Pest Advice Blog

What Are Silverfish?

What are They and What To Do About Them?

A house-dwelling insect, the Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as the Silverfish or bristletail, derives its name from several characteristics such as its silver/gray exoskeleton and fish-like habit of moving at a rapid pace, interspersed with short intervals of stopping or pausing. The scientific name (Lepisma saccharina) lends itself to the insect’s primary diet of sugar and starch filled items. These guys are addicted to carbs! This species of insect dates back millions of years and tends to have a prehistoric or fossil like appearance with its long antennae and scale like exterior.

Considered more of a nuisance than anything else, the presence of one or two silverfish in your home could mean that there are more of them lurking behind the scenes. The biggest complaint of the Silverfish is their destructive feeding habits, often ruining items in the home such as wallpaper, books and magazines, soaps and shampoos, clothes and much more.

silverfish

A Behind the Scene look at the Silverfish

A bit of a sneaky insect, Silverfish are mostly nocturnal and do a great job at hiding. With a high reproduction rate, preventative measures should be taken once you’ve spotted a silverfish in order to avoid a full blown infestation. Drawn to dark areas, the silverfish will make its home behind wallpaper, in dark closets and behind bookshelves, inside window and door frames and behind baseboards.

The biggest error that homeowners make is not taking action early on to get rid of these insects as their ‘hide and seek’ habits can allow for an escalation of an existing problem. If you have noticed yellow stains on your fabric, or small holes in boxes or wallpaper, chances are while you were sleeping these insects were already at work!

Characteristics of the Silverfish

As small and harmless looking as they are, the Silverfish can be a tough little insect as it can survive in most environments and can go extensive periods without food. Showing preference to more humid conditions, Silverfish are also somewhat difficult to get rid of as they move around fairly quickly, making their elusive nature quite frustrating to many homeowners. Even though these little guys don’t have wings, you’d be surprised at how quickly they appear and reappear in different areas of your home.

The most common of the three species of Silverfish is:

Lepisma saccharina (regular Silverfish) is the most common variety usually measuring up to a ½ inch in length. Their bodies have a consistent silvery sheen with no markings on them. You’ll find these guys near areas of high moisture, and lower level spaces such as basements.

Other traits of the silverfish include:

  • Flattened, carrot shaped body with 3 noticeable “tails” on the rear
  • Wingless with a hard exoskeleton
  • 2 long, slender antennas on the head
  • Long life cycle with egg to adult development taking anywhere from 3 months to 3 years.
  • Prefers a moist climate with a high humidity
  • Adults lay anywhere from 5-50 eggs, usually near food sources
  • Consumes items high in carbohydrates and protein such as glue in bookbindings, silk fabrics, dry foods such as dried meat and cereal, paper and cardboard.

silverfish

Where to find Silverfish in your home

Since the Silverfish is somewhat of an elusive creature, more often than not you’ll spy signs of its existence rather than the insect itself. Their feeding habits will leave behind evidence through small holes in your wallpaper or in boxes you may have lying around, or even by yellowish stains on fabric. You may also notice evidence of their feces, usually mistaken for dust, or through the shedding of their cast skins. If you happen to catch glimpse of a silverfish, more than likely you will spot them in areas that are dark or have moisture such as:

  • Under sinks
  • Bathrooms/bathtubs or laundry rooms
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Storage rooms
  • Behind closets and bookshelves
  • Garages and sheds

Additionally, items such as boxes, cardboard or even furniture can be source for infestation if either eggs or adult silverfish were attached to these, and brought into the home.

Control and Prevention

Here are some tips to help control the silverfish population in your home:

  • Since they prefer an environment with a high humidity and high temperature, lowering the temperature in your home can help to repel them from settling in and reproducing.
  • Use a dehumidifier or fan in areas of the house more prone to moisture, such as basements.
  • When moving furniture or boxes into your home, carefully inspect in and around these items to ensure that there are no signs of silverfish (either eggs or adults). This is particularly helpful when moving boxes from a garage or shed into your home.
  • Don’t give silverfish something to snack on! If possible, eliminate sources of food like old papers and books, as well as unused clothes or fabric that may be left lying around.
  • Make sure to caulk and seal any cracks that may be found around windows or doors on the exterior of your home. This will help to keep them from entering.
  • Repair or replace wallpaper that is torn as this makes for an inviting space for silverfish to inhabit.

