Should we fear silverfish in our homes?

Should we fear silverfish in our homes?
Should we fear silverfish in our homes?

The silverfish is a small insect with a metallic appearance which particularly appreciates the warm and humid atmospheres of our interiors, hence their presence in bathrooms and kitchens. Although they are completely harmless to humans, they can quickly become disturbing. So how to get rid of it?

Silverfish are nocturnal and photophobic animals: we therefore rarely see them. During the day, they generally remain hidden inside cracks, in joints or behind baseboards. These small flightless hexapods appreciate temperatures between 20 and 30°C and their presence often reflects a high level of humidity in the habitat.

Omnivorous, silverfish feed on, among other things, hair, paper, sugar, dandruff and insect corpses. Able to survive several months without food. Its average life expectancy is three years. In the laboratory, some specimens even lived for eight years.

Not appreciating dry atmospheres, the simple act of ventilating and heating your interior properly is generally enough to keep them at bay. Regularly pouring hot water down the pipes can also prevent insects from entering our homes. Because this is often how silverfish gain access to our interiors.

Another method to overcome this is to regularly clean the floors with vinegar water. Just like other insects, they hate the smells of cedar, lemon and lavender. Otherwise, you must call a professional.

In the presence of this kind of insects, it is worth taking a closer look. Because it might not be silverfish, but paperfish. The latter looks exactly like the silverfish, except that it is slightly larger: 1.5 centimeters on average for the paperfish compared to 1.2 centimeters for the silverfish. Paperfish is nocturnal and photophobic, but it also tolerates a dry environment.

Just as harmless to humans, paperfish can nevertheless cause significant damage. As it feeds mainly on paper, cardboard and wallpaper, it is not uncommon for it to attack books and other paper documents. It is therefore better to store these in plastic containers and empty the wastebasket regularly.

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