They're long, gray, creepy, and crawly. Silverfish are not an insect you want to find in your home, and not just because of their unappealing looks. The bugs are not poisonous, but proteins on their exoskeleton can cause allergy symptoms like itching and sneezing. They also invade and contaminate your food supply. If these bugs have been hanging out in and around your crawlspace, then it's time to take action—but how?
Install a Dehumidifier
Silverfish love moisture, which is why they are so commonly seen in bathrooms and basements. If the bugs are living in your crawlspace, then the area must be moist. Many crawlspaces become moist in the summer when outdoor humidity is high and also after rain storms when some rain has seeped in through cracks. Installing a dehumidifier can help a lot. A portable dehumidifier is probably your best option here, since it's inexpensive and you can set it up by yourself. Some models have a bucket that you need to empty as it fills, and others have a line you can run to a drain or sump pump pit. Set the dehumidifier to a level of 30 to 40 percent, as this is the healthiest home humidity level—and a level that will keep most pests, including silverfish, away.
Have the Crawlspace Sealed
You must also take steps to keep additional moisture from entering your crawlspace. There are companies that offer comprehensive crawlspace waterproofing packages. They will apply a waterproof coating to the walls, seal any little cracks that have formed in the concrete base, and make sure any vents are properly designed to allow moist air to escape. Have one of these companies come evaluate your situation and provide a quote, as costs can vary widely based on the amount of work you need done. Not only will the sealing keep the crawlspace dry, but it will also seal some cracks that silverfish may enter through. Contact a company like Central Penn Waterproofing to learn more about crawlspace waterproofing.
Vacuum the Area
Silverfish are not picky. They will eat tiny crumbs of food left in the carpet, pieces of cardboard, and even paper. You may have some of these little crumbs of potential food in the carpet if you have not vacuumed your crawlspace in a while. So, run your vacuum, and make sure you go over the area a few times. You want to make sure you keep up with vacuuming in the coming weeks, too, so you're picking up any new food sources before the silverfish can get to them.
Remove Possible Food Sources
If there are any more obvious food sources in and around your crawlspace, remove these, too. This includes any paperwork or boxes you might be storing in the crawlspace—the silverfish can chew on and destroy these items. Do not feed pets in or around the crawlspace, either, since the bugs like these foods as much as your pets.
Have the Crawlspace Sprayed
After you have followed the steps above, wait a few weeks and see if your silverfish problem disappears. If you are still noticing bugs, you may want to call an exterminator. They can spray your crawlspace and also the area outside your home with insecticides. Not only will this kill the existing bugs, but it will keep additional bugs from showing up. There are eco-friendly and safe insecticides that they can use, minimizing the risk to your family and pets.
Finding silverfish all over your home and in your crawlspace can be pretty annoying, but luckily, there are some simple ways to get rid of them. Follow the steps above to waterproof your crawlspace and get rid of these water-loving pests.