What are Silverfish Bugs?

A Silverfish bug isolated on a white background
A Silverfish bug isolated on a white background

Out of the corner of your eye, you see something skitter across the floor. You immediately stop what you’re doing to investigate. 

Just as you expected, it’s an unwelcome creepy crawler. But what on earth is it? An elongated silver/brown bug that’s very extraterrestrial looking. The Silverfish. 

But what are Silverfish bugs

Silverfish look otherworldly enough to give anyone a small fright. If you find an infestation in your home, give Environmental Pest Management a call for a free quote. 

In this article, we will answer the question, “what are silverfish bugs,” so you can identify the culprit correctly!      

Silverfish Stats

What are Silverfish bugs?

Color: They range in colors from a white sliver color to brown

Size: They can be anywhere from 12-19 mm in length

Shape: They are elongated and tear-dropped shaped.

Appearance: They have a 3 part segmented tail at the end of their abdomen

What Are Silverfish Bugs?

Four Silverfish ranging in size next to a book.

They are small, wingless bugs that get their name from their coloring and fish-like movements. Silverfish are nocturnal creatures and, like most bugs, prefer to hide in dark, moist locations.

Silverfish can grow anywhere from half an inch to an inch long. They have a lifespan of two to eight years. 

Silverfish are most known for their odd appearances. They have two long antennae on their head and three-segmented bristles on their rear. 

They scurry about in a side-to-side motion that resembles a fish’s movements. You will often find silverfish searching for dark, moist, humid environments to hide. 

Where do Silverfish Live?

A Silverfish living in a basement

You can find Silverfish throughout most of North America. They are capable of thriving in a majority of climates. 

However, as we have mentioned, they prefer dark, damp areas (75-97% humidity), such as kitchens, attics, basements, and bathrooms. They seek out damp paper, cardboard, or clothing.

You might find them living under your bathroom sinks, in your boxes stored in your garage or attic. You could also see them hiding in the corners of your humid closet. 

Silverfish Reproduction

A closeup of a Silverfish bug on white carpet.

Before mating, the silverfish perform love dances. The male will lay a spermatophore, which is taken into the female’s ovipositor. Depending on the species, a female can lay anywhere from 2 to 20 eggs. The eggs can take 19-43 days to hatch, depending on climate and species.

They will deposit the eggs in cracks in the home or attic, making them difficult to spot. Silverfish are capable of producing eggs all year. 

Are They Harmful Or Cause Damage?

Damage caused by Silverfish bugs on a piece of paper.

The short answer to this question is yes. Silverfish are not poisonous nor carry any harmful diseases. Although, there is evidence that they can cause some people to experience reactions or allergies. 

A protein called tropomyosin found in their molted exoskeletons can cause an allergic reaction. You may find that you can be allergic to either their dry, molted skin or droppings. 

The most irritating part about silverfish is their destructive appetites. Silverfish thrive on a diet of carbohydrates, consisting of sugar and starches.

Their food sources will consist of cotton, linen, cellulose, paper, silk, and other dead insects. 

Silverfish do not discriminate when it comes to their food sources. You can find them in your pantry or tearing through your closet.

They will eat through the glue, book bindings, and pages of books and feast on clothing with natural fibers. Silverfish will not know the difference between a treasured book or piece of clothing from the toilet paper under your bathroom sink. 

How to Spot a Silverfish Infestation

A Silverfish infestation on a book.

The most common way people find out they have a silverfish infestation is finding one on their floor, bathtub, or sink. Another indicator of a silverfish infestation is damage from their feeding. 

You could also find traces of their tiny pepper-like droppings.

How to Prevent Silverfish

A woman setting up a dehumidifier to help prevent bug infestations.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for a Silverfish infestation to go unnoticed. They are quick-moving, nocturnal creatures. Their secretive habits and fast reproduction can allow an infestation to get out of hand quickly.  

You can take some precautions to prevent Silverfish from invading your home. 

  • Clean your floors and vacuum regularly to remove any leftover food crumbs. Food debris can become a potential feeding site. 
  • Store cereal or other grains in plastic containers to limit food sources
  • Reduce clutter within the home.
  • In crawl spaces, open vents to limit moisture build-up.
  • Utilize dehumidifiers in basements or humid areas
  • Clean your gutters and ensure water flows away from the house. 
  • Seal any cracks in the foundation where insects could enter.
  • Eliminate entry points by sealing or caulking doors, windows, and trim. 
  • Replace or repair broken or missing screens. 

What about Traps?

A close up shot of a silverfish bug so you can see the scales.

If silverfish have taken over your home, it is best to call a professional to create a plan to solve the infestation. Traps and store-bought insecticides will only kill the individual insects and not solve the widespread infestation.

The only way to rectify a silverfish infestation is to address the adults, offspring, and eggs. Many of the DIY methods falter over time, offering relief for a short time, followed by the infestation’s resurgence. 

The silverfish traps you find on the market can only target a few individual insects. They are not effective in trapping an entire population.

Environmental Pest Management Can Help

A pest control working spraying for bugs in a window sill.

At Environmental Pest Management, we use integrated pest control to solve your concerns. We will use a practical, environmentally safe approach that will be long-lasting and effective. 

Eliminating just the silverfish bugs will not provide a long-term solution. We will take care of the problem at its source: the eggs. 

We use our extensive knowledge of the pest’s life-cycle, habits, and feeding practices to treat your home. Your home will be pest-free and treated with environmentally conscious products.    

We work with you to develop a comprehensive pest management plan that will work best within your home. Contact us today for a free inspection.

