Fight silverfish - these home remedies help with acute infestation

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Silverfish look almost elegant in their silver skin, but are insects, small and nimble, and thus scary to disgusting to most people. Panic is not announced, silverfish are peaceful, neither unhygienic nor disease carriers, multiply slowly and can be successfully eliminated with simple, inexpensive home remedies. What is not necessarily true of the damage that can be pointed out by unexpectedly swarming silverfish, may be that silverfish with the assembly for certain components the host important services:

Fight with the potato trap

Silverfish potato trap

Every household has the means to combat an "acute silverfish invasion" in its normal stock:
  • Peel raw potato, cut into thick slices, cut them in half at an angle
  • In the lower edition "carving" a small, externally accessible tunnel
  • Makes several potato traps where silverfish crawl in and can climb sideways
  • In places where silverfish were sighted, lay out on paper on the floor
  • In the morning go through the house with a bowl and a brush and brush off the sliced ​​potatoes
  • Slipping empty traps until they cross the silverfish trails
  • Dispose of silverfish on compost or in organic waste
The Potato Trap is "the silver bullet fight" because it brings maximum success with minimal effort. Potatoes are almost always in the house, the trap hardly costs anything, is easy to produce, set up and empty. But fighting is not the most important thing:

Silverfish's paradise

Even if it does not interest you the bean, where silverfish feel well, it is in your own interest, if you know some basic data:
The fish were named very close to their shape; but since the scientists were already aware that they do not name any fish at the moment, the insect order is really called "little fish" (and silverfish, not silverfish). Most of the approximately 470 species of fish are found in tropical areas below the surface; because you do not see much anyway, preferably undisturbed at night. Only one species has developed in Central Europe and has formed more species, but was previously overrun by tropical relatives. They were carried by humans, at the earliest in the course of the migration of peoples and at the latest by the discoverers of the 15th century. Since then live in sewer systems, insect caves, bird nests etc. about six species of fish, which receive support from new immigrants again and again (April 2017 has reached the "Ghost Fish" Chemnitz, see
The barely fingernail-sized streamlined bodies do without wings, but a silverfish can still move in a flash, supported by six strong legs in a kind of meandering. With these fish migrate into your living room, next to the door through drainpipes and all the small cracks, or passive as a larva in vegetables, potting soil etc. All fish have nothing against heat, but silverfish and Ofenfischchen insist on their tropical heritage and prefer the warmth of living and working spaces. Stove fish need 32 and 37° C and remain in bakeries / commercial kitchens, while silverfish with a temperature range between 22 and 32° C in residential buildings find optimal temperatures and in kitchen, bathroom, cellar / laundry and the required humidity of 80 to 90%,
When heat and humidity are right, silverfish only need food for their happiness, which they find abundant in the household. The scientific name Lepisma saccharina gives an indication of the favorite food; Saccharin not here for sweetener, but from the ancient Greek sakcharon = sugar borrowed. True sweet-beaks, however, the naming Mr. Linnaeus has taken the restriction on sweets a little tight, actually eat silverfish every organic material (which consists mainly of sugars, because plant fibers mostly from carbohydrates and chemists / biologists all carbohydrates "sugar" are). Human dander, hair, nail dust are as diligently consumed as the organic content of the old sponge, dead insects or the legacy of up to four annual fish-skinning.
Carbohydrates (starch) can be found in the dust (bookshelves, closets, dryers) and when it gets tight also in the wallpaper paste on the wall; All these things are tracked down quickly and safely with the five long feelers on the front and back of the body. Until it passes by the wallpaper, the silverfish will last almost a year without food, then it is just mature and mature and will live another 2-4 years, in which the female produces only about 150 offspring.A slow rate of replication, which is why you may infer a longer-standing moisture problem when masses of silverfish are traveling (below 25° C and 50% humidity, the propagation rate = 0).
At least now you should be aware that fighting the silverfish in a larger infestation is not the most urgent measure. With potato traps you can relocate a few stray silverfish that would not have been able to build a larger population in your household anyway. If there is a suggestion that a larger population could emerge, the most important thing is surely to investigate the cause (you do not really want dark corners with 80, 90% humidity permanently in your living room).


