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human debris Record number of insect infestations noted by pest control this winter

Silverfish can lay up to 60 eggs per day, so a few insects can quickly become a much larger infestation.





A record number of insect infestations were noted by pest control provider Rentokil this winter.

The company said that they experienced a 79% increase in the number of call outs for silverfish between November 2021 and January 2022, compared to figures from the previous year.

52% of the call outs were in Dublin, while 11% were in Cork and 8% were in Kildare.

Home and business owners are most likely to find silverfish in dark, damp, and humid areas such as bathrooms, basements and attics.

“Like many pests during colder periods of the year, silverfish move indoors to seek shelter and warmth inside homes and businesses,” Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said.

Silverfish are nocturnal insects that are silver or grey in colour, measuring approximately 10-12mm in length with tiny scales and two antennae and have a tapered, tail-like appearance.

Silverfish can lay up to 60 eggs per day, so a few insects can quickly become a much larger infestation.

Their eggs are usually difficult to locate, as they are often hidden in tiny cracks or crevices.

“While silverfish aren’t dangerous, they can become a major inconvenience because of their appetite for starch and cellulose, which can lead to them damaging valuable items by feeding on them,” Mr Faulkner added.

An infestation of silverfish can result in damage to books, photographs, paintings, plaster and other household items as they feed on both starch and cellulose.

They also feed on human debris such as dead skin and hair.

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A common sign of the presence of silverfish to watch out for is finding unexplained holes in books or items of clothing.

Rentokil's top tips to reduce the chances of a silverfish infestation are to:

  • Deny them food by vacuuming and keeping dust and debris to a minimum.

  • Store food in containers with tightly sealed lids.

  • Homes and businesses should also dehumidify their premises through the use of fans, dehumidifiers, or by opening windows to air them out.

  • Make sure all cracks in walls and skirting boards are filled

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