Is there anything worse than lying awake at night, staring at your inflamed and itchy skin, wondering “Is this a silverfish bug bite?!”
And yes, the prospect of a silverfish is truly disgusting but actually, there are worse things in life. Like, wondering if it’s a bed bug bite, for example. With those, you’re in for a hell of a ride. With silverfish? Not so much.
Now, don’t get us wrong – silverfish are creepy. Even by the standards of bugs, these things are super ugly. Maybe it’s the way they move, seeming to wriggle across the floor at frightening speeds. Maybe it’s the long, bristly antenna that rise from both their heads and their rear. Whatever it is, silverfish are no one’s idea of a welcome houseguest.
But do they bite people? The short answer is no. Their mouths are adapted to chew or scrape at surfaces, not to give a strong bite. When disturbed or threatened, a silverfish’s only real response is to run, using their impressive speed to get them out of danger and into the nearest crack or crevice. Yeah, I said it. Silverfish are cowards.
That doesn’t mean that people don’t report being bitten by silverfish, though. The thing is, silverfish are a very common household pest, and a lot of people who have them also report finding small insect bites on their skin. It’s tempting when you find yourself being bitten to blame it on the first bug you see.
But while they can cause their share of problems, silverfish probably aren’t the culprit here. So what else could it be?
A Silverfish Bug Bite…or Allergies?
Silverfish, like many insects, have a tough exoskeleton that is incapable of growing. In order for a silverfish to grow, or if it just feels like freshening up its look, it needs to shed its skin.
These shed skins have been known to trigger allergic reactions in some people. The allergic reactions usually take the form of respiratory problems rather than skin problems. But if you’re finding itchy red patches of skin and you know you have a silverfish infestation, it might be worth investigating the possibility that you’re allergic.
A Silverfish Bug Bite…or Other Insects
Silverfish eat a wide variety of things. They don’t go and actively hunt for other insects to eat; like I said before, they’re cowards. But they are not above feeding on the dead bodies of other insects when they find them.
So it’s possible that the presence of silverfish in your home points to the existence of other pests. Pests that can and do bite humans. Here are the most likely culprits:
Unlike silverfish, fleas have to bite mammals to eat and survive. And they’ll bite people quite happily. Even if you don’t have a cat or a dog, it’s possible that you might have fleas.
Fleas are visible to the naked eye. They look almost like a grain of pepper. But a grain of pepper with legs. An easy way to check if you have fleas is to set up a table lamp above a bowl of water with just a little dish soap inside. Leave the lamp shining on the bowl overnight. The fleas will jump towards the light and get stuck in the bowl.
Depending on the season, it could be mosquitoes rather than silverfish that are biting you. Since mosquitoes are most active at dusk, they can bite you without you ever seeing them. And it can take a while for your skin to react to the bite.
Yes, bedbugs are real. And yes, they do bite. While these horrible little monsters are visible to the naked eye, about the size and shape of an apple seed, they are nocturnal and are extremely good at hiding.
It’s quite possible to have bedbugs without knowing it, at least in the early stages of an infestation. And having a clean home doesn’t mean you can’t have bedbugs. These bloodsuckers don’t discriminate.
To rule out the possibility of bedbugs, do a thorough inspection of your bed, sofa and any other soft furniture. Pay particular attention to seams and other crevices. Bedbugs love to play hide and seek.
Head lice. Body lice. There are a few different types of lice that like to bite humans. Unlike the other bugs mentioned, lice will spend their entire life cycle on the human body. They’re small enough that they can get away with hitching a ride on your body or on your clothes. If you suspect you have lice, a visit to the doctor may be in order.
So…Back to Silverfish Bug Bites
Just because silverfish don’t bite people doesn’t mean it’s ok to have them in your house. If they’re not paying rent, they need to go. Silverfish are seriously ugly, and can cause damage to paper, books and other materials. Not to mention the allergies they can cause.
So there’s no shortage of reasons to want to banish silverfish from your home – here’s exactly how to do it. But for now, just count your lucky stars that at the very least, silverfish don’t bite.