The Unwelcome Pest That May Be Crawling Around On Your Wallpaper

If you've noticed peppercorn-like droppings or found holes or yellow stains in your wallpaper, silverfish may be the culprits. These tiny, silvery insects are among the types of bugs you don't want living in your home, so it's important to address any signs of the bugs quickly and get to the root of the cause so they don't return again. As to why silverfish like wallpaper? It has to do what the bugs like to eat, which is basically anything, including paper, glue, and, even, dust.

Silverfish prefer dark environments with high humidity and moisture levels, but they can be found anywhere in a home, from the bathroom to the kitchen to the basement. Further, these bugs live long (up to eight years) and reproduce fast so you'll want to get rid of silverfish when you find them, especially if they're ruining a room's wallpaper and you weren't planning on replacing it anytime soon.

Getting rid of silverfish in your home

To get rid of silverfish, you could set them a DIY trap, or if you believe you have a silverfish infestation, hire a professional to fully address the problem. As for the DIY approach, one way is to lure the silverfish out of their hiding spots, like behind your wallpaper (they really like to eat adhesive), with other tasty treats, like flour, grains, pet food, and wet newspaper. Put these items in a glass container and cover the outside with masking tape.

The tape is key; while it'll help the silverfish get into the glass container, once inside, the bugs will be stuck as they won't have anything to hold onto to climb out. Meanwhile, spreading dried bay leaves or cloves around can repel silverfish from areas, while using borax or a diffuser or spray containing cedar oil can kill them. Note that chemical traps or insecticides are toxic and a last resort; be careful with how you use them and never around pets or children.

To prevent silverfish from returning, reduce the humidity in the room with a dehumidifier and proper ventilation and close any gaps in the wall so they have no nooks to hide in. As for your wallpaper, if the damage is enough that you need to replace it, you may want to opt for paint instead. Further, if possible, let as much light, particularly natural light, in as possible; silverfish will avoid direct sunlight.