What kills silverfish?

Nothing makes you worry about the cleanliness of your home like a pest infestation. When that pest happens to be the distinctly unlovable silverfish, a wingless, scaly, soft-bodied insect, it's time to act. Eradicating them from your home is much more difficult than you'd think.

In fact, just like the cockroach, the silverfish is resilient, elusive and an unpleasant reminder of the need to fumigate. In addition, it causes more damage to your home than many other pests, and flourishes in warm, moist conditions.

Diatomaceous Earth

This natural, sedimentary rock crumbles into a fine white substance that resembles talcum powder, and which absorbs the fats from the waxy outer layer of the silverfish's exoskeleton when it walks through it. This causes the insect to die from dehydration owing to water pressure deficiency. Diatomaceous earth isn't poisonous to humans and pets, making it suitable for general household application.

Boric Acid

There are two forms of boric acid: liquid and powder. Liquid boric acid acts as a stomach toxin that will kill silverfish. Bait silverfish by mixing equal parts of boric acid and sugar. Powder has the added advantage of dehydrating the protective outer shell of the silverfish if there is direct contact. Sprinkle the powder around the infested area and vacuum it up a few days later. Reapply if necessary but use with caution around children and pets.

  • There are two forms of boric acid: liquid and powder.
  • Bait silverfish by mixing equal parts of boric acid and sugar.

Insecticidal Spray

Although this method will not eradicate an entire population, organic pesticides are effective in dealing with individual silverfish. These insects are nocturnal and tend to dart back into their hiding places once discovered, so you need to be quick and always have the spray close to hand. It may also be useful to spray infested areas such as cupboards containing old books and newspapers.

Roach Traps

Use a disposable plastic food container and fashion it into a roach trap by cutting a slit in the lid of the container and placing poison bait inside. In this way you can attract silverfish into the container; once the silverfish has eaten the bait or become stuck in it, it will be difficult for it to escape; in the event that it does, it will die outside the container.

Lack of moisture

The silverfish thrives in moist, humid conditions so an important factor in getting rid of it is to dry out all infected areas, using dehumidifiers or fans, which will prevent it from breeding and continuing to spread. While drying out an area is time consuming, it's a good way to start the process of silverfish eradication.