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What is a Silverfish Trap?

Mike Howells
Mike Howells

A silverfish trap is a device used to get rid of silverfish, a common household pest. Silverfish are small insects, light gray or blue in color, that can infest moist areas of residential buildings such as basements, attics, and bathrooms. They do not carry disease but can be destructive, consuming anything from the glue used to bind books to clothing, carpets, and stored food.

Like many household pests, the discovery of one or a few silverfish almost always indicates a far greater unseen presence. Silverfish are distinctive and easily identifiable by their color and shape. A common, and unpleasant, scenario for finding out about a silverfish infestation is to come across several in the shower or bathtub.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Before the process of laying out silverfish trap fields and spraying chemicals, a number of other measures should be taken to limit and control the infestation. Silverfish require a humid, moist environment. Dehumidifiers, ventilation systems, open windows, and placement of silica gel packs in cupboards around sinks and tubs can help reduce the livable environment for silverfish. In addition, ensuring a sanitary environment can limit a silverfish population. The insects thrive on sugars and starches, so making sure there are no crumbs or open food containers left around the house will also prevent their spread.

Extermination is the next step. The simplest and most common kind of silverfish trap is a glue trap. Bait is laid to attract the bugs, and as they near it they walk over a small amount of glue or tape, enough to render them immobile, and effectively kill them. Homemade versions can comprise of as little as jar, some bread, and masking tape.

In cases where there is a moderate to large infestation, poison can be laid down as an alternative to a bread-and-tape silverfish trap. A silverfish will pick up some of the poisoned bait and instead of dying instantly, it spreads it to other insects. While effective at tackling larger populations, poison can be harmful to pets and small children, so should not be used indiscriminately. A last measure involves hiring a professional exterminator to take care of the immediate problem.

Once a silverfish trap or poison campaign is successful, several strategies can be applied to prevent a future recurrence. In addition to maintaining a dry, sanitary environment, special anti-silverfish citrus spray can be laid down in likely areas to repel the insects. Diatomaceous earth (DE) powder can also be sprinkled in similar, vulnerable locations. DE dehydrates silverfish and other insects, killing them in hours. DE is not feasible for extermination purposes, but is very useful to as a control method.

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