Hiring a professional to address a silverfish problem is the most effective method, as Do It Yourself solutions such as traps or insecticides only target individual insects and not the potentially larger issue at hand. Since these insects reproduce quickly, eliminating them at their source is important. Your Truly Nolen pest professional can effectively assess the problem and provide solutions for treating both eggs and adult silverfish to prevent future infestations.

Severe Mosquito Virus May Be On the Way to South Carolina

A potential virus may be working its way to the South Carolina low country via the dreaded mosquito! This article, recently written in the Post & Courier, explains:

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150123/PC16/150129639/1190/severe-mosquito-virus-might-be-only-a-hop-away&source%3DRSS&newsletter%3Dnews

Let Truly Nolen of Charleston help mitigate the mosquito population in your backyard! We will provide a comprehensive service and work with our customers to reduce potential breeding sites. Please contact our office at 843-873-6249 for a free inspection of your property.

Yuma Home Show

On January 23rd, 24th and 25th our branch was at a Home Show here in Yuma. We had the mouse Limo outside and the Izetta inside as part of our booth display. We also had displays with live roaches in it (sink display) and tables with different items with damage termites did in some of our customer’s homes. We also had a live scorpion. During this activity we had the opportunity to educate people on bugs and termites, we also let people take pictures of our cars, we talked to the kids, and thanked current customers for their business. It was a three day event and a great opportunity to be active in our community. 

Safety Harbor Goes to 3 Events in 1 Day!

Team 078 was at it again!!! 3 events in 1 day with the limo!!! Thank you
Charlie for changing people’s lives!!!!

Event #1 – Dog Park to give out Frisbees and interact with all dog owners!!!
Event #2 – Going to a local school and doing GTKYs in the same neighborhood with the LIMO!!! Talking about OWNING THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!!
Event #3 – Going to an Assisted Living Facility to change lives.

Spiderman vs. Real Spiders: Who is the real hero?

From nursery rhymes that delight and fascinate young children, to scary horror stories that evoke fear, spiders have always played an important role as pop culture references. Boasting an impressive resume of leading and supporting roles, spiders weave their webs into many major movies, the most popular of which is Marvel’s Spiderman franchise. Even though these action packed movies are more about the stunts and computer graphics, Spiderman’s strengths are based on the real features and traits that spiders actually possess, which indeed make them truly amazing creatures.

As intimidating as spiders may seem, they are actually shy creatures that tend to retreat if you advance on them. In rare cases when there is close human interaction, the few spiders that are considered dangerous such as the Black Widow or Brown Recluse, can prove fatal if you are bitten, but most spiders are harmless and will not bite. Not to be confused with insects, spiders are Arachnids with all spiders having 8 legs and 2 distinct body regions. As much as our natural instinct is to get rid of any spider that we encounter, it is important to understand the benefits that spiders provide as they prey on undesirable insects and pest species, making them nature’s own biological vacuum.

spiders

Eight Legged Fun Facts

If you suffer with a true fear of spiders (Arachnophobia) it may not comfort you to know that there are at least 40,000 different species of spiders that exist. All spiders have venom and are therefore considered venomous, but most are still relatively harmless to humans. While the sight of them will make you go in the opposite direction, there are so many fascinating traits to these eight legged creatures:

  • Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae or wings.
  • All spiders have 8 legs.
  • Female spiders can produce up to 3,000 eggs.
  • The most poisonous spider is the Brazilian wandering spider, also known as the Banana spider.
  • The silk weave spun by spiders is considered the strongest material in the world. In the Spiderman movies, the concept of being able to climb walls and swing from high levels using this spun silk is a huge part of the appeal of his character. In reality, scientists have not been able to replicate this material despite technology.
  • The only continent in the world that does not have spiders is Antarctica!
  • Spiders are filled with venom which is actually how they digest any food that they intake. Anything ingested is first turned into a liquid substance.
  • Jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length (picture Spiderman leaping from building to building!)
  • Spiders can live in almost any habitat with only a few species surviving near water. This accounts for their highly diversified species.
  • Spidey Senses! Although Spiderman does not have 4 eyes like most spiders, his ‘spidey senses’ are just like that of a real spider. Near sighted, spiders cannot rely on their eyes to help them, so they must hone in on their other senses to help find food and defend themselves.
  • The most common method of capturing prey is by creating a web that insects or lizards will get stuck in. Some spiders hunt actively and will search their surroundings for food.

Types of Spiders

Although most of the spiders we encounter are harmless, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the more common varieties in the event that you do cross paths with them in your home.

