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5 Subtle Signs of a Silverfish Infestation in Your Home

Experts say there are a few red flags that can alert you they're starting to invade.

While they may not rank as high as a serious rodent or roach infestation on the pest dread scale, dealing with a silverfish problem in your home is still not a pleasant ordeal. The tiny bugs can make their way indoors through even the skinniest cracks before they get comfortable and begin ruining your personal items. Fortunately, there are a few red flags that can tip off when you're dealing with these lesser-known bugs. Read on for the subtle signs of a silverfish infestation in your home, according to pest experts.

RELATED: 7 Best Tips to Rodent-Proof Your House for Fall.

You notice damage to your clothing.

Mature woman choosing clothes in the closet at home

Moths are usually the first pest you think of when it comes to textile damage. But according to experts, they're not the only bugs that will go after your clothes.

"Silverfish will sometimes eat fabrics due to the starch content that is contained in natural fibers," says Jerry Wang, owner of DIYPestWarehouse. "They may also target synthetic materials like rayon and cellulose-based products."

If you notice small holes or runs in your clothing, Wang suggests keeping your eyes peeled for silverfish hiding in corners or behind boxes in your closet.

RELATED: 9 Cleaning Habits That Attract Spiders.

You spot their droppings.

middle aged white man looks under bed

Any insect or animal that's made itself comfortable in your home will eventually start leaving behind signs of their presence in the form of droppings. And according to Lorne Hanewich, corporate trainer at Clark's Termite & Pest Control, silverfish are no different.

"Infested materials may also exhibit yellow stains, scales, or feces, which are characterized by tiny black, pepper-like pellets," he tells Best Life.

RELATED: If You See This Scary Bug in Your Home, Don't Kill It, Experts Warn.

You can't get high humidity under control.

mold next to window

Extreme dampness in homes can lead to a whole host of issues. But besides mold and mildew, experts say it could also be creating conditions for a silverfish infestation.

"People should thoroughly check areas with high humidity, such as basements, attics, bathrooms, and kitchens," says Wang. "Silverfish tend to hide in dark, damp places and can often be found near sources of water or moisture."

RELATED: 5 Things You're Buying That Bring Bed Bugs Into Your House, Experts Say.

You see damage to paper products.

Selfless Caucasian female volunteer, packing books and toys for donation into cardboard box
iStock / miodrag ignjatovic

Even with the amount of digitization we now have, we're still surrounded by plenty of paper in our homes. Unfortunately, you may not be the only one who's interested in devouring that page-turner.

"If you find damage such as holes in stored paper products—including filed documents, magazines, books, and even cardboard boxes—it's a common sign that there will be silverfish in the house," says Wang.

RELATED: 6 Things Attracting Mice Into Your Basement.

You suddenly develop allergies or respiratory problems.

Shot of a young man and woman blowing their noses with tissue at home

Many things in our homes can trigger sniffles and sneezes, from dusty corners and cobwebs to mold and mildew. However, according to experts at EnviroCon Pest Control in Tomball, Texas, silverfish could also be another potential culprit.

Since the bugs' shed skins and scales can sometimes cause reactions in people, take note if you develop sudden allergies—especially if it's not during spring or fall when seasonal issues are common.

Consider calling a pest control company to do a sweep of your home for any other signs if you're still struggling to come up with a source for the problem.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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