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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Get it Out! (AKA: being a good daughter)

Actual conversation from yesterday:

“Chelle, get over here right now!”


“There’s a bug!”


“Well do something about it!”

You may be wondering: what was this dire emergency? Great question, thanks for asking.

It was a silverfish. The fact that they are harmless (which I told her) did not matter at all. The response to that statement was: get rid of it! Which I promptly did because, while it would have been entertaining, I wasn’t going to mess with my mom (this time)[1].

So let’s talk about silverfish.

These insects are pretty cool when you think about their life cycle, life span, and behaviors. They develop VERY slowly, up to 500 days from egg to adult sometimes. Adults can live for four years. Even cooler (IMHO) is they can molt up to 60 times! There’s more: the adults do a little courtship dance.

They prefer warm, damp areas as opposed to the firebrat which prefers hot, drier spots. I often find them in my bathroom, sometimes in my bathtub. In this situation, a couple of them were found in the kitchen cupboards. What made it interesting was this was on the fourth floor of a condominium complex. So how did they get there (a question my mom is completely uninterested in) and how do we get rid of them?

It is odd that they were found so high up. They could have been brought in by previous guests on their luggage or boxes. They could have been “delivered” in on groceries or farmer’s market goods. They could have come in under the front door that I've been telling my parents to seal up better for the last few years (we get the occasional woods roach inside because of that) but do they listen to me?

Anyway…how are we going to make my mom happy and get rid of these? A few were physically removed and disposed of. There are likely a few more stragglers still in there. There are small glue traps that have some kind of pheromone on them. Honestly, any old glue trap, placed correctly will do a decent job. You have to remember that glue boards are monitoring devices: they are never going to catch everything, they will only give you an idea of what is there, where it is, and if numbers are increasing or decreasing. Placing those glue boards in the back corners of some of the cabinets can also tell us if our physical controls (aka: smushing them) were effective.

Since this is a rental unit, sanitation isn’t really an issue. Food and trash gets removed and the unit is thoroughly cleaned between uses.

The next potential step is treatment. In this case, I know they were all found in the kitchen area so I wouldn't want any other areas treated. No need to use a pesticide when there aren’t pests present! Since these hide so well, a liquid residual or possibly a dust will be needed because you are unlikely to contact them in their little hiding spots. It should be applied as a crack and crevice treatment and if it is safe to do so, get some in the back of the suspect cupboards. Since this is in the kitchen, extra care needs to be taken to make sure there is no contamination of food, or food contact surfaces. This means all the dishes, pans, blenders, and anything else that may touch food[2]. In this case, most of the cupboards have shelves that can be pulled out and the treatment applied all the way in the back.

After all this work and effort, we can’t guarantee that the silverfish are gone and won’t come back. Despite my high quality and absolutely amazing inspection, there may be a few of them that have escaped notice in a closet or other lesser used area. One or two could have hidden out and never come out to touch the residual. And since we don’t know how they got in initially, more might get in by the same route. Customer expectations need to be set and communicated[3] so that they understand what was done and they may still see some.

So if you are in the NSB area and get a weirdly specific call on silverfish and how to treat, that’s me[4]. For everyone else, contact us, we can help you devise a comprehensive plan to effectively deal with silverfish and some great customer handouts so you have happy customers that give you great reviews[5]!

[1] Mostly because she threatened to not let me have any wine. [2] I will make sure my wine bottles are safe! [3] Don’t believe for one second that she won’t be calling me the second something crawls out despite me trying to set realistic expectations. [4] Contact me, I owe you a drink. And please consider using Demand CS. [5] Please ignore the only one-star review I have that was posted by my mom.

Urban pest consulting

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