British homes invaded by skin-eating silverfish as wet winter sees influx – find out how you can keep them away

Silverfish survive by eating pretty much everything, but prefer to feed on dead skin cells and hair.

The ancient bugs thrive in damp conditions, which means as the winter gets wetter and Brits start to turn up the heating there is a risk of a silverfish invasion.

These pests have been known to eat through wallpaper, books, curtains and cereal boxes.

They can jump up to two feet high and live for eight years.

Ranjen Gohri, a leading property maintenance expert from 24/7 Home Rescue, said silverfish are the oldest known pests on earth and they do leave clues behind so you can spot them.

He told The Mirror: “If you're spotting tiny holes in your clothes or curtains, you might have an infestation without even realising it.

“As we don't tend to open windows and doors during the colder months, moisture from cooking, showering and drying clothes indoors can't escape.”

Other ways you can spot them is by their peppercorn-shaped droppings and their skin after they shed.

Gohri says they are active at night and adds: “They're quite secretive, but you may see them scurrying away in the middle of the night when you're making a loo visit. Keep your eyes peeled.”

There are some things Brits can do to keep the pests away that include keeping a clean home, making a homemade repellent, spotting and fixing leaky pipes and taps, and getting a dehumidifier to keep the moisture away.

A repellent can be made using equal parts vinegar and water, a squirt of washing up liquid and then mix it with 10 drops of peppermint and eucalyptus oil, Gohri adds.

What are silverfish and how do you get them?

A silverfish is a small, wingless insect that is light grey in colour that imitates fish-like movements.

Silverfish are attracted to food residue and moisture.

The pests love pasta and cereals and it is recommended all food is kept in sealed containers.

They can enter homes through leaky pipes and taps.

If the home is already crawling with silverfish making honey and salt traps can catch them.

Gohri said to mix honey and baking soda onto a piece of cardboard to attract them, trap them and then dehydrate and kill them from the salt.

Silverfish also hate the smell of garlic, lemon, lavender and oranges.

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