Silverfish don’t bite or sting humans and pets. And they don’t carry any bacteria that can cause diseases.
But silverfish can damage things like clothes, paper products, furnishings such as carpets, and stored foods.
So, if you’re wondering if silverfish are bad for your home, the short answer is yes!
Keep reading to find out what types of damage they inflict and what the safest option is to eliminate silverfish.
Silverfish Are Bad For Your Books
Silverfish, scientifically known as Lepisma saccharina, are infamous for eating paper products such as books.
But their nutritional requirements also make them target cardboard boxes, wallpaper, journals, and photo books.
Silverfish possess specialized enzymes that help them break down cellulose or starch in paper products.
Additionally, the presence of polysaccharides and glycoproteins in papers also forms a significant nutritional source for silverfish.
Old books, newspapers, and magazine piles develop mold and fungi in homes with moisture issues. Silverfish eat mold, too.
So, mold in the books and other products will undoubtedly draw silverfish to them.
That’s why silverfish are dreaded pests in libraries and bookstores because they can damage old and valuable books.
Silverfish Eat Fabric
Silverfish are harmful to clothes, and they’re common closet bugs as well.
These fast crawlers will sneak inside clothing storage sections such as dresser drawers, wardrobes, and closets to feed on the fabric.
Silverfish target natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and silk.
Their close cousins, firebrats, which are bigger and darker, are also infamous for feeding on fabrics and clothes.
The damage appears like chewed holes and yellowish stains, which are their fecal matter, on the fabric.
Silverfish Harm Stored Foods
Silverfish can sneak inside the kitchen pantry and target the stored foods on the shelves.
Any small gaps in the food storage jars or loosely closed lids are easy entry points for silverfish.
Silverfish feed on stored grains, sugar, cereals, and pet food. Though they don’t pass on any bacteria to the food, they can certainly leave behind their fecal deposits in the food.
Too many silverfish in stored foods will contaminate them.
The best approach is to dispose of the foods with silverfish to prevent potential diseases.
Silverfish Can Cause Allergies
Silverfish molt, which means they shed their skin. The skin can get suspended in the air and enter the respiratory system.
That can trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and running noses in sensitive individuals.
In asthma patients, this shed skin can even trigger asthmatic attacks.
Reasons For Silverfish In The House
High moisture levels in the house are the primary reason for silverfish.
Silverfish are moisture bugs that prefer damp environments to live and breed.
They sneak inside the house, looking for warm and humid areas to live through the cracks in the windowsills and walls.
Accidental introduction of silverfish is also possible because they can hitch a ride to homes by being present in cardboard boxes, furniture, and potted plants.
Silverfish prefer to hide in clutter and poorly ventilated areas in the house.
So, they target areas like basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages. But they can spread beyond these areas.
Their preference for wet and warm living conditions can make these bugs sneak inside the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
Silverfish will hide in the cracks and crevices on the floors, walls, furniture, below fixtures like sinks and bathtubs, and behind objects like boxes or storage.
Silverfish are nocturnal insects. So, their presence during the day is unnoticeable.
When the lights are off, they come out of hiding, searching for food.
Silverfish Can Be Hard To Eliminate
These bugs are hard to eliminate because of silverfish’s sneaky nature and ability to hide in the tightest gaps.
And it becomes too challenging in homes that are full of clutter.
Things like diatomaceous earth and extensive cleaning can work, but they might fail to eliminate the infestation.
So, silverfish can reappear.
Hiring a professional pest controller for silverfish treatment in the house will be best.
Recap of Harmful Impacts of Silverfish
Silverfish in the house can damage books, cardboard boxes, clothes, and stored foods in the kitchen pantry.
Their molted skin can also trigger allergic reactions.
Silverfish don’t bite or sting. And they don’t harm pets, either.
But silverfish infestation in the house can spike up soon if you don’t get rid of them quickly.
DIY ways of eliminating silverfish can work, but hiring a pest control professional to eliminate silverfish is your safest and best option.