Silverfish or Lepisma saccharinum is a primitive, small and wingless insect species of the family Lepismatidae. Silverfish get their name from the color of their scales, which are silver or metallic brown.
Do LED lights attract silverfish?
No, LED lights do not attract silverfish. Silverfish are nocturnal and are mostly found in environments with little to no light, like attics and basements. They do not like light and are known to hide from human sight. There is no evidence to support the claim that LED lights attract silverfish.
While there’s no evidence to support the notion of LED lights attracting silverfish, you should know that LED lights do attract other bugs but not silverfish. Bugs are attracted to lights, however, light bulbs with short wavelengths and UV light are the ones that attract most insects.
Insects cannot detect longer wavelengths like orange, red, or yellow, so lights with longer wavelengths will not attract bugs. Bugs and insects are also attracted to heat sources, and since LED lights do not emit UV light and heat, they do not attract insects. Thermal receptors produce this heat in light sources.
High-intensity discharge and incandescent lights do emit UV and heat, which makes them attract bugs and insects. There are credible studies that show that bugs can detect color and are responsive to the visible spectrum and UV light with short wavelengths.
Some researchers believe that there is a close correlation between UV lights, the moon, and the sun. There are also bug-resistant LED light products in the market, but be sure to choose a higher wavelength that will not attract bugs.
What are silverfish?
The name silverfish is derived from the insect’s silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like shape and movements. These fish-like insects are also known as “bristletails”, due to their three long or tail-like appendages, positioned on the rear end of their body.
Though the name silverfish is used worldwide for many Zygentoma species, the Entomological Society of America solely restricts the term for L. saccharinum. It is also important to note that the name also refers to a carbohydrate-rich diet consisting of starches or sugar.
The Americas, Africa, Eurasia, Australia, and other Pacific regions are home to the silverfish. They are considered agile runners, due to their constant search for food and moisture at night.
Unlike the Zygentoma members that are eyeless, the silverfish has compound eyes. The abdomen also tapers into a fish-like appearance. Their newborn babies develop a gray hue and metallic shine and are white as they grow.
Silverfish have long bodies, their body length is typically 12–19 millimeters — and fish-like, and they have six legs and two antennae.
Silverfish possess oval-shaped, flat, and soft bodies. They can grow to 0.5-1 in (13-25 mm) long.
Silverfish have a life expectancy of three years. They also possess long antennae and can generate terminal filaments after two to four weeks.
The female silverfish start to lay eggs in their adult stage. Their diet is mostly made up of proteins like dead insects and dried beef. It is also interesting to know that spiders are their natural enemies. Besides protein and dead insects, they often feed on rolled oats, book bindings, cardboard boxes, vegetables, glue, flour, and paper.
In a typical silverfish infestation, the common areas you’ll find them laying eggs are basements, closets, and sinks, including areas with a lot of moisture and food.
Because silverfish possess three long bristles, they are also called bristletails.
People most often find them in moist or humid places, such as bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, or attics, but they can be present anywhere in the home.
While it is common to find silverfish in humid or moist places such as basements, laundry rooms, and attics, they can be seen anywhere.
Silverfish are most active at night, that’s why we refer to them as nocturnal. They feed on sugar, starch, and a host of household items such as documents, wallpaper, and books.
Besides sugar and starch, silverfish also feed on dandruff, hair, cotton, and linen. They sometimes feed on dried beef products including silverfish. But that’s not all, they sometimes eat other foods such as:
- foods high in carbohydrates, such as flour and rolled oats
Unlike other insects, silverfish do not fly or bite. They are so shy that they hide from humans. One thing about them is that they are fast runners.
Their population can increase rapidly due to rapid breeding. This means that infestations can dramatically escalate.
According to The Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom, people may see silverfish in the home all year round.
Why are silverfish a problem?
They are a problem because they can trigger allergies and damage your property.
According to a 2015 research on different types of indoor allergies, researchers discovered that people with silverfish allergies also exhibited respiratory syndrome.
The allergic reaction triggered by silverfish is caused by a protein known as tropomyosin. This protein gets released when they shed their scales. Tropomyosin becomes more of a problem when it combines with other allergens. However, shedding of scales is not the only way silverfish can trigger an allergic reaction, A person may also be allergic to silverfish droppings.
Another reason why silverfish are considered a problem is that they can also contaminate food products, such as flour and meat.
What are the classical signs of a silverfish infestation?
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), silverfish infestation can manifest in any of the following ways:
- feeding marks, such as holes, notches, or etches, on a surface
- yellow stains or scales in the affected area
- feces, which appear as tiny black pellets
What attracts silverfish at home?
As mentioned earlier, silverfish love damp places, food, books, wallpaper, closet, laundry, and fireplaces are some of the other things that attract them.