Therefore, before you start fighting, you should keep a close eye on the silverfish until they find the wet spot that you are drying. The remaining silverfish after repair can just let their lives come to an end, if they are not particularly disturbing, or fight as follows:

Non-hazardous home remedies

When the potatoes are just out, the kitchen, storage and tool cabinets make many other home remedies:
  • The preference for sugar results in a wealth of attractants
  • Sugar water = sugar syrup, honey, softly stirred with a little water jam
  • A moistened marshmallow or soft caramel candy can be formed into the Silverfish Cave
  • All starchy vegetables can be used as bait
  • Lentils, beans (lima beans, white beans, kidney beans), chickpeas, sweet potatoes, yams contain more starch than potatoes
  • More starch is in all kinds of cornstarch, ground cornflakes, dry, powdered baked goods (= canned crumbs)
  • Or flour of all kinds, and even pure mineral gypsum should like the small insects
  • All of these attractants are served on paper or an old cloth to collect / Absammeln
  • The best biodegradable material to be disposed of with glued silverfish

Questionable home remedies

As always circulate numerous home remedies tips in the net, which are more likely to fill pages than for silverfish catch:
  • Silverfish should not like the scent of lemon and lavender
  • Small bowls of lemon or lavender water would be a good repellent.
  • Grueling means expelling, earlier in the leaking farmhouse directly into the garden in front of the door
  • If you set up scented water on the 3rd floor of a tightly isolated city apartment, you should already wonder where you drive the silverfish
  • Suppose you live next to an old lady who has not noticed the immigrant guests for a long time
  • Silverfish distributed there will multiply until the stairwell shines silvery silver
  • The tip with the sugar-coated double-sided tape is also not convincing
  • Where fish fixed on paper with sugar syrup can be removed without subsequent cleaning
  • After eating sugar with baking soda, silverfish should burst
  • For slightly perverted contemporaries certainly a tempting idea, BUT:
  • Only silverfish with a digestive tract without a disposal opening can burst
  • Since silverfish would die already at their first meal, they obviously do not suffer from such a strange malformation
  • Even if it did, would you really like to have a graveyard of dead, rotting silverfish somewhere between the wall and the wallpaper?

As a recognized home remedy

Even among our ancestors intrepid natures like to use "chemical warfare agents". However, at that time, people had no way to inform themselves about the dangers (even the elaborate walk to the university library was only recently open to all citizens), while today everyone can quickly fathom the toxicity of old home remedies.
Such as:
  • Salmiak (ammonium chloride) is intended to drive out silverfish
  • With about 12, - € per kg against potatoes an expensive remedy
  • In addition, irritating to corrosive and therefore no substance that should be left open in apartments
  • The same is true with borax, a hazardous substance hardly used today with a fertility-damaging and fruit-damaging effect
  • The use of kieselguhr powder (crystalline SiO2) should also be left to better trained pest controllers
  • The fine sharp-edged dust can damage the lungs when inhaled

Control with commercially available insecticides

You probably looked for home remedies for silverfish because you do not like to use toxic insecticides. Rightly so, the usual bait boxes contain the neurotoxin Azamethiphos. Although the Neudorff bait box advertised with "insecticide-free attractant" (like here: does not contain any neurotoxin, it does contain a bacterial-derived substance with a CAS number (registration number for chemical insects) Substances), which is authorized in the EU as an insecticide in plant protection products and is a long-term hazardous substance for aquatic organisms.


However, when the silverfish have been exposed to greater moisture-mildew damage, particularly affecting inaccessible building areas, the entire silverfish population may have long reached dimensions beyond the reach of home remedies. It is less about destroying the masses of silverfish that have been uncovered in the course of the redevelopment work, most of them disappearing in the building vacuum cleaner before. However, the affected landlord must prevent that after completion of the remediation quantities of silverfish hatch and die in the now dry part. Here, insecticides can make sense, weigh up what is more expensive / unpleasant: purchase of the prescribed protective equipment, own spreading of the insecticides and automatic securing of the rooms that can not be walked on for a certain time or commissioning of a professional pest control.