 

Type of Spider Appearance Where to find it Get the bug spray?
Common House Spider
  • Long abdomen
  • Yellow/brown in color
Basements, garages, under furniture, around windows and near lights. The common house spider poses no real threat and is more of a nuisance.
Jumping Spider
  • Black with light markings
  • Shorter legs and more compact body
Around windows, doors, fences, decks and bushes. If threatened, the jumping spider can bite in defense, but their bite is not dangerous.
Long-bodied Cellar Spiders
  • Small body with long skinny legs
  • Range from pale yellow to light brown in color
Dark, damp places like basements and cellars. High humidity areas like sink cabinets, bathtubs, inside closets No real threat as these spiders do not bite.
Brown Recluse Spider
  • Range from light to dark brown
  • Noticeable dark brown violin shape marking on its back
Under woodpiles, debris, inside storage areas, baseboards, closets and attics. The brown recluse will bite in defense often leading to a painful bite and associated fever, sores and restlessness. Requires immediate medical treatment to avoid allergic reaction.
Black Widow Spider
  • Shiny and black body
  • Red hourglass shape on their underbelly
Found in boxes, around woodpiles or firewood and lower level areas. Female black widows can be aggressive if they are guarding recently laid eggs. A bite from a black widow can lead to high blood pressure, nausea and fever.

brown_recluse_spider

Keeping Spiders Out

Even if we’re inclined to bring out the spider décor at Halloween time, the rest of the year should be kept spider free if possible. The sighting of one or even two spiders may indicate that there is an infestation brewing and should be attended to right away to avoid the problem getting out of hand. To help reduce the possibility of spiders entering and staying in your home, there are a few preventative measures you can take:

  • Pressure clean the outside of your home to get rid of webs and possible spider eggs that cling to door frames and windows.
  • Repair damaged screens on all exterior openings of your house.
  • Remove debris, firewood or garbage away from your home as these areas serve as good resting places for spiders.
  • Using yellow light bulbs helps to deter insects, which in turn, deters spiders from feeding on them.
  • Any noticeable cracks or spaces should be sealed.
  • Minimize the opportunity for nesting by removing bags, boxes and papers that may be lying around your home.
  • Keep a close eye out in corners of ceiling, walls and windows and eliminate any cobwebs that you find.
  • Contact your Truly Nolen service expert who can effectively assess and treat any areas of the home that you suspect may have spiders.

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

THREE PREDICTIONS FOR PEST TRENDS IN 2015

 

Insect and rodent pests are excellent at taking advantage of changes in their environments, which could spell big trouble for homeowners and businesses with changing climates and shifting weather patterns in North America.

 

Below we have laid out three predictions of pest and pest prevention trends in 2015. As you may notice, some of these trends have already started to take shape (we’re looking at you, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug!).

 

Meet The Roof Rat

Often called the Black Rat or Ship Rat, the Roof Rat has been a perpetual offender to the deep south and coastal areas of the United States for some time. Recently, however, this pest has been creeping into land-locked areas and traveling ever further north. Roof Rats seek out elevated spaces and can do major damage to insulation, HVAC ducts, electrical components, and ornamental fixtures in your attic and wall voids. 

 

Increasing Bed Bug Activity In Non-Traditional Locations

The Bed Bug is a pest that has become an ever increasing nuisance and is not going away. In addition to expanding its footprint across North America, the Bed Bug is moving into areas where they have not traditionally been found. According to research performed by Truly Nolen Pest Prevention, bed bug business outside of hotels in the last 12 months has increased 16.1%. This could refer to anywhere people frequent, such as retail store fitting rooms, movie theaters, healthcare facilities, restaurants, gym locker rooms, and even the church pew. This spread to non-traditional locations can be attributed to the increase in the Bed Bug population and the fact that they are excellent hitchhikers. As a result of this increased activity of the Bed Bug, it may be a good idea to add thorough checks of your clothing and belongings after visiting these and other communal places before returning home to your 2015 resolution list.

 

Expanding Activity of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Over the past decade, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has become a very common pest in the Eastern U.S. Every fall we can count on seeing these flat, brown little pests crowding our windowsills and door frames, eventually finding their way into our kitchens and living rooms. While the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is largely a nuisance pest for homeowners, it can be very damaging to agriculture and, as a result, the U.S. economy. Expect this pest to continue its sprawl across the continent, moving further west in 2015.


© 2015 Truly Nolen, Inc. All rights reserved. Toll-Free 800-GO-TRULY • Email info@trulymail.net