Silverfish are small creatures that appear to have metallic, glowing skin. Despite being called silverfish, they aren’t fish and actually belong to the family of insects.
If you’ve noticed these silvery creatures slithering around your bathroom late at night, you probably have a silverfish infestation.
Though they don’t pose any significant health risks, silverfish can be damaging to your personal belongings, as they feed on cellulose-based items like books, paper products, and textiles
To get rid of them, you should understand what attracts these bugs.
Today, we will cover why you have silverfish in your bathroom and how you can get rid of them.
Appearance and Characteristics
Silverfish are small, wingless insects that get their name from their silvery-blue color and fish-like appearance.
They have elongated, teardrop-shaped bodies, which can grow up to 20 mm in length. These insects have two long antennae and three tail-like appendages that protrude from the rear of their body, giving them a unique appearance.
Silverfish are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active during the night.
They are attracted to protein and polysaccharides, which makes items like books, paper, fabric, cardboard, glue, flour, bread, and starches potential food sources for them.
Habitats and Food Sources
Silverfish typically thrive in dark, damp, and humid environments. They are commonly found in homes, particularly in areas like bathrooms, basements, attics, and kitchens.
In your bathroom, silverfish can easily find bits of dead skin to eat, and there are usually plenty of cracks and crevices for them to hide in.
Be aware that silverfish love humidity and water, so reducing moisture in your home can help deter them. To do this, try to:
- Ventilate rooms that get warm and moist, such as your bathroom or kitchen.
- Open windows and doors to promote air flow.
- Use a dehumidifier in damp areas like basements.
- Keep showers, tubs, sinks, and laundry rooms clean and dry.
Additionally, remember to store books, papers, and fabrics in dry and well-ventilated areas, and seal any cracks or gaps in your walls, floor, or between tiles.
This will help limit their access to hiding spots and potential food sources.
What Attracts Silverfish to Bathrooms
Silverfish enter your home because they find their preferred living conditions in it.
This is true for your bathroom as well. Here are the major factors that attract silverfish to your bathroom.
Silverfish are highly sensitive to moisture. Their bodies require high levels of humidity to survive and reproduce.
If your bathroom has a level of 75% humidity or above, that could be why you have come across silverfish in it.
Since silverfish are attracted to moisture build-up, you will find them in various parts of your bathroom. They could be in the cabinets, around the shower, and even in your bathtub.
It is important to know that silverfish can also stay out of high humidity areas. However, this is limited to a short time period before their bodies start to dry up.
In general, silverfish require high humidity spots to live and thrive. That is why they are most commonly found in the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen.
Warm, Dark Spots
Another reason why you have silverfish in your bathroom is that it offers them a warm, dark spot.
Do you enjoy having hot showers early in the morning? Who doesn’t! But these showers could be a major reason behind your recent silverfish infestation.
Hot showers create a warm space in your bathroom for many hours after you turn off the taps.
This warmth attracts silverfish and encourages them to make your bathroom their humble abode.
The fact that your bathroom is mostly dark also attracts silverfish. Since you only turn on the bathroom light while using it, silverfish find it to be a nice, warm, and dark place to live in.
Book Bindings, Insulation, Cardboard Boxes
All of these are silverfish’s favorite snacks.
Most people tend to have insulation installed in their bathrooms. Additionally, you might be keeping things stored in cardboard boxes inside your bathroom cabinets.
If you’re anything like us, you probably enjoy reading a magazine or a good book as you soak in the tub. It can be quite a remedy after a long, tiring day at work.
Unfortunately, all of these things could be attracting silverfish into your bathroom. This is because silverfish enjoy feeding on the starches in cardboard boxes, paper, book bindings, and insulation.
You will probably find little tears and torn edges on the corners of your favorite book if you don’t act fast. Silverfish are bound to get to your books and magazines and start eating them away!
This probably leads to lots of dead insects in your bathroom. Nobody would want to use a bathroom with insects running about, so you probably do your best to get rid of them with traps and sprays.
If you don’t get rid of the dead insects ASAP, it is highly likely that silverfish will take their place and make your bathroom their home.
This is because silverfish feed on dead insects, and your bathroom has the potential to become their favorite feeding grounds.
Lastly, silverfish are calm and quiet creatures that mostly come out at night. They aren’t too fond of loud noises and prefer a quiet environment to live in.
Since the bathroom doesn’t get a lot of constant traffic during the day (or night), it serves as the ideal living spot for them.
This is even true based on your location. If you’re living in a quiet, urban neighborhood, you are more likely to get a silverfish infestation in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen.
On the other hand, people living in busy and loud cities generally don’t have to worry about silverfish in their bathrooms.
Signs of Silverfish in Your Bathroom
Now that you know all the reasons why you could have silverfish in your bathroom, let’s confirm a few things.
Below, you can learn about the most common signs of a silverfish infestation.
Be sure to identify any of these in your bathroom, and then move on to the next section. It will help you determine the best ways to get rid of any silverfish in your bathroom!
The first sign is the most obvious one. If you see silverfish slithering around your bathroom when you step in late at night, you should know that there are more.
Silverfish are known to breed quickly and increase their populations at quite a rapid rate.
So, if a single silverfish ends up in your bathroom, it won’t be long before it forms an entire community.
The next thing to watch out for is silverfish dropping. These pests have quite uniquely-shaped excrement that can be used to identify their presence.
Silverfish droppings resemble small peppercorns. You are most likely to find them inside your bathroom cabinets or behind the bathtub.
