© Frances Michaels
Silverfish are starch feeders and can seriously damage paper and fabrics. Older, hardback books are greatly
at risk due to the glues used in their construction. Silverfish prefer to live in damp, cool, dark places
and are mainly active at night. They are wingless, covered in silvery-grey scales and are usually less than
20 mm in length.
Suggested Organic Strategies
- Vacuum regularly.
- Cardboard boxes are a common source of infestation; before using for storage, consider lining them
with a 'shelf liner', see recipe below.
- Dispose of unused boxes and paper rubbish promptly.
- Move books around on bookshelves when dusting.
The Shelf Liner recipe below was kindly supplied by Jackie French; see
Natural Control of Garden Pests
by Jackie French as an
excellent reference on pest control. Use the shelf liners in linen cupboards and below books on book shelves.
- Sheets of brown paper or wrapping paper
- Glue (to make your own flour and water glue just add 1 cup flour to 1 cup boiling water
- Boric acid (Roach Prufe)
Mix 1 cup of glue to 1 tablespoon of
boric acid; wipe over
paper then press another sheet down on it, be liberal with the glue mix and press firmly together. Dry well.
Insert liners in between layers of important documents or use as drawer liners or to line bookshelves or
behind framed posters.
You can also add ground cloves and ground cinnamon to the mix. This will repel silverfish to some extent and
will certainly make the drawer smell good. If you add too many spices with the boric acid however it won't
stick well... it's best to make two separate lots of liners, one perfumed to scent your drawers and the other
to control silverfish.