Finding silvery insects lurking in the shadows of your house is always disgusting, but it’s worse when you’re in the bathroom. Silverfish are quick little wormy insects that scurry around in the dark shadows and disappear in small cracks and into the drain the moment you switch the light on or get too close to them.
These nocturnal insects particularly enjoy damp, dark spaces, which is why they most frequently seek refuge in bathrooms.
Why Do Silverfish Settle in Bathrooms?
It’s not just your bathroom that silverfish like any damp and dark spaces such as your basement, the corners of your kitchen, and more are potential breeding grounds for these pests. However, since you use the bathroom more frequently than your basement or other dark spaces, you’ll notice them here first. The moist environment is perfect for them and they may hide in the shadows under your washbasin and so on.
How to Tell If Your Bathroom Is Infested With Silverfish
While most people learn about a silverfish infestation the old-fashioned way: by seeing them running across the floor in the middle of the night, others don’t necessarily see them. If you are noticing tiny holes in your bathroom/shower curtain, your bath mat, and any clothes that are hanging in your bathroom, it may be because of silverfish which eat starches and fibers.
Similarly, if you have any paper in the bathroom which appears to be eaten, it might be because of silverfish.
How to Get Rid of Silverfish in Your Bathroom
Silverfish mostly creep out at night, but fortunately, you can get rid of them with consistent effort. Try the following method:
Step 1: Remove Moisture from the Bathroom
The reason silverfish like it in your bathroom is because of the moisture. Dry out the space by letting any clothes or towels air-dry before putting them in a clothes basket or hanging them on a bathroom rack. If you have any faucets that drip or any internal plumbing that is causing leakages, get them fixed.
Once you’ve used the bathroom, thoroughly dry the washbasin, tub, and shower.
Keep your bathroom properly ventilated by opening a window or placing a small fan inside to keep the air clean and to remove any dampness.
If you live in a very humid environment or your bathroom gets very stuffy, you may need to keep a dehumidifier to get rid of the moisture.
Step 2: Shut Down Openings
Silverfish will look for cracks in the walls and other small spaces to breed in. to prevent a growing infestation, use some caulk to seal up any visible cracks in the walls and/or flooring. If you have any broken bathroom tiles, replace them.
Step 3: Keep Your Bathroom Clean
Silverfish eat many things including fibers that fall off your clothes, dust, and the bodies of other insects. Make sure you don’t have any items in your bathroom that can be a source of nourishment for these pesky insects and that your bathroom is always clean. If you have a dustbin in there, empty it out regularly.
One hack that has been successful for some people is the use of bleach to clean the bathroom walls, which keeps these insects away.
If you’re a fan of reading magazines in the bathroom, make sure you take them outside when you leave. Silverfish like to eat paper and glue and they may start breeding among the pages of your magazines.
Step 4: Use Insecticides
If the silverfish don’t go away despite your bathroom being dry and spotless, use liquid and spray insecticides on the bugs every time you see them. Look for insecticides with active ingredients like propoxur and chlorpyrofis which are effective against silverfish.
Step 5: Call the Exterminator
If the infestation is beyond your control and the silverfish are seen darting around the shadows all the time, you may need to seek professional help to eliminate the problem for good. This is because even if you’re very thorough in your cleaning and use pesticides, these substances will not be able to get rid of silverfish eggs.
Substances That Can Be Used to Get Rid of Silverfish
There a range of over-the-counter remedies that can help you in your war against these silver-armored bugs:
When silverfish come into contact with this white powdery substance, it melts their exterior shell, and they start to dry out and eventually die. Sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth near cracks, openings, and dark spots in your bathroom. Ideally, sprinkle it in the latter half of the day since they generally make an appearance after dark.
Use Cedar Shavings & Scents
Silverfish have an aversion to the smell of cedar so placing shavings near cracks or lighting a candle that smells of cedar can help keep them away. Spices have a similar effect on them and can be used the same way.
Citrusy smells and floral perfumes like lavender also keep silverfish at bay and are safe for humans which is why they are a suitable choice to keep silverfish away, especially if the infestation is not very serious yet.
Use Silverfish Traps
You can find a range of commercial products designed to trap and kill silverfish. These usually contain a mix of boric acid which is very strong.
Note: Poisonous ingredients like boric acid are extremely toxic for humans and should be kept out of reach of little children and pets.
You can place these substances on some old newspaper or other old paper since silverfish are attracted to it. In the morning, you’ll find that the ones that came for a snack will have been poisoned and died.
Precautions to Keep Silverfish Out of Your Bathroom
Apart from the cracks in the bathroom walls or flooring, silverfish may also enter your bathroom. If you have any plants on your bathroom window sill or any creeping ones on the wall outside, the moisture stored in the mulch and leaves will attract these insects. Keep your window sill free of moisture and if the bugs aren’t going away, you may need to either get rid of your window plants or replace them with drier options like succulents.
Are Silverfish Dangerous?
Apart from giving you a scare if you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, silverfish are pretty harmless. They are not poisonous and there is no proof that shows that they can spread diseases. They do however shed their skin which can be dangerous for people with allergies.
Keep Your Bathroom Pest-Free
While silverfish aren’t exactly harmful, it can be quite repulsive to walk into the bathroom at night and see a silvery insect skating to hide from you. It’s even worse if there are multiple silverfish in different places such as in the sink, the bathtub drain space, and by the window.
Fortunately, if you catch the infestation early on, you can eliminate the problem with a little extra cleaning, dehumidifying the bathroom, and closing any small openings. If the problem has gotten worse, you can still get rid of silverfish with insecticides, homemade bug traps, and as a last resort, hiring an exterminator who will not only get rid of the insects but also the eggs that they’ve laid all over your bathroom.
Please note that if you are dealing with silverfish in the bathroom, it’s advisable to check other damp areas of the house in case the infestation has spread.
What Do Silverfish Look Like?
Silverfish are somewhat flat and long and their bodies are covered in scales. They grow to a length of at most 0.75 inches. They don’t have the ability to fly but can move at a very fast speed, which is why they can be pesky to get rid of.
What Do Silverfish Eat?
Silverfish eat just about anything such as fibers, other dead insects, or even their own exoskeletons, which they shed. Apart from that, they are notorious for consuming substances like paper, carpeting, glue, and hair. Silverfish can survive without any food for at least a few months which is why it can be tricky to get rid of an infestation.
Do Silverfish Live in Drains?
Since silverfish are attracted to damp spaces, many people worry if they hide out in the bathroom drain. While they do like a moist and humid environment, silverfish are incapable of moving on vertical and smooth surfaces and are unable to live in drains. In fact, many times they are discovered near the bathtub drain or around your sink because they’re looking for a place to escape to.