Of all the pests you may encounter in your home, silverfish can be some of the sneakiest and most difficult to identify. These tiny invaders move very quickly and usually can only be found at night since they are nocturnal by nature.
Silverfish are ancient insects, having been around for 400 million years! What do silverfish look like? They have shiny silver or gray bodies, and are slender, flattened, and tear-shaped. Silverfish have bristle-like tails, and thread-like antennae. Their flat bodies make it easy for them to squeeze into tight places, giving them a plethora of escape routes when found.
Worried about a potential silverfish infestation in your Kansas City home? From silverfish droppings to the damage they wreck on a home, here are five signs you may have an infestation at hand:
1. Silverfish Droppings
One of the most unique signs of an infestation is silverfish droppings because they are so distinctly different from other household pests. Silverfish droppings are tiny, black spheres that look like little peppercorns. You’ll usually find them in dark, moist areas where silverfish prefer to congregate, such as under bathroom mats, around the kitchen sink or pipes, behind boxes in the garage, or inside damaged household items.
Because silverfish droppings are so minuscule, they could easily get swept up with other dust and debris on your floor, so finding them requires careful examination while tidying up. If you’ve seen any other signs of possible silverfish activity, pay attention to the dirt you’re sweeping and check for droppings.
2. Live (or Deceased) Silverfish in the Home
Silverfish are silver-blue or sometimes brown-grey in color with a metallic sheen to their scaly body. Their slim, teardrop-shaped bodies are usually no more than ½” to ¾“ long with three antennae-like appendages in the back and two antennae in the front. As they move, silverfish wiggle their bodies back and forth, similar to how a fish swims, which is how they got their name.
While discovering a singular silverfish doesn’t necessarily mean an infestation, it does mean you should inspect further and bring in the professionals. Just one silverfish can lay 100 eggs at once, turning a random interloper into a full infestation in an instant.
3. Shed Silverfish Skin
Silverfish are prone to frequent molting, leaving behind shed skin and scales. As with droppings, you will typically find silverfish skins in and around moist and dark areas. The outer shells will have a similar shape to a silverfish body, but are more transparent and often in smaller pieces. Skins can also break down into yellow dust that leaves stains on surfaces. If you notice anything resembling silverfish skin, it’s a good idea to call pest control professionals in Kansas City.
4. Damaged Household Items
A main area of concern with any pest infestation is damage to your Kansas City home. A singular silverfish shouldn’t cause significant damage, but an infestation can leave behind irreparable damage to household items. Silverfish love starches, sugars, and carbohydrates, and will eat just about anything that falls into those categories. Some common places you may find silverfish damage include:
- Food packaging
- Papers and books
- Cardboard boxes
Damage to these items from silverfish will appear as several holes chewed through the material. While not nearly so significant as termite damage, silverfish infestations should still not be left unaddressed.
5. Yellow Stains
In addition to holes in objects silverfish have chewed through, you may find yellow stains that are extremely difficult to remove. These stains come from a secretion silverfish emit as they crawl around, and will be particularly prominent where they have shed skins. These stains can easily set into damaged objects as well as your walls and floors.
If you notice yellow staining in multiple areas around your home, you probably have more going on than one or two little home invaders. Stains, in combination with any of the other signs of a silverfish infestation, mean it’s time to contact pest control!
What to Do If You Suspect a Silverfish Infestation
Silverfish are a common issue in Kansas City homes, and shouldn’t be left unattended if you see any of the signs! If you suspect you have a silverfish infestation in Kansas City, we can help.
Because they are so hard to identify, the best way to prevent (or treat!) a silverfish infestation is by scheduling regular home inspections with us at Advantage Termite & Pest Control. We offer quarterly programs to meet your pest control needs and ensure your home remains infestation free all year round! Contact us to schedule your first appointment today.