Published on August 30th, 2012 | by Henri


Controlling silverfish and firebrats

Q.    Our attic has been infested with silverfish and after 2 years we are finally getting some control of the problem. A period of cooler weather here in Chicago seems to have helped. Whenever any technician goes in our attic they comment on the thousands of dead bugs they see. Should we have someone come and clean out the dead bugs?

I am concerned because of all the pesticide, the bugs themselves and the fact that it must be difficult to tell if there are still any live bugs that need to be eliminated. I am also concerned that if we sell the house any inspector will raise this as a red flag for the potential owners. Neither I nor my husband can climb into the attic so who would we even contact to do this for us?

A.    The insects infesting your attic are more likely firebrats as silverfish prefer cool, damp places while firebrats prefer warm places. If, on the other hand, ice dams have caused snowmelt to back up in your attic, the wood may have gotten wet and created the damp conditions silverfish prefer.

Regardless, control of these two insects is the same. An independent pest control operator that has been around for a long time is your best bet to spray or dust your attic and, most importantly, to determine why you are having such an infestation (for instance, do you store books or other possessions that provide food for these insects?). You should have the source of the infestation removed or the insects will return. Call around and find a pest control company that will not only treat your attic and give you the correct advice on how to prevent recurrence but also vacuum the attic for you at an additional charge. Small firms sometimes offer this service although it is usually to remove bat guano.

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