These insects hide during the day and come out at night. Because they are shy, they thrive majorly in silent places, and it is almost impossible to sigh them during the daytime.
Because they are only active at night, you may not even be aware of their presence on your property. Since silverfish are also attracted to old rusty books, you may find yellow stains on the pages and scratches and holes too.
These insects are also attracted to vinyl on wallpapers. They are also attracted to wallpaper adhesives because the glue is made from starch-based methylcellulose.
You may also find them in your laundry bags, simply because of all the dirt or starch on your clothes. They may also damage clothes in your closet and leave yellow stains, or irregular-shaped holes.
Silverfish are also known to eat documents and papers so ensure to keep your valuable documents in air-tight containers. If your fireplace is not frequently used, make sure to keep it dry.
How To Get Rid Of Silverfish
The easiest way to get rid of silverfish is by keeping your house clean. You should also seal holes in the wall, vacuum frequently, use traps and repellants, and remove food sources. In addition, silverfish will not thrive in a moist environment, so be sure to keep your home moisture-free.
If you have a feeling that you are dealing with a silverfish infestation, you may also notice yellow stains on clothes, books, cardboards, and small skin casts. There are many ways to deal with a silverfish infestation, we’ll discuss them shortly. You should start by locating their habitat, your search should be focused on dark and humid areas of your property.
You can use the glass jar method – To do this you need a mason jar covered with masking tape. Next, place a small piece of bread inside the jar to attract bugs and once silverfish are in, you can get rid of the jar. You can also use a newspaper, for this, place a newspaper with the food they like and trap these bugs, after that you can throw out the newspaper. In addition, you can also try store-bought traps to get rid of these bugs.
Diatomaceous earth is another effective way to control silverfish infestation. Sprinkle the powder in areas you suspect them to be lurking. Afterward, You clean out the powder and insects using a vacuum.
One good thing about diatomaceous earth is that it is perfectly safe for kids and pets. But keep in mind, it can be toxic to our lungs. Some other insecticides and pesticides can also kill silverfish. Also, avoid using these chemicals in areas of your house where food is stored.
Baking soda is effective in the control of silverfish. It is not as toxic as pesticides or insecticides. You can also try Cedar oil and cedar shavings, these products will also help to keep silverfish in control. These products are also potent in the control of spiders as well as silverfish. You can also use citrus or lavender essential oils or spices with a strong smell like clove.
Before we discuss more on silverfish, here are some interesting facts about these pesky bugs! Feel free to skip over to the next sections if you want to learn more about whether LED lights attract silverfish.
Facts about Silverfish
Silverfish are little, wingless insects with a length of 7–10 mm.
However, they move rapidly and are difficult to catch.
Because they like warm, damp, and gloomy surroundings, they are most typically seen in toilets.
Silverfish commonly enter the home via the insulation during the winter months in search of warmer locations to live.
Carbs and sweets are favorites of theirs.
Though not direct threats to humans, their scales can combine with other allergens in the environment to trigger a reaction in humans.
Are silverfish attracted to LED lights since they produce little heat?
LED lights do not attract silverfish. These insects are more inclined toward moist and dark environments. However, other insects like moths are drawn to light.
Most bugs prefer light sources emitting shorter wavelengths of light, while longer wavelengths are less noticeable. Bugs seeking warmth might be attracted by the heat provided by a light source.
Sorter wavelength light sources are more ideal for bugs since they are unable to detect longer wavelengths. Most bugs are attracted to the heat emitted by light sources.
Since LED lights emit less UV light and heat, they do not attract bugs, including silverfish.
What other factors attract silverfish to homes?
Things that may attract silverfish to your home include:
- High moisture – Silverfish survival depends on about 75% humidity, which explains their attraction to the damp and moist areas of the house. For this reason, they are mostly seen in garages, kitchens laundry rooms, and baths. While they prefer dark and humid areas of the home, these bugs will occasionally crawl out in search of food or warmth, but their preferred habitat remains areas of high humidity.
- Dark and warm places – We refer to silverfish as nocturnal insects because they are most active at night. They are too shy to operate during the daytime. They hide in places that are dark and warm, such as the basement or attic. Their favorite spots also include Cracks and gaps in your home.
- Carbohydrate and protein-containing foods – Silverfish enjoy protein sources such as dead insects and dried beef. They’ll also feed on complex carbohydrates such as flour, rolled oats, and starches that are found in cardboard boxes, paper, book bindings, glue, and insulation.
- Organic table waste- Do you sometimes forget to clean out crumbs off your table? Silverfish will feed on organic table waste, especially sugary crumbs.
- Silverfish eat the epidermis of human skin, which is why they prefer to live in bathrooms, which are humid and have a lot of epidermises that fall from towels and hair after washing.
