Are Silverfish In Chicago Dangerous?

A silverfish crawling on a bathroom sink
Most everyone in Chicago has seen them around the house – the little silvery bugs that look like fish. They love to sit in corners between the ceiling and the wall, occupy the bottom of the bathtub, and scurry underneath appliances. Silverfish are insects that live in human habitations and love to feed on starch – and not just the starch you’re thinking of. While silverfish won’t turn down a nice bag of potato chips, they’ll eat just about anything starchy, and we do mean anything. Below, we’ll talk about the damage this behavior can cause and what you can do about these greedy little devils. 

Silverfish Description And Behaviors

Silverfish earn their name. They really do look like tiny, shiny fish crawling around. If you made them a little bigger and tossed them in the water, they’d be tough to distinguish from minnows. Silverfish are insects, so they have six legs and three body parts, though these can be tough to distinguish given the segmented plates on top of their bodies. Silverfish also have a tail and a pair of caudal filaments that look kind of like fins. Though they resemble fish from afar, up close, these insects look more like tiny shrimp or lobsters.

Silverfish are nocturnal, and they also aren’t all that picky. They like both starch and protein, which describes a large chunk of the food items in people’s homes. Not only will silverfish eat what we would consider normal sources of starch like grains, potatoes, sweets, and other food items; they’ll also eat other things we might not even think of – like natural fabrics, book pages, and even wallpaper. 

A Silver Fishy Situation

Since silverfish aren’t picky about where they get their starch, they can cause much damage. In fact, sometimes, what homeowners believe is moth damage in their clothing is actually silverfish damage. Silverfish love to eat natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, and silk. They won’t just target clothing. Furniture made of any natural fiber isn’t safe either. Paper is another easy silverfish target. This translates into damage to books, wallpaper, magazines, newspapers, and just about any other paper item you can think of.

While silverfish don’t carry diseases like cockroaches do and are generally not considered harmful to human health, they can still get into your food stores. Nobody wants to eat from a box of cereal that’s had a bunch of silverfish crawling around in there spreading bacteria with their dirty feet. Silverfish may also attract other infestations to your home. A large silverfish population may draw predators like centipedes and spiders to your house, and these stinging and biting pests can pose more serious threats to your health than silverfish. 

What To Do About Silverfish

Silverfish are good at hiding, but sometimes they pick areas where you’ll see them (they love the insides of showers and tubs), so if you have them in your house, you’ll probably see a few live individuals scurrying around, especially at night. Other signs of these pests include:

  • Yellow stains
  • Feces (these look like fine black pepper)
  • Shed scales and skins
  • Dead silverfish
  • Silverfish damage like holes in books or clothing

While the occasional silverfish in your home is no big deal, a serious infestation of them can be a whole other ballgame. Silverfish are tough to get rid of. Like roaches, silverfish prefer dark, moist areas, meaning if you see one in a well-lit, dry place, there are probably a whole bunch you’re not seeing. That’s why it’s better to contact the pros. Here at Aerex Pest Control, we have over 70 years of experience in getting rid of these little devils and the secondary infestations they bring with them. So visit our contact page or give us a call to schedule your inspection today and get started on our home pest control services.

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