Silverfish have no excellent reputation: Harmful vermin, which must be combated – the general tenor. That this is not the case, few people know. Find out what’s up with the silver-gray insects here.
At night, half past one in Germany. When going to the toilet and the simultaneous clicking on the light, you may see them flitting across the floor. Small, silver-colored animals that love damp, dark and warm rooms and go to the foraging at night. Those who spy on them are all too often disgusted and search for the insecticide. Before you do that and call an exterminator in panic, you should spend a moment with the so-called silverfish. Because they are not harmful at all. it’s like hornet’s nest.
Silverfish are primarily beneficial insects
Looking closer, silverfish look pretty. They have silvery scales that give them the characteristic color. In addition to the six legs, they have two tactile sensors in the front and three tail appendages behind, which also belong to the sense organs. Silverfish are not just insects; they are primitive wingless insects that have been at home on Earth for over 300 million years. That they now live in our homes, they can do nothing.
Now, if such a little fish meets you in the apartment, what should you do? At best, nothing! Because silverfish are actually useful insects. Useful? Yes! And in three ways:
- Silverfish feed on dander
- Silverfish love house dust mites
- Silverfish also like molds
When and how you should fight silverfish
Silverfish do you nothing. They live in small cracks under the ground, in joints or behind carpet strips. Mostly they are found only in damp and relatively warm rooms like the bathroom, the kitchen or the cellar – if you notice anything at all. Silverfish can live for up to five years, but multiply very slowly, so you do not have to panic that you share the dwelling with thousands of subtenants. Nevertheless, it may happen that the population of silverfish overreaches. That would mean that there is a moisture or mold problem in your home. And even in this case, the silverfish are not the pests, but rather those who draw attention to this malady.
Since not everyone can and will make friends with these roommates, or when they are heaped up, there are some ways to get rid of the silverfish:
- Since the frequent occurrence of silverfish could be a moisture problem, you should always think about natural ventilation. Especially in bathrooms after bathing or showering, this is important to normalize the humidity quickly.
- To offer the animals no hiding places, cracks and small holes in wall, floor, strips and the like are sealed. Especially in wet areas, you should check the joints regularly.
- Silverfish love carbohydrate food. Sugar, cereals, oatmeal or potatoes should therefore not be left open but kept in closed containers.
- If you regularly clean the cracks and joints while cleaning the house, you have not done anything wrong.
- Especially in rarely used drains always give a little hot water.
- Curl silverfish with honey! Just put it on a piece of cardboard and lay it out, the animals will stick to it when searching for food.
- Even a hollowed-out potato that you place on a plate with the opening facing down and puts it on the ground can help. The silverfish feed on the potato and gather in the hollow.
- Another way to make traps yourself is by mixing sugar and baking soda, which the animals eat and eventually die.
- Since silverfish do not like lavender, salmiac and lemon scents, you can also sell them with scented traps.
- Put a swab on the floor and put some grated potato or gypsum on it. The next day shakes the rag in the open air and disposes of the zusammengerotteten silverfish.
- You can also let the natural enemies of the fish do their duty. However, whether spiders and the common earwig are better alternatives is to be doubted.
The specialized trade also offers all kinds of chemical means to control the silverfish – if nothing else helps. In addition to sticky traps, there are also bait boxes with poison, in which the animals are lured. But please remember to never put poison traps near children or pets!