Silverfish infestation problems

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Silverfish infestation problems

Postby alderaanian » 16 Jun 2018, 01:06

Hi all,
I'm new to the Forum (though I have been a big fan of The Algy Chronicles!!). Soppy and Fairblue may know me as Joanna from Singapore. I used to be active on the old yahoogroups around 15 years ago. :)
Just wanted to ask if anyone has encountered a silverfish problem with your Biggles collection? My books are reading copies (mostly Armada/Knight paperbacks) handed down from my father's childhood in the 1960s. Some of them already had burnt-out silverfish holes when I first read them as a child. It might be a problem more commonly seen in our humid tropical weather in this part of the world, but recently I think the silverfish are back - I just took down Works It Out from the bookshelf where the books have been lying fallow for close on a