Firebrats and Silverfish - impossible to win?
I'm hoping someone has dealt with a situation like mine and might be able to offer some tips. We are staring to lose hope. I have successfully dealt with other infestations before (ants, rodents) but nothing as persistent as this.
I've been battling firebrats and silverfish for 2 years in my maisonette apartment (rental). We also get quite a few sowbugs but they aren't as worrisome. There are no mice here now but there is a huge mouse hole plugged with steel wool that I found in the bathroom a few months after we moved in. The unit has two levels, one being in the basement. We didn't know the building was infested until we had signed the lease. I'd say it's a ratio of 9:1 for the firebrats. It's rare that anyone has even heard of firebrats, which adds to the frustration of getting our building management to do anything about it. :furious: We do pretty much everything ourselves here (why I browse this forum).
The management didn't even know what a firebrat was and they were going to spray pesticides for other bugs we don't have all over our stuff. I researched the chemical they were going to use and found out it could kill my pet fish if the spray settled in the aquarium water so I told them not to do it. This was after they told me it was pet safe...
I took matters into my own hands by keeping everything very clean, removing sources of food, and using diatomaceous earth around their favorite areas -- basically making them feel as unwelcome as possible. I keep things the bugs like to eat (like flour and as much paper as possible) in airtight containers. We do our best but it would be impossible to remove 100% of the things they eat.
We don't let clutter or laundry sit around for longer than a week, and we reorganize things in storage every couple of months to keep them from settling in. I also sealed off small cracks in windows with tape but I think the a big culprit is the door to the building hallway, which we can't seal or we can't get out! I vacuum almost every day, but we can't control how clean our neighbors are. We keep the apartment as cold as we can but firebrats like heat and silverfish like cold! I kill them on sight and get about 6 per day at worst.
The firebrats like eating the carpets, as I can see the color of the carpet they were eating in their gut when I kill them. I vacuum the carpets every couple of days. I have found firebrats in cupboards, on ceilings, and they even show up in our beds which is the worst. When their numbers are higher, spiders move in and those don't look as cute as the firebrats.
I was winning the battle until this October, when I realized that the biggest culprit is the building's heating and the bugs were back in force. Our unit is heated with baseboard heaters which are connected to a water boiler in the building. The heaters become breeding factories for the firebrats when the heat goes on in September. I always knew it but I never realized just how much firebrats rely on those heaters until I saw the difference. The heat accelerates their growth as well as their multiplication.
We keep the heat as low as possible in our unit however it's impossible to turn them completely off. The rental management tells us it's to keep the pipes from freezing and exploding. :confused1: There's nothing I can do about it but take the heaters apart and clean them once and a while, and apply diatomaceous earth.
Cleaning so thoroughly so often is time consuming and with the bugs back in force now I feel defeated. Do we have to move to win?
My biggest worry is that we will bring the bugs with us if we move. Is that a real concern? I don't know what their eggs look like and their infant bugs are so tiny I can only see them on a white floor. These things can live for more than 300 days without food if they can get to a single droplet of water! I don't know how I can win. :( If we move to a new place and bring them with us I'll be devastated. I'm tired of finding them in my bed! Please help!
Thanks for the suggestion but cypermethrin is toxic to fish, which I have in my home. I'm also not sure of the legality of that product in my country.
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