Keep in mind that their droppings are small enough to be mistaken for dust or debris.
However, if you’ve swept them away once and they return in a little while, you know that it’s silverfish droppings.
We previously discussed that silverfish enjoy feeding on paper, insulation, etc.
So, if you notice random damage on your wallpaper and it looks like it has been eaten away, you know why.
It is probably a silverfish attack on the wallpaper as they eat and grow their numbers.
Silverfish shed their skin throughout their lives. It also isn’t determined by changes in the weather or the time of the year. So, if you’ve found silverfish skin molt, it is a sign of their presence!
These insects have skin molts that look like small, delicate shells. They are transparent but can be easily spotted due to the silver shine on them.
If you’re unable to notice actual skin molts in your bathroom, don’t worry. You will definitely be able to spot the yellow dust that silverfish leave behind as their skin melts off.
These yellow stains are most likely to appear on spots that silverfish frequently visit.
This includes your books, magazines, cardboard boxes, and even clothing articles in your bathroom.
Silverfish lay tiny, oval-shaped eggs, often in carpets or other dark, sheltered areas.
How to Get Rid of Silverfish in Your Bathroom
You have now successfully identified the presence of silverfish in your bathroom.
The next step is to look for ways to get rid of them ASAP before they start to breed in your home. Find out how below!
Remove All Attractants
The first and most important thing to do is to remove all of the things that could be attracting silverfish.
We have already discussed why silverfish are attracted to your bathroom.
While it is impossible to remove certain things, like the insulation, you can work on getting rid of any paper, books, clothes, etc.
When you remove these things from the bathroom, silverfish will no longer have anything to feed on. This will make the environment less desirable for the silverfish, and they might just leave.
Install a Dehumidifier
The next course of action against silverfish is a dehumidifier.
We already emphasized how silverfish prefer living in spaces with high humidity levels.
So, when you make your bathroom a low humidity space, they are likely to evacuate quickly.
Silverfish need a damp environment for their outer coats to stay moist and healthy.
Without it, they can dry up and even die. So, your dehumidifier will do wonders to get rid of these pests.
Silverfish mostly hide out in small, dark corners of your bathroom. They also lay eggs in these spaces.
So, the best way to get rid of them is by targeting such spots when you clean your bathroom.
You should keep in mind that silverfish are nocturnal animals. This means that they mostly come out at night.
A great way to get rid of them is by cleaning your bathroom at night a few times.
This will especially target the silverfish. You will also be able to identify the spots where more of these pests could be hiding.
Eliminate Any Openings
Try to limit access to your bathroom by closing off any openings. You should look for cracks in the walls and any holes in the doors of your bathroom.
These are spaces through which silverfish enter. Check around your windows, baseboards, and sinks.
Once you have identified all of the cracks and crevices, get to work on sealing them using caulk. You can also DIY other ways of repairing holes and closing off cracks to block out silverfish.
Use Natural Remedies
To get rid of silverfish in your bathroom, there are several natural remedies that you can use.
Place silverfish traps along wall edges and near furniture corners where they are most likely to be, baiting them with small pieces of bread, flour or other starches.
Some home remedies you can use include diatomaceous earth, boric acid, cinnamon, bay leaves, essential oils, and cedar shavings.
For instance, sprinkling diatomaceous earth, boric acid or cinnamon around the affected areas can help deter silverfish. Place bay leaves and cedar shavings around your bathroom as natural repellents.
Apply Chemical Treatments
Chemical treatments can also be effective in controlling silverfish populations.
Use insecticides such as pyrethrin or propoxur, which come in various forms like powder, liquid or spray. Be cautious when applying chemical insecticides in your bathroom, as some might be harmful to humans and pets.
Apply the insecticide to cracks, crevices, and other hiding spots, as well as around wallpaper edges, which silverfish are known to feed on. Additionally, you can use cedar oil as a natural alternative for chemical treatment.
Remember to regularly inspect your traps and other preventive measures to ensure that they are effectively controlling the silverfish population in your bathroom.
If you continue to face issues, consider consulting a professional pest control service for a more comprehensive solution.
When to Call an Exterminator
Silverfish infestations, though wingless and generally harmless, can become a nuisance over time. There are several scenarios in which you might need to call an exterminator:
If you have tried various DIY methods such as sticky traps, caulking, or using natural repellents like cedar and vinegar solution, but the silverfish population does not seem to diminish or keeps returning, it may be time to seek professional help.
Exterminators have access to stronger pesticides and advanced techniques for dealing with stubborn infestations.
Another reason to call an exterminator is if you have noticed damage to your belongings.
Silverfish are known to feed on various items like books, textiles, and wallpaper, causing significant damage over time.
A professional can identify the source of the infestation and implement effective solutions to protect your possessions.
In addition, if you have difficulty accessing certain areas of your home where silverfish may be hiding or breeding, an exterminator can help.
They have the necessary equipment and expertise to locate and treat hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a thorough eradication.
Lastly, if preventive measures such as ventilation and dehumidification aren’t working and silverfish continue to thrive in your home, it’s time to call an exterminator.
The persistent moisture might point to an underlying problem like water damage or leaks that require attention from both pest control and home repair professionals.
In summary, when DIY methods prove insufficient or when silverfish infestations lead to damage or persistent moisture issues, seeking the help of an exterminator is the best course of action.
A professional can assess the situation, identify the root cause, and recommend effective solutions to rid you of silverfish and protect your home in the future.
All the best in getting rid of the silverfish in your bathroom!
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