Growing up in the early 80’s in suburban Sydney, one of my earliest memories was of walking down the side walkway down to visit my Gran and Grandad. He was a bit of a hoarder of items that I only appreciated now that I’ve gotten older. Down that side walkway I can only remember 2 insects. Bees and Silverfish. I remember the occasional Bee Sting (like all Aussie Kids do), but I remember seeing Silverfish on a near daily basis.
For those of you who don’t know, Silverfish are small wingless insects that, unsurprisingly, are silvery grey in colour who can’t get enough carbs in their diet. The fish part of the name comes to how they move in a fish like pattern.
Silverfish thrive in humid conditions and as they are most active at night, you may not even know you have them. They hide during the day in popular spots like bookcases, wardrobes and cupboards and generally live in the dark and moist crevices in basements / kitchens/ bathrooms and inside walls
Now, back in the early 80’s I had no way of knowing, but it turns out that these little suckers cause a fair amount of damage to your property. They are known to cause structural damage as their diet sees them eat things like carpet, wallpaper, plaster, glue as well as flooring. They also love to feast on your possessions as they munch on your linen, tapestries, books, leather and paints. They also help them to a cup of coffee at night time. Well maybe not literally but they do eat sugar and coffee so your pantry stash is at risk from these little suckers
They are literally eating you out of house and home, and that is why they are considered pests. And as most pest species go, they breed like nothing else. One Female can lay 100 or more eggs in her lifetime and they take about a month to hatch. You NEED to act to eradicate them from your home
So how do you get rid of Silverfish?
Whilst there are a host of natural things that act as repellents. These include Citrus Sprays, Spices, Mothballs and Lavender Oils. For the most part these only help keep Silverfish away
There are some novel ‘traps’ you can buy or make. These are good at killing adult silverfish, but doesn’t address the issue of the eggs that have already been laid. Using these traps can help reduce numbers, but won’t solve your problem.
Of the chemicals, one of the most popular goes by the name of Liquid Pyrethrin. Sadly whilst this will kill adult silverfish, it too won’t kill the eggs.
For that reason your best bet is Boric acid. It is a natural insecticide that kills BOTH the adult starfish and the eggs. Though it can be toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities it is widely considered perfectly safe to use in household kitchens.
For those looking at added benefits, Boric Acid also prevents dry rot in timber.