Experts warn of silverfish infestations in Ireland – Cork has 4th highest callout rate for exterminators

7 February 2021
By Elaine Murphy

Cork accounts for 4th highest percentage of nationwide callouts

Rentokil, Ireland’s leading pest control provider, has experienced a 32% increase in the number of callouts for silverfish over the period of November – December 2020, when compared to the previous year. The company attributes this to the cold winter conditions, which cause these insects to seek warmth and shelter indoors.

The top four counties that have accounted for silverfish callouts are Dublin (which accounted for 42% of total callouts), Kildare (16%), Limerick (8%), and Cork (6%).

Home and business owners are most likely to find silverfish in dark, damp, and humid areas such as bathrooms, basements and attics. Silverfish are nocturnal insects that are silver or grey in colour, measuring approximately 10-12mm in length with tiny scales and two antennae. They have a tapered, tail-like appearance.

Silverfish can lay up to 60 eggs per day, so a small outbreak can quickly become a large one. Their eggs are usually difficult to locate, as they are often hidden in tiny cracks or crevices.

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.

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

Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said: “The most recent rise in silverfish callouts we have received is most likely a result of the cold weather. Like many insects, silverfish seek shelter and warmth inside homes and businesses during the winter time. While these insects are not dangerous, they can become a major inconvenience because of their appetite for starch and cellulose, which can easily lead them damaging valuable items by feeding on them.”

Members of the public can find out more about silverfish on the Rentokil website.

Rentokil advises following these tips to reduce the likelihood of a silverfish infestation on your premises:

  • 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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