Look Out for These Basement Bugs

A basement window with cobwebs.
A basement window with cobwebs.

What do you do if you see basement bugs? Instinct might say “sell the house!” but good news: you have less drastic solutions available.

Let’s look at what kinds of bugs you might find downstairs and how to prevent and eliminate these pest problems.

Like pill bugs, some might be annoying, while others, like termites, could damage your home.

If you are unsure if you have bugs in your basement, call the experts. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

What Basement Bugs Might Homeowners See? 

A centipede is a common basement bug. See one crawling across a baseboard.

You might not see any if you don’t look quickly when you click on the lights! Basement bugs scooch out of sight because most prefer places that are dark and damp.

Here are the usual suspects:

  • Earwigs and spiders
  • Termites and carpenter ants
  • Pillbugs and sowbugs
  • Centipedes and millipedes
  • Camel crickets and cockroaches

Let’s look at who’s on the lineup for pest control services.

Earwigs and Spiders

A small spider on a shelf in a basement bathroom.

Earwigs are also called pincer bugs because of the pincers they use to fight other earwigs. They may appear scary but are rarely harmful to humans.

They like being outside where they can feast on decaying plant matter. They may have accidentally hitchhiked to your basement in boxes or come in an unsealed crack.

With their trademark eight legs (instead of the buggy six), spiders are not insects. Their presence may still bug you, though! Like earwigs, they look frightening to many people and are undesirable visitors.

Termites and Carpenter Ants

In Minnesota, we’re more likely to deal with dry wood than subterranean termites, but both do show up here.

Termites are not directly dangerous to you and your family, but they can cause significant harm to your home. 

Carpenter ants might bite you, but again, the biggest trouble with them is they’re likely to damage structures. Professional pest control will evict these unwelcome wood destroyers.

Pill Bugs and Sowbugs

A Sowbug on a white background. These are common basement bugs.

You may have fun childhood memories of pillbugs as the roly-poly bugs that ball up when touched. Sowbugs look similar but don’t roll into balls.

These bugs are not scientifically insects. Instead, they are crustaceans related to their water cousins like crawdads and lobsters.

As land-dwelling crustaceans, pillbugs and sowbugs need reliable moisture sources to survive.

Centipedes and Millipedes

A centipede crawling along a basement floor.

Centipedes have 30 legs, not a hundred as their name might suggest. Likewise, millipedes don’t have a thousand legs but do have up to 90.

Both come inside buildings seeking warmth.

Millipedes won’t usually live long indoors. They may produce a foul-smelling liquid in self-defense. Avoid touching them as this can be irritating to bare skin.

Centipedes are an ally in that they eat other pests like spiders and flies. Even so, they can bite, so avoid contact with them.

If you see centipedes, let it be a red flag that other basement bugs likely need removal.

Camel Crickets and Cockroaches

A closeup of a large camel cricket on basement carpet

Camel crickets have a humpback shape for which they’re named. You won’t hear camel crickets as they don’t make chirps. They do jump, so watch out!

Cockroaches are winged red-brown oval-shaped bugs about an inch or longer. They don’t bite often but can transmit diseases.

You may see their feces or eggs before you see them. They’re also foul-smelling, so their odor may give them away too.

What Keeps the Bugs Out? 

A man sealing a window with caulk to prevent basement bugs.

Take these steps to reduce the number of basement bugs that make their way inside.

Block Their Entry Point

Basement bugs use nearby brush and debris as bridges from their natural outdoor environment into your home. Keeping the foundation cleared helps deter them.

Clean the perimeter as the first line of defense.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Get out your caulk gun and go hunting to seal any cracks you find. All of these basement bugs will take advantage of tiny openings.

Remove Their Food Source

Removing leaves and decaying garden matter from nearby your home will shut down the outdoor bug buffet. 

Inside your basement, keep your food stored on shelves in sealed containers. This will prevent your food from becoming theirs!

Eliminate Moisture

Water is the enemy of housing structures. Ensuring a dry building helps your home itself and keeps it unwelcoming to basement bugs.

Many bugs like centipedes need dark and damp habitats to survive. Making your basement light, bright, and dry will be comfortable for you and hostile to pests.

Audit the pipes and plumbing in your downstairs rooms and crawl spaces to confirm there are no leaks. Fix any drips or condensation problems.

How Do You Get Free of Basement Bugs? 

A dead cockroach on its back on a white background.

After you’ve taken measures to secure your home, you may still discover basement bugs.

Catch and Release

If you feel inclined, you can escort the trespasser off-premises. Cover it with a clear glass container and slide a piece of firm paper or cardstock underneath.

Take care if you try this approach, as some basement bugs do bite or pinch! Cautiously carry the covered critter outside and release it far away from your home.

License to Kill

Of course, this is your home, and you can kill basement bugs at will! There are some simple weapons to use against them.

Boric acid powder works to kill the invaders.

You can keep a spray bottle of water and rubbing alcohol and fire a shot of this at bugs you find. Label the sprayer to prevent misuse, and store it away from children.

Vacuum up basement bugs for handy removal. Empty the bag or canister to be sure they and any viable eggs leave from your home.

Call Professional Pest Control

A woman calling fro pest control on her large, rose gold iPhone.

If you see something scurry, there’s no need to worry! We have decades of experience identifying and removing pests and infestations.

We use Integrated Pest Management, so if we can choose non-chemical control, we do. We come to your home to clear it of pests and keep it safe for you and your family.

Call the bug busters at Environmental Pest Management for a free consultation or more information today. We’re ready to relieve you! Say goodbye to “ughs” over basement bugs!