Do essential oils repel silverfish?

Dave Campbell

Are silverfish fish?

The silverfish is a wingless insect often considered to be quite primitive as a result. It has a light grey colour and moves almost like a fish, hence the name. It is then therefore not a fish. The silverfish can be found pretty much in most continents, in particular, the Americas, Africa, Eurasia and parts of the Pacific.

How to identify Silverfish?

Apart from their colour, they’re teardrop-shaped and in the teen millimetre range with six legs. This insect has three long bristles on its back that kinda makes it look like a tail with horns.

Where can I find Silverfish in my home?

Like many insects, they thrive in many different climates – however, they prefer moist or even damp environments that are dark. So it’s no surprise to find them in your closet, kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, garages and sheds. Damp clothing also attracts them quite a bit. Seeing as they are drawn to moisture, there are other elements outside your home which may draw them closer to house and thus into your home as a result. Some of these are moist leaf piles, moist weeded areas, wood that is lying around which attracts a wide variety of pests not just silverfish. Mulch and broken gutters are also quite attractive for silverfish so it is then important to ensure there aren’t such near your house as often as possible to prevent an invasion. They usually make it into your home through gaps or cracks usually caused by moisture or maybe it’s part of the design and once they’re in, they may be a bit harder to find and get rid of actually.

Are silverfish harmful?

Silverfish generally do not spread diseases or bite humans. They do moult their skin though and this can cause some allergic reactions in some people. When it comes to personal property especially that made of paper these bugs can be quite a pain, an emotional and financial one of course.

What do silverfish eat?

They’re also not exactly a sight to behold in your home. In particular, the silverfish is known to infest items such as wallpaper, books and envelopes which erode with time due to these bugs – makes you wonder how much human history have we lost due to their desire to feed. They aren’t limited to these “food sources” only of course. They also like clothing (especially if it’s damp) or glue, rolled oats and flour.

What kills silverfish?

Use essential oils. They are generally good for killing insects because of their strong odour. In particular, for our case, it is claimed that silverfish can lay eggs each day and one fo the first things you want to do when you see a silverfish is to acknowledge that there’s probably more and get you a spray bottle, mix water and essential oil together (about 10 drops of 4 varieties of essential oil in a 240ml bottle should do) and spray this essential oil solution in cracks and crevices of your home, in dark places, cabinets, empty your bookshelves and spray there around your books wherever you suspect based on the fact that silverfish are household pests that hide in dark and moist places. This will keep silverfish eggs from hatching. Some essential oils you can use in this regard are lavender oil, tea tree oil, orange oil, cinnamon oil, basil oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, clove, lime and lemon oil. All of these can be used in your little spray contraption to getting rid of the eggs.

You can also get rid of silverfish by deterring them. Make little sachets of these essential oils in concentrated form and place them in dark, moist places where you’d suspect their presence to get them to come out and eventually run out of places to hide, making them leave your home for “greener pastures”. Place these sachets on also where you have valuable items that you don’t want them to feed on like books and maybe in pockets of clothing in your closest. This will go a long way in getting rid of silverfish. You can make these sachets any size in any container that lets the smell out like cloth sachets , maybe even cling-wrap. Use essential oils in concentrated form though for this.

Another way you can get rid of silverfish, apart from the “use essential oils” way is by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the house. Mostly in areas that they will like to hide and eat. Make sure to keep diatomaceous earth away from children and pets as eating it may not be a very good idea for human or pests. This works by making small incisions like an evil surgeon on the bodies of the insect and thereby slowing drying them out to their deaths.

One can also use boric acid in the mission of getting rid of silverfish. For this, you can use a spray bottle. Mix the boric acid in some water and spray it in the silverfish prone areas as already discussed. This will indeed go a long way in the fight to get rid of silverfish in your home above and beyond the use of essential oils like lavender oil, lime oil and the rest. This method works because it also dehydrates the silverfish insect. You can also pour the boric acid as is in the silverfish pron areas without mixing it in water. The spray bottle solution is often useful when one has pets. You don’t want your pets playing around the boric acid powder so a spray is ideal.

Where do silverfish come from?

Silverfish lives in humid environments that are generally dark or shaded. You’ll find them in leaf heaps, natural crevices, or under rocks and logs.

How do I trap silverfish?

This is one area where one can get a bit creative. Some creative solutions out there are using dry foods in a glass jar. Here, the outer parts of the glass jar can be made more “grippy” with materials such as sandpaper taped on the surface or something similar. Once the silverfish fall into the jar, they’ll find it very difficult to get out as the walls are very slippery. You can then dispose of the silverfish insect outside, far from your home and make use of the trap again. It is important that you do not use any essential oils in this trap as the silverfish will not exactly come anywhere near it as they do not like the smell. Make sure it’s attractive, moist, and the food is dry (like cereals, grains, pasta and beans).

If all else fails

At first, make it your mission to ensure that silverfish do not have a reason to be in your home. Close all non-essential openings (usually caused by moist damage) and put all your dry food in airtight containers. Throw out all old paper you are not using, all those newspapers? Byeee! Transfer everything that is in a cardboard box into plastic boxes or airtight glass jars. Ensure that water drains away from your home, that the area surrounding your home is relatively not too moist and is exposed to sunlight, no stray logs or heaps of leaves lying around. Theses insects will not leaf them alone, trust me. Ensure that you clean regularly, that you vacuum in all those small corners. This will also rid your house of their eggs which are generally very hard to see anyway.

Silverfish are known to also attract other pests and getting rid of silverfish and the pests they attract isn’t exactly a trivial task as I may have made it out to be. If none of these solutions works out, it’s probably best to call pest control as you may have a very bad infestation.

Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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