Silverfish like to settle down in dark and humid areas of a house such as the kitchen, cellar, bathrooms, laundry spaces, attic and the inner walls in newly-constructed residences where the plaster is still wet. These arthropods like to hide in old newspapers, books, food, furniture items and old clothes.
If you decide that you are going to tackle your silverfish problem with poison then there is some optional preparation that you might want to do first. If you have an infestation in multiple places then you might want to drive the silverfish into just one or two areas so that you can limit the amount of poison that you will need to spread around your home.
Preventive Measures and Silverfish Herding
Start by getting rid of their little hiding places by discarding old newspapers, books, magazines and infested clothing. Refrain from letting leftovers go rotten, check the cupboards where you keep your cereals, minimize dampness with fans and dehumidifiers and keep lights on in infested and dimmed rooms to drive these insects towards an area that can be controlled easily.
They need food and moisture to survive so deprive them of that in a location where they have set up residence and they will soon move out. They can live without food for a year so removing their moisture source is the most effective method to get them to move quickly. Along with making the environment inhospitable you could also use some non-poison ‘push’ techniques to move them on such as herbs and cucumber peel, for more ideas take a look at our guide to natural silverfish control measures.
Banish Them with Boric Acid
When you have your silverfish herded into a few key locations then it is time to break out the chemicals. The deadliest and most effective poison against these little critters is Boric Acid. It functions as a stomach contaminant and impairs their fragile exoskeletons.
- Scatter the boric acid in your affected areas e.g. at the back of appliances, book holders, around cabinets and dressers, by the side of walls, in the basement and attic, on all sides of the toilet, bathroom shower, kitchen sink, and furniture pieces. You can utilize bread and crackers to serve as bait for an acid trap.
- Allow the boric acid to remain for several days and then clean the mess together with the dead silverfish using a vacuum cleaner.
The instructions are simple enough and the effectiveness of this stuff is not in question but if you use this poison be sure to keep it away from children and pets because it can be harmful to humans and animals as well as insects.
Attack Them Fast With a Spray
If you want to kill your silverfish fast then you can hit them with a spray. If there is a critter in your bathroom or bedroom and you want to take it out quickly then a spray is one of your best options.
One of the better sprays out there is EcoEXEMPT KO, one of the reviewers on Amazon said that this stuff took out a Jerusalem cricket, and that is a big bug!
I would advise that you try to exercise some restraint and economy rather that going full out Rambo because you don’t need a lot to take out a silverfish.
This stuff is an insecticide so remember that you will need to clean thoroughly afterwards the areas in which you let rip with the spray.
We have already mentioned one trap where you use bread and crackers with Boric Acid but there are plenty of different ways that you can trap them.
Not all traps have to contain poisons and we have provided details previously on natural silverfish traps including Jar Traps and Damp Newspapers. These work well enough but the difference with poison traps is that the intention is to both trap and kill them.
Clearly you can fashion your own poison traps in any way you wish or you can just buy a product that has been designed specifically for the job at hand such as Dekko Silverfish Paks. They simply have to eat through the yummy paks and what do you know, they are poisoned (mostly due to the Boric Acid they contain). You get 24 paks to a box and you just need to place 2 or 3 in infected areas. It will take a little while to bring your problem under control but you can be a lot more confident about leaving these things in sensitive areas around your house than you could with your homemade poisonous contraptions.
Take Care When Using Poison
When you use silverfish poison or any form of poison trap you have to exercise a lot of caution. Clean your homes thoroughly after using toxic chemicals so there will be no residue left that can harm members of your family and domestic pets. Follow any provided instructions carefully.
If you can, refrain from using harmful chemicals and opt instead for natural measures and non-toxic substances. Concentrate more on the technique rather than the means. The goal is to get the silverfish out and then stop them from coming back to re-infest your home.
Poison Will Win Some Battles But Not The War
You need to be aware that these pests need two essential things to survive which are food and water. You have to eliminate these to get rid of these arthropods once and for all.
Using poison for your silverfish problem is a good way to bring their numbers under control, but the eggs will probably survive and if you keep the environment right for them then they will likely come back in numbers.
Once you have nuked them you should to turn to natural measures to make your home environment inhospitable for them.