Dealing With Silverfish if You Live in Illinois


If you notice small teardrop-shaped insects in your home that have long antenna and are white to bluish-gray in color, you may be dealing with silverfish. While silverfish have a cosmopolitan distribution — meaning they can appear in many areas across the world — they can be a big problem if you live in Illinois. Read on to learn more about this insect, why it’s a pest, and what you can do to rid your home of them.

Why Are They Prevalent in Illinois?

Silverfish love to make their homes in moist areas. Since Illinois has above average rainfall and floods are one of the most damaging weather hazards in the state, this region is a prime spot for silverfish.

Furthermore, while Illinois is not a part of the Tornado Alley, a lot of people in this area have basements since these are good places to take shelter. In fact, a defining element of Chicago bungalows and Chicago four-plus-one homes are the basements. Silverfish love dark, moist areas, so they love making a home in basements since these rooms tend to have poor ventilation compared to the rest of the house.

How Do Silverfish Get in the House?

Silverfish like to eat mold, so if you have wooden shingles that have water damage, then silverfish can make their way into the cracks and crevices of roof rafters and through skylights. Silverfish like to hide in cardboard boxes, so if you’ve brought in items from the garage, that’s another way silverfish can get into your home.

Why Are They Pests?

Silverfish don’t transmit diseases, but they can cause some people to experience allergy symptoms. Other pests, like carpet beetles, spiders, and centipedes eat silverfish, so their very presence can invite other pests into your home.

While silverfish don’t bite humans, they will bite and eat just about anything under the sun. They can eat things like:

  • Clothing
  • Upholstery
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Photos
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Grains
  • Human hair and dandruff

With such a varied diet, silverfish can cause damage to your furniture, books, photo albums, and wallpaper. They can contaminate food sources in your pantry. And, they can infest your bathroom since they like to eat dandruff and hair.

How Do You Prevent Silverfish in Your Home?

If you have old wooden shingles, you may want to consider hiring someone to replace them with a sturdier alternative that is resistant to mold.

In your kitchen, it’s important to regularly clean around appliances and inside pantries, cupboards, and drawers so that there are no loose crumbs to attract pests.

Since silverfish like dark, moist areas, it’s a good idea to use a dehumidifier and ventilate your basement as much as possible.

You can eliminate food sources in the bathroom. Use a mesh trap in your shower so that loose hair can be thrown away instead of sitting in the tub. If you suffer from dandruff, then you may want to look into shampoo or treatment that can mitigate dandruff flakes.

How Can You Get Rid of Them?

Because silverfish are small, flat-bodied insects, they can hide in small areas very easily. They are also very agile, so they can be hard to catch. Instead of using DIY methods to get rid of them, it’s best to contact a pest control technician.

First, the technician will be better able to identify areas where the silverfish might be residing. Also, if silverfish are getting into your attic or roof, then it’s safer to have a professional inspect these areas since they will have the right safety gear.

If it’s hard to get good ventilation in your basement, then a technician can spray the area with pest-controlling chemicals and lay traps so that silverfish won’t be tempted to make this area their home.

Contact us at A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc for more information on how to get rid of silverfish.

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