Prevent the next infestation

They can not prevent an attack with silverfish meaningfully.
When referring to precautionary measures in articles on silverfish, it is mostly about activities that have nothing to do with prevention: the recommendation to keep the household clean and especially to clean the bathroom (because most of the dander / hair is deposited here) You not to keep your living spaces clean; it has nothing to do with prevention. Cracks and crevices in floor tiles are not closed by ordinary homeowners until the prevention of silverfish infestation. If it is advised to ventilate several times a day (especially damp rooms incl. Cellar), to switch on more light in dark rooms and to dry wet bath mats always immediately in the dryer, you probably want to convince the energy waster devil that the prevention is against silverfish.
The suggestion to close drains of sinks and showers at night and to run regular hot water during the day, exceeds normal housekeeping and maintenance and may even keep a silverfish couple out of the house. Maybe because silverfish live all around us in the environment, often in the building fabric of the house. A couple because it's all about the first immigrants, and they do not really care about you. If everything else is alright, there will be a few silverfish that can suck you away and in inaccessible places with the potato trap in the Get a grip; if not all is well, the silverfish are a secondary issue anyway, given the damage they have drawn attention to.
Tip: Sometimes it is proposed to seal all joints and cracks with acrylic or silicone to take the opportunity to retreat from silverfish. Forget it, it works just as well as the expensive insect screen, the lt (commission-dependent) seller hermetically seal your house, namely not at all.
Would not make sense, but rather self-damaging, and prevents the emergence of silverfish in the house about as effective as the use of disinfectants / hygiene cleaners in the household improves household hygiene. Especially the silverfish are a proof that good household hygiene has nothing to do with the purchase of disinfectants or hygiene cleaners, because:

Silverfish: Especially in the "super hygienic household" a problem

The quotation marks indicate it already, the "super hygienic household" is only allegedly particularly hygienic even with continuous use of disinfectants / hygiene cleaners, in fact, the busy seven-person student flat share can keep up well in terms of germ burden ( /sauberkeit/hygiene/pwieuebertriebenehygiene100.html).
However, there is a greater chance of finding a few Forficula auricularia (Spiders) and many spiders, both predators of the silverfish, who in no time "clear ship". The aggressive cleansers of the "clean household" do not do this, harming the environment and all of humanity by making pathogens more resistant (a serious threat to our health that the advertising forgets "to mention").

Pest or beneficial insect?

In recent decades, a steep increase in allergies and sensitivities is observed, which leads repeatedly to media reports that warn against weakening the immune system by irritant depletion. The Federal Ministry of Health has been trying for a long time to protect the citizens through campaigns against self-harm through exaggerated hygiene, see to the whole z. B. or
The "various environmental influences that train our immune systems on farms" are also part of the list, as is the entire small animal brigade, which occasionally finds its way into our homes.This training effect would be for sensitive people alone a good reason for relaxed handling of silverfish; The little racers can actually help allergic people, because their diet also includes house dust mites.


When mold is discovered, silverfish not only act as an important warning signal, they even fight mold, as molds are on their diet (and are still consumed in mural areas that can not reach anti-mold sprays).
The classification as a pest or beneficial insect is idle - we live with billions of living beings in an ecosystem, most of them well below our perceptual limits. One thing is certain: the extermination of all life around us would also destroy man; many unforeseen human interventions do harm humanity enough; Those who want to survive longer have the best chance if they let each being live in peace in their environment, as long as it does not turn out to be dangerous. Silverfish are not dangerous, neither as disease transmitters nor in terms of hygiene, they do not bite or sting and do not spray poison. Isolated silverfish in the apartment you may therefore simply ignore (and a few media that raise the topic of filing the silverfish, which is of course not given, because of unjustified scare the same).

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