make sure you clean around them regularly. Keep your photographs stored properly in a box away from moisture. Most of all, you want to get rid of old papers, newspapers, and magazines that you will probably never look at! De-clutter your house, and keep these bugs away from your home.
You might see a single silverfish around the house, kill it, and think that your job is done. If you do that, you’re going to be in for a surprise. If you see one silverfish, hundreds of them are probably lurking and hiding behind the walls or somewhere with lots of moisture.
Like I mentioned earlier, silverfish can survive for a long period with no food, and a female can lay up to 100 eggs in her lifetime. These eggs can hatch, and the bugs can be fully grown within just 3 months. If you see one, you better find the rest as quickly as possible before they start multiplying.
I hope these steps help you get rid of any silverfish infestation you might have in your closet. Honestly, when I kept asking, “how do I get rid of silverfish in my closet?,” all answers kept pointing me toward getting rid of them from everywhere rather than just my closet. The only way you can ensure that you are done with the infestation is to remove them from anywhere.
Once you have gotten rid of them, make sure to take the extra steps afterward, so these pests don’t come back. Make the environment uninviting to silverfish, and hopefully, you won’t have to deal with them again!