Silverfish are a small silvery coloured insect found all across New Zealand
What are silverfish?
They have a flattened and slender body, tapered towards the rear (fish like appearance) and are covered in scales. They don’t possess wings but have long antennae and six legs that allow them to move quickly. Silverfish are nocturnal insects and enjoy roaming around the house during the night-time looking to feed on natural/synthetic fibres, books and other paper products. As mature silverfish only measure between 15 to 25mm, they can easily hide in cracks and crevices in walls and other areas of your home during daylight hours.
Silverfish generally prefer eating foods containing proteins and carbohydrates, which is why silverfish in their natural habitat live under bark, dead leaves and inside rotting logs. Due to the increased use of air conditioners, homes have ideal silverfish breeding conditions during spring to autumn. The perfect living conditions for silverfish are warm and humid temperatures above 13°C and under 40°C, meaning that they’re less likely to be active during winter and the peak of summer.
Why are they considered a pest?
These insects are considered a pest not because they harbour diseases, but because they have the ability to destroy your personal property. They can be found almost anywhere in your home but prefer to live in dark and undisturbed areas e.g. roof and wall voids, subfloors, behind skirting boards, under carpet edges and amongst stored goods. A silverfish infestation will most often be noticed when the homeowner moves stored items that have been damaged.
Damaged items can include:
- books coming off their spines (as silverfish prefer eating the glue that binds paper to the cover);
- loose papers, photographs and wallpaper
- clothes and other fabrics especially linens (may be stained yellow) and
- starchy foods (packaging may have holes present) .
How can you prevent an infestation?
There are a number of ways the homeowner can assist with preventing a silverfish infestation. Firstly, you’ll need to be vigilant with checking dark undisturbed areas of your home e.g. cupboards. Inspection of incoming goods that may harbour silverfish, such as second hand books, cardboard boxes and furniture is highly recommended. Be wary of the humidity and temperature of these and ensure that leaking pipes/taps are fixed and moist rooms have functioning ventilation. Other things you can do include:
- In kitchen areas, placing food in containers and frequent cleaning of scraps and crumbs helps to reduce the suitability of that environment to silverfish.
- Throwing out unused papers or cardboard boxes
- Placing photographs, books, magazines or other loose paper material inside plastic containers or where possible stored in light and airy condition.
- Sealing any areas that are exposed by peeling wallpaper
If you notice the signs of silverfish activity or damage, call your trusted Flick Anticimex office to arrange for one of our pest management professionals to inspect and eradicate the pest from your home.