- Silverfish also enjoy dead insects and glue
- Paper is another silverfish favorite. Because they can digest cellulose, they will eat regular paper and toilet paper. So long as it’s paper, they’ll consume it.
- Silverfish are attracted to the paper wallpaper and the adhesive used to adhere it.
- They also enjoy mold, cotton, and silk.
These bugs are as old as dinosaurs, so they are born survivors.
Do LED Light strips attract Silverfish?
No, LED light strips do not attract silverfish. They are just flexible circuit boards loaded with LEDs that come in a variety of colors and brightness levels. So your LED strips will not attract silverfish.
What color LED Lights do not attract Silverfish?
Shorter wavelengths, heat, and UV lights are more likely to attract insects since that’s what their eyes can see. Silverfish do not have a specific preference for light color, instead, they prefer moist environments
Does light keep Silverfish away?
While silverfish may be deterred by the light, these bugs may still enter your home in search of food or warmth. Though they prefer dark locations.
What Silverfish Don’t Like?
I an environment has ample air supply, is clean and dry, it’ll not attract silverfish. Therefore, regular cleaning of air vents and ventilation system components must be adopted.
We’ve already established the fact that silverfish are nocturnal creatures, meaning they’re more active at night. Did you know they also have natural enemies? Well, they do! Spiders are their natural enemy. They are also threatened by the presence of cats and dogs, and will not spread in an environment with a temperature of 17 degrees or lower.
Other ways to keep Silverfish out of your home?
The following tips will help you prevent the spread of silverfish in your home:
- Clean out debris from your property. In addition to that, ensure your gutters are clean to prevent stagnant water from attracting silverfish.
- Reducing or eliminating moisture will also help get rid of silverfish. So try to keep your home’s humidity levels low.
- If you’re fund of leaving food scraps laying around the kitchen, dining, or room, you are inviting silverfish. Clean out food scraps immediately to prevent silverfish from being attracted to your home by available food sources.
- Regular vacuuming is also effective in ridding your home of silverfish. Doing this often will leave them with nothing to feast on.
- Since bathrooms are moist and damp, you should air out the bathroom after showering or washing. You can do this by leaving the bathroom door open, as well as the windows around your apartment.
- Occasionally inspect your walls for cracks and openings, as well as seams in the foundation. If you find any openings, seal them off immediately to prevent silverfish from entering your home. Reducing cracks and holes is sure the keep silverfish out of your home.
- Any wallpapers coming off must immediately be glued back. You can easily do this with tape or silicone.
- Avoid any mold formations on your walls, as this will supply food for silverfish.
- Silica gel is another handy choice when you want to rid your home of silverfish. They are quite common and can be easily obtained, but unfortunately, poisonous.
- Chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides are also potent in the control of silverfish but do not use in areas where food is stored. Silverfish sticky paper is also very popular.
How to get rid of Silverfish with traps and natural oils?
In addition to the methods above, here are more tips, to help with your silverfish infestation, these strategies can help you get rid of them:
- While we already discussed insecticides, you can also spray infected areas with desiccant dust. Remember to cover any cracks and fittings. Insecticides such as boric acid, diatomaceous earth, and pyrethrin have proven effective in the control of silverfish.
- A jar trap can also help in combatting the spread of silverfish. Place starchy food in a glass container and tape the jar’s exterior. Once the silverfish is trapped in the jar, the slippery walls of the glass will keep it inside until you’re ready to take action.
- You can also use a parameter-based sticky trap. Silverfish will become trapped in the traps.
- Another interesting option is the use of newspapers, I know they love to eat it but we’re gonna use that against them. Preserve a newspaper by moistening it and rolling it up. Now, place it in areas that you suspect are frequented by silverfish. The trick is to let them settle in for a few days, after which you can discard the newspaper.
- Cedar oil can also be used as a repellant. Silverfish do not like the scent of oils and bay leaves, so they’ll avoid areas of your home with these scents. These are natural measures so nothing to worry about.
All the measures discussed have been tested and are guaranteed to rid your home of silverfish. However, if you see a significant silverfish infestation in your house, you should immediately contact a professional pest control firm for assistance in eradicating the silverfish.
Bugs will be attracted to Light sources that emit more short wavelengths of light (cool white/bluish color). As you’ve learned from previous sections, these are the wavelengths most bugs can detect. Heat can also attract bugs. Because various bugs sense different wavelengths, it’s impossible to say whether or not an LED Light Attracts Silver Fish. LED lights emit very little UV light and very little heat, so they do not attract silverfish or bugs in general.
Most bugs, on the other hand, are drawn to short wavelengths of light, particularly UV light, which they can see well and use for navigation.
Remember, silverfish are attracted to sugar and starch, silverfish also feed on dandruff, hair, cotton, and linen. To keep these bugs off your property, you must practice good hygiene and keep your rooms moisture-free.
In areas that are more likely to accumulate moisture such as bathrooms, keep the main entrance door open to let more air in.
Finally, if you think you are dealing with a large-scale silverfish infestation, contact professionals immediately.
Where did the silverfish come from?
Silverfish are known to travel great distances. They do this in search of food and warmth, in a bid to find the most suitable habitat for their survival. Unfortunately, our homes have a lot of moist areas which make great habitats for silverfish. These areas are poorly ventilated and may even have fallen hair and other food sources that silverfish enjoy.
Silverfish can enter a home or apartment through a variety of leaks, including holes in the walls. They’re especially frequent in flats, where they can easily spread between neighbors.
Bathrooms with no windows are more common in flats, as are kitchens that are near to bathrooms.
These bugs are the definition of uninvited guests, they let themselves through leaks, including holes in the walls. It is very common to find them in flats where they can easily spread between neighbors. Most flats tend to have bathrooms with no windows, as well as kitchens situated next to the bathrooms.
Homeowners are mostly in a fix concerning the presence of silverfish, they worry if the presence of silverfish is due to a lack of housekeeping. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Most homeowners are oblivious to the level of dampness in their homes, silverfish can appear in even the cleanest homes and apartments.
Furthermore, even in areas with excellent sanitation, silverfish can find lots of food. Frequent cleaning is not beneficial for them; nonetheless, the objective is to reduce humidity and detect and remove sources of moisture.
In addition to dampness, silverfish will also find their way into your home, if they find lots of food. To this effect, cleaning alone may not be the most effective strategy in keeping them away. However, the object is to keep their activities at bay by reducing moisture.
My Room Is Infested With Silverfish! What Makes You Think That’s Possible?
While areas with more humidity are their favorite spots in any environment, they can also find their way into other areas of your home, like your bedroom for instance.
Silverfish may not only be present in your bedrooms or kitchen, but they can also find their way to your basement.
Silverfish eat silicone, which is used to fill the gaps, and wallpaper glue, among other things.
Some rooms are comfortable and heated, which makes a perfect environment for silverfish.
What food does Silverfish eat?
Silverfish enjoy foods rich in sugar, crumbs, hair, skin, various fibers, molts, and other insects. They also devour paper and organic glue (which includes wallpaper, books, toilet paper, kitchen towels, and documents), including fibers. They can also damage your clothes including those not made from natural fibers like linen, cotton, or silk but also the ones made from synthetics and even leather.
These bugs eat just about anything and everything that comes their way. This is why you’ll find them not only in bathrooms but also in rooms.
Can I get bitten by silverfish?
Unlike mosquitos, humans are not directly affected by the presence of silverfish. These bugs are so shy that they’ll crawl back into the dark at the sight of a human or when the lights are turned on.
Are Silverfish harmful to materials?
While silverfish are not directly harmful to humans, they are famous for causing material damage. Though they live in dark and humid areas, they’ll often crawl out in search of food, and that’s when they may start to damage your property. However, if they do not find enough food there, they will continue searching and wandering.
Books, wallpaper, pipe insulation, clothing, and leather goods are things they enjoy consuming. If you have food in your kitchen laying around, it’ll certainly attract them. The food that has been touched is no longer edible and should be discarded.
Silverfish have mastered the art of survival as they can stay hungry for up to a year without food.
Do Silverfish Spread Diseases?
Silverfish, on the other hand, do not carry any infections. They have no desire to approach humans and do not do so; instead, they flee in the blink of an eye.
Silverfish do not spread disease or carry any form of infection. These bugs live in isolation and prefer not to have any contact with humans, instead, they flee in the blink of an eye.
How to Protect Yourself From Silverfishes?
Remember, silverfish thrive in moist places. You should constantly work towards reducing the moisture in your home, you can do this by thoroughly ventilating the bathroom after bathing, mopping the floors with a firmly wrung mop or cloth, repairing leaking taps and pipes, and finally drying out anything that can retain moisture.
Sometimes, you may even have to replace panels: it’s common for the subfloor layers to be wet, regardless of the condition of the panel.
Avoid piling up laundry, wash dirty clothes immediately to make room in the bathroom, and reduce humidity. You can also use moisture absorbers, they can also help to reduce moisture.
You should also make out time to go through your belongings and throw out those that are cluttering up your home. Keeping too many unused items will cluster your apartment and restrict airflow, which will eventually increase humidity. The less stuff, the fewer hiding places for silverfish (but also other insects), and the fewer places where dirt and food scraps can hide.
In addition to minimalism, it is also worth getting silicone and filling all the gaps within your walls.
What does it mean when you find silverfish in your house?
A silverfish infestation is a warning sign that your home has developed entry points, these entry points could be the result of water damage. When rainwater gets into places it shouldn’t, it can cause mold, mildew, fungi, algae, and other things to grow.