Creatures from the Mat: What are Silverfish and How to Get Rid of Them

Are you looking for monster inspiration this Halloween? Let us tell you a spooky little tale about a truly menacing creature… 

Small fish-like insects crawl on six legs across your workplace. Sneaking silently, you might catch a flash of their silver or metallic brown colouring from the corner of your eye. Sound frightening? 

This scary story is very much real and could be present in your workplace at this very moment! 

Silverfish are proof that monsters are real and creeping into our buildings' shadows and corners. So,  if you want to keep the Halloween decorations restricted to October, you need our help. We have put together the ultimate spooky silverfish guide to help you identify this creepy crawly and eliminate them from your property for good. 

What are Silverfish?

The first time you see a silverfish, you might do your best horror movie scream because these little crawlers are not for the faint of heart. In fact, you might want to turn all the lights on before we tell you any more. 

Silverfish have long bodies around 12-19 millimetres, balanced by six short legs that allow them to scurry and run across your space. Two long antennae stand out sharply from their tiny heads, offset by three bristle-like tails trailing behind them. 

If you’re wondering why things bump in the night, silverfish might be the culprit, as these nocturnal creatures are most active after dark. They will also spread rapidly throughout your office, as silverfish breed quickly and are fast little runners experienced in hiding. 

You must also be warned that silverfish love to eat hair and skin cells, so be wary of these sneaky bugs getting a taste for you! 

What Will Silverfish Gobble Up? 

Not only will silverfish enjoy feasting on your hair, dandruff and skin cells, but there also is not much that they won’t indulge in. 

From the very foundations of your building to your food and clothing, here is a full list of what silverfish will eat if given a chance:

  • Books 
  • Documents 
  • Soap 
  • Hair 
  • Dandruff
  • Dust
  • Glue
  • Clothing 
  • Coffee
  • Sugar

What Makes Silverfish Monsters?

By now, you should already be feeling squeamish at the thought of a silverfish anywhere near your property. But if you’re still not scared, it's time we open our eyes to the actual problems that silverfish can cause and what makes them so monstrous. Other than their alien-like appearance! 

A Risk to your Health

Not only are silverfish unsightly and unwanted pests, but they can also pose a risk to your health. 

A survey conducted by the National Library of Medicine in 2015 discovered that silverfish could trigger allergies in a person and cause them to suffer from respiratory problems. This is largely due to silverfish shedding a protein called tropomyosin, much like a snake does its skin, which can then cause allergic reactions. 

If this isn’t horrifying enough, it may even be the droppings left behind by silverfish that cause a person to become ill! Are you terrified yet?

Destroyers of the Workplace

So, your good health is at risk, thanks to the conniving and skulking nature of the silverfish, but that's not all. These fishy insects also wreak havoc on your property and can leave your building in an unsightly state of peril, scarier than any haunted house. 

You might notice feeding marks all around your building that look like holes, notches or etches on a surface. A nightmare for those who have trypophobia, a fear of holes. Is anything more terrifying than finding the bite marks around your room and knowing these little monsters are not far away?

You will also find yellow stains and faeces littering your floors and surfaces wherever silverfish lurk. 

Where can Silverfish be Found? 

You might wonder why anyone would want to go looking for these awful bugs, but finding silverfish in your office is an unwelcome surprise. So, if you suspect they have taken up residence in your building, it might be time to don your gloves and enter the lion’s den. 

Silverfish can be hard to spot as they keep to the shadows, preferring dark and moist conditions. Like any horror movie villain, they are typically found in the attic, basement,  garage, or kitchen. But you will find these pests anywhere they can feed on clutter, dust and dried food. 

What attracts Silverfish to Your Building?

Like a mutant to the sewers, silverfish are attracted to particular conditions in your building which may encourage them to set up a nest. Typically, silverfish look for warm places to hide, like behind furniture or on bookshelves. They also look for dark corners to lay their eggs as these are considered ‘safe spots’ in your building.

Requiring moisture to grow and thrive, you may find silverfish in unclean mats in kitchen and washroom areas in your building. Sometimes, they have even been known to lurk in sinks and basins, searching for a water source! 

How to Get Rid of Silverfish 

We have nearly reached the end of our horror story, and the ending is up to you! 

If you have found silverfish in your workplace or believe they’re not far from finding you, it is time to get rid of them. There can only be one iconic ‘final girl’ in this tale, and we don’t want it to be the silverfish. So, how can you eliminate silverfish from your property? 

Luckily, there is a simple method (or trap) you can try! 

A Clean & Moisture-Free Space

A deep cleaning of your property should help remove pesky silverfish; however, removing what attracts them to your space is also important. As we have touched upon, silverfish love nothing more than moisture, so keeping your building dry is a priority. 

You can do this by removing any dampness throughout the building and reducing the possibility of stagnant water. In larger buildings with communal washrooms especially, you will want to reduce the amount of moisture left behind. Having high-quality hand dryers and quick-drying mats will ensure health and safety are a priority in your communal spaces while keeping hygiene standards high. Silverfish will not want to nest in mats that do not stay moist! 

Adding dehumidifiers to your property will also reduce the moisture levels in your space and make it uninhabitable for silverfish. Couple this with clearing out clutter-filed areas, and you can reduce the number of damp hiding spots for these monsters to lurk. 

If all else fails, it might be time to get a professional pest control service to rid you of the silver menaces. 

Avoiding Part 2 of the Story 

We hope our silverfish tale will not keep you up at night but that you now feel prepared with the information you need to tackle these pests. 

Remember, you can find the best quality washroom essentials and supplies here at Woosh to ensure you’re maintaining a clean and sanitary property. 

Contact our expert team today if you have any further questions about silverfish and how you can keep your washrooms in shape. We like to consider ourselves the ghostbusters of the silverfish world!