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How do I get rid of silverfish?

Urban Silverfish, Bristletails

Quick Facts

Lepisma saccharina

12-25mm (0.5’-1.0’),
Blue/Silver in Colour,
Urban in nature,
Quick Movement,
Feed on Carbohydrate
(Sugars, Starches)
How do I get rid of silverfish?
I am a student in Memorial University on Campus housing and recently I have seen numbers of "silverfish" running around on my floor. I think they are silverfish anyways but i'm not sure. Can you help me out bug promoters?
Silverfish are common urban insects that prefer the habitat that humans create for them. They are found in many places around the home that are dark, damp, and have an abundant food source however some species have been seen to live for up to a year without food. By being somewhat nocturnal the silverfish may elude the vision of some people. From personal experience they usually dart off towards a corner or space in the room, but there are exceptions. The key things to look for when identifying the silverfish quickly would be to notice the tear drop shaped body and silverish blue colour. The three prominent “tails” at the end of the body are easily recognized as well.
Ecology & Biology
Like said before the silverfish prefer damp dark places but also tend to stick around their food source. Once a supply of food is found the silverfish will remain in that general area until the food is gone. At this location the silverfish can lay eggs at any time, there is no set time of year for reproduction and the full cycle (3 stages, incomplete metamorphesis) of growth only takes between 20 and 40 days. It is at the last stage after the third moult that the silverfish gain their silver appearance with shiny silvered scales.
The worst part about silverfish is that they can find large food sources anywhere from the bindings of books, certain linens and cloths, paper, and crumbs. And here rises the problem of silver as pests. They can damage many things ranging from wallpapers to books, and clothes to school papers or assignments.

Since silverfish like dark damp environments and a variety of foods like paper, clothes, and crumbs all the preventative measures arise from them

1) Removing their food sources is key, but you can’t get rid of your clothes, wallpaper and books. Taking these items off the floor is a good start though, especially to avoid damage.

2) Dehumidifying your home will also reduce the numbers of silverfish, they prefer a damp environment.

3) Sanitation is a key to preventing silverfish in your home, clean often to remove food stuffs and crumbs from your home or the area in question.

4) Vacuuming often to remove egg clutches/masses helps to prevent further silverfish.

Chemical Removal

Chemical control of silverfish is usually done with common chemicals that contain Propoxur as the active ingredient. Propoxur based insecticides can be bought in just about any garden center or hardware store. The insecticide is sprayed around the baseboards of rooms and behind appliances (common silverfish areas). These chemicals do not kill the eggs however, but are effective in reducing the numbers. Other compounds that are commonly used are ones containing diatoms (microscopic organisms) that have been crushed into dust. The dust is then spread around the baseboards and floor of the room. The diatoms provide a silicon based spine to the dust that acts as an abrasive destroying the waxy coating of the insect. With the waxy layer gone the insect looses water uncontrollably through evaporation and basically dies of dehydration.


If you don’t want to go out and buy products you can just make your very own traps for cheap. Just take a jar and go around the outside of the jar with masking tape or hockey tape and leave the jar out in a common silverfish area with some bread at the bottom. The silverfish climb up the jar and fall inside and are then unable to climb out. Other traps that you can buy are the general sticky traps that attract the silverfish and then they get stuck. Simple yet effective traps.

Still interested, visit these websites for more.

Pest Control Canada
Health Canada
NL Department of Environment
Mount Allison University

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