Why Silverfish Invade Katy Homes And How To Keep Them Out
Close up picture of a Silverfish

Why Silverfish Invade Katy Homes And How To Keep Them Out

Many people have aquariums in their houses to provide a relaxing atmosphere as they watch the fish swim. People in Katy do not know they may have another "fish" in their homes that aren't in an aquarium. They have probably seen evidence of its presence on books, clothing, upholstered furniture, and some food products, although it is unlikely that they have seen this fish-like creature.

While the family sleeps, this ancient, wiggly creature hunts at night and actively moves through the house. You may have stumbled upon this creature while crawling through the dark recesses of your crawlspace or in the dimly-lit corners of the basement or attic, but you did not know what you saw. If you encountered this creature, you probably said, "What is that?" as you watched it wiggle away like a fish out of water. You probably jumped back at the site of this strange-looking primitive creature as fast as it was running away from you!

What is this strange and elusive night owl? The weird creature few people have seen, although it lurks in many Katy homes, is the silverfish. What is unique about this animal is that it is not always silver, and it is not a fish. Silverfish do not live in an aquarium but are in your yard, in plants, and inside houses where they exist beneath your feet, in a bathroom, closet, kitchen cabinets, or attic! 

If you notice damaged books, clothing, linens, and other items, you need the Katy pest control from Modern Pest Control. We started serving the people of Katy by eliminating pests from local homes and businesses before the internet, cell phones, and personal computers. Since 1952 we have committed ourselves to provide personalized, modern, and prompt pest control to the area. We are silverfish experts; we can eradicate silverfish from your Katy home

How To Identify A Silverfish

To help you identify silverfish in Katy, let's take a brief history and science tour. Scientists say that silverfish are a primitive species predating dinosaurs by 100 million years! According to a popular theory, a meteor killed off the dinosaurs 70 million years ago, but apparently, the blast was not enough to make silverfish go extinct! An examination of the fossil record reveals silverfish skeletons dating from 400 million years ago. So, these tiny, weird creatures have been part of the ecosystem for hundreds of millions of years and survived the dinosaur-killing meteor!

Even though silverfish have been in the world long before humanity, most of us do not know how to identify this elusive creature. So, let's start with the basics. If you remember animal classification from your high school biology days, there are seven levels of identification: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.

Silverfish are in the kingdom Animalia, which means they breathe oxygen. So, unlike fish, they do not live underwater; however, they prefer areas with a high moisture content which is why they like living outdoors under rocks, logs, and in other areas where moisture is trapped and shaded from the sun. They favor similar environments inside houses.

A silverfish, like all other creatures in the kingdom Animalia, not only breathes oxygen but also eats organic material. Silverfish eat moss, algae, fungi, lichens, dead plant material, and dead insects when living outside the house. Although they are not averse to eating protein, silverfish consume materials high in starch or carbohydrates. Inside your Katy home, where fungi and moss may not be accessible, the silverfish diet consists of paper, bookbindings, wallpaper, envelopes, cotton, linens, rayon fabric, oats, flour, and sugar.

Mobility is a feature of creatures in the Animalia kingdom, and silverfish are no exception. Part of the reason this creature is called a silverfish is its sidewise, rapid, wiggling movement which resembles a fish in water. This movement is due to the unique structure of the silverfish's elongated body and its six legs. 

The classification level after Kingdom is Phylum and silverfish are in the phylum Arthropoda. Creatures in the Arthropoda phylum have a skeleton on the outside of their body (known as an exoskeleton), jointed legs, and segmented bodies. The silverfish's exoskeleton consists of silver or brown metallic-like overlapping scales resembling fish scales.

Another feature of creatures in the Arthropoda phylum is appendages, and silverfish are no exception. Silverfish have three tail-like appendages that protrude from the tip of their tapered abdomen. Perhaps another reason this insect has a fish identification is that the three bristle-like appendages resemble a catfish's long whiskers known as barbels.

The classification level after Phylum is Class and silverfish are in the Insecta class. Creatures in this class have a three-part body, three pairs of segmented legs, two antennae, and compound eyes. Silverfish insects have two extended multi-segmented, thin antennae, three pairs of jointed legs, and a 3/4-inch elongated, flat body consisting of three segments: head, thorax, and tail.

Silverfish are in the Order Zygentoma, and creatures in this order have three long filaments. As previously stated, silverfish have three bristle-like appendages at the end of their elongated, tapered thorax used to perform sensory functions. The center appendage is longer and extends the length of the silverfish, while the other two protrusions (cerci) are lateral.

The final classification for silverfish is the Family Lepismatidae. There are about 190 species in this family, but silverfish and firebrats are the most well-known.

Although many house bugs look like silverfish, including centipedes, cockroaches, earwigs, woodlice, and firebrats, you can identify silverfish by the following:

  • Body: Elongated, flat, 3/4-inch
  • Color: Brown or silver metallic-like scales

  • Legs: Three pairs

  • Appendages: Three appendages at the end, with the center being the longest and the other two pointing out laterally away from the body

  • Antennae: Two thin segmented antennae at the front

  • Movement: Wiggles like a fish when it moves

  • Habitat: Lives in warmer areas with higher humidity

This information will enable you to identify silverfish bugs in the house.

Why And How Silverfish Invade Homes

Silverfish require warmth and moisture, so they enter Katy homes when the temperature drops or during extended dry periods. They seek locations inside the house with temperatures between 70℉ and 80℉. and 75% to 95% humidity. General silverfish locations that meet these criteria are damp closets, laundry rooms, storage spaces, attics, kitchens, bathrooms, and poorly ventilated crawlspaces and basements. Specific locations in those areas where you will find silverfish include drains, leaky pipes, canister light fixtures, skylights, soffits, and locations with moldy wood or cardboard. Understandably, silverfish like shake roofs due to the cellulose in the wood, which is a starchy carbohydrate food source, and high moisture due to water retention by the wood.

Although they cannot climb verticle walls, silverfish use their six legs to climb into entry points such as foundation cracks, gaps between incoming wiring and pipes, and door and window crevices. Since silverfish eat dead plant material, they often live in outdoor potted plants. As fall and winter air settles into the area, many homeowners bring in the plants for the winter with the silverfish living in the potted plant soil.

Unlike other creatures in the insect class, silverfish do not spread disease, bite, sting, or cause structural damage. However, they may harm books, upholstery, and clothing. Silverfish like the carbohydrates from the fibers in fabrics, paper-based products, glue, and some foods. Although protein is not their preferred macronutrient, they will consume dead or injured silverfish and beef products. If these items are in warmer, humid areas of the home and you notice chew marks, silverfish are gnawing on them while you sleep.

Four Naturally Effective Silverfish Prevention Tips

Silverfish do not spread disease or cause structural damage, but their presence in your Katy home may indicate a more sinister problem. The same environmental factors that attract silverfish also allure cockroaches, subterranean termites, and carpenter ants. The presence of cockroaches in your Katy home is of great concern because they spread many diseases and can cause allergic reactions in children. Subterranean termites and carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage to your home.

The following four tips will help prevent not only a future infestation of silverfish but will also help stop an invasion of cockroaches, subterranean termites, and carpenter ants:

  1. Seal entry points: Silverfish and other insects enter Katy homes through foundation cracks, gaps around incoming pipes and wires, and crevices around windows and doors. For small holes, use caulk to close off these areas, and for larger openings, use steel wool with caulk or mortar. Other entry points include doors, windows, vents, and chimneys. Replace or install screens in doors, windows, vents, and the chimney. Install door sweeps on exterior doors. 

  2. Dehumidify: Install humidifiers in the crawlspace, basement, and attic areas, or add additional vents to provide air current in these areas. If present, check vents to confirm they are functioning and free from obstruction. Also, inspect gutters to ensure they are unclogged and are draining away from the house onto splash blocks. Clogged gutters and improper drainage will seep into the crawlspace and basement and create a humid environment. 

  3. Repair pipes and wood: Leaking pipes in the basement and bathroom areas attract silverfish and cockroaches; they attract subterranean termites in the crawlspace due to the effects of excessive water on the wood. Rotting wood produces mold and attracts silverfish and subterranean termites. The fungi smell alerts the termites that the wood is soft and moist. Replace rotting wood and create a barrier between the wood and the soil. 

  4. Eliminate clutter: Since silverfish consume paper products, dead vegetation, and fiber in clothing and upholstery, remove piles of clothing from the floor, stacks of old magazines, and cardboard storage boxes. Replace the cardboard boxes with sealable plastic totes. Maintain a clean home by vacuuming regularly and using a wand attachment to suction out crevices. Outside the house, remove piles of leaves and wood, unnecessary rocks and bricks, tree stumps, dead vegetation, and anything that collects water. Prune shrubs away from the house. A clutter-free, clean, dry yard will provide silverfish, cockroaches, carpenter ants, and subterranean termites with few opportunities for shelter and food. They will not come into your Katy house if there is no attraction for them to your property.

To summarize, the best way to get rid of silverfish is by keeping the outside and inside of your Katy home clean and dry.

The Secret To Total Silverfish Control For Houston Homes

Once silverfish invade your Katy home, eradication is difficult. Unlike most insects, bug sprays and poisons are not effective on silverfish; instead, you need a specialized silverfish insecticide. Implementing the four tips above will help prevent future silverfish infestations, but if you hope they will slowly die off, you will have to wait a long time. Unlike most insects that live only a few weeks or months, silverfish may live up to six or more years!

To get rid of silverfish, you need Modern Pest Control to come to the rescue. When you schedule your free inspection, we will examine the interior and exterior of your home to identify the problematic pest, hot spots, and other issues. As noted earlier, the presence of silverfish could indicate a much more insidious creature is in your Katy house! 

When we have completed our inspection, we will create a custom strategic plan using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to ensure safe and effective treatment of your Katy house. With your approval, we will implement the plan, eradicate the problematic pest, and create a barrier around your property to help prevent future infestations.

If silverfish re-emerge before our next scheduled visit, we will return to your Katy home and apply an additional eco-friendly treatment at no extra cost. We stand behind our trained, fully licensed team members and the use of Integrated Pest Management strategies with a full guarantee. Contact us today to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Katy and schedule your free inspection. There is no need to share your home, clothing, food, and other items with silverfish!

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