Controlling Silverfish in Merrickville Homes

Lately, Truly Nolen Merrickville has been receiving calls from homeowners in the Ottawa Valley area who are finding silverfish in their homes.


A house-dwelling insect, the Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as the Silverfish or bristletail, derives its name from several characteristics such as its silver/gray exoskeleton and fish-like habit of moving at a fast pace, interspersed with short intervals of stopping or pausing. The scientific name (Lepisma saccharina) lends itself to the insect’s primary diet of sugar and starch filled items. This species of insect dates back millions of years and tends to have a prehistoric or fossil like appearance with its long antennae and scale like exterior.

Considered more of a nuisance than anything else, the presence of one or two silverfish in your Merrickville home could mean that there are more of them lurking behind the scenes. The biggest complaint of the silverfish is their destructive feeding habits, often ruining items in the home such as wallpaper, books and magazines, soaps and shampoos, clothes and much more.

With a high reproduction rate, and the ability to survive for long periods of time without food, preventative measures should be taken once you’ve spotted a silverfish in order to avoid a full blown infestation. Drawn to dark areas, the silverfish will make its home behind wallpaper, in dark closets and behind bookshelves, inside window and door frames and behind baseboards.

The biggest error that Merrickville homeowners make is not taking action early on to get rid of these insects as their ‘hide and seek’ habits can allow for an escalation of an existing problem. If you have noticed yellow stains on your fabric, or small holes in boxes or wallpaper, chances are while you were sleeping these insects were already at work!

Signs of a silverfish problem:

Most of the time, homeowners detect silverfish when they find one on the floor or in a sink or bathtub. Their feeding damage also can indicate their presence, along with their tiny pepper like feces.

Silverfish bugs are not an easy thing to rid your home of, since they hide in different dark, protected places and reproduce very quickly. They are nocturnal (i.e. they’re mostly active at night) and may remain unnoticed for a long time.

Silverfish damage to attic insulation chart found in a Merrickville home
Silverfish damage to attic insulation chart found in a Merrickville home

Silverfish can survive in almost any environment, but they prefer areas with high humidity. Nymphs develop faster in areas that are humid. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent an infestation is to control humidity. Silverfish feed on mold, fungi and carbohydrates (such as sugars, starch or cellulose). This means that your food (especially dry foods), clothes, shampoos, soaps, books, wallpaper, plants and many other things are at risk.

How to prevent silverfish from invading your home or business:

  1. Silverfish are known to like damp areas (75 to 95% humidity), so it is recommended to reduce it to about 50%. This can be done with the help of dehumidifiers and fans.
  2. Be sure to turn the bathroom fan on during showers and leave it for a full 10 minutes after.
  3. Fix everything that leaks, minimize available water, ventilate the attic and closed rooms. Caulk cracks and crevices on walls, floors, and holes around pipes to prevent the insects from using them as an entrance.
  4. Inspect and clean all your possessions, including the contents of boxes, wardrobes, cupboards, book shelves, clothing, etc.
  5. Put all possible food sources into plastic air-proof containers
  6. Vacuum, mop and dust your house frequently to remove eggs. Repair or remove wallpaper.
  7. Inspect cardboard packing, furniture, and construction materials before they come inside.
  8. Wipe down bookcases, closet shelves, and door or window frame
  9. Vacuum or sweep behind the oven, microwave, toaster, and refrigerator
  10. Repair any plumbing leaks so their will water sources will be cut off.
  11. If you have a leaky roof or a damp place in your home where mold can grow, the mold can become a food source for these bugs.

What to do if you have silverfish in your home or business:

If you suspect that you have a silverfish problem in your home or business, it is recommended to seek professional treatment as soon as possible from a reputable pest control service that can create a customized approach.

Addressing a silverfish infestation requires treatment of both adult silverfish and their eggs. Silverfish can reproduce very quickly- depending on the species, one female silverfish can produce anywhere from one to three eggs each day.

Hiring a professional to address a silverfish problem is the most effective method, as Do It Yourself solutions such as traps or insecticides only target individual insects and not the potentially larger issue at hand.

Your Truly Nolen Merrickville pest control professional can effectively assess the problem and provide solutions for treating both eggs and adult silverfish to prevent future infestations.

Truly Nolen Merrickville proudly services: Kanata , Stittsville and Manotick but also a wide rural area including Carleton Place, Almonte, Carp, Smiths Falls, Perth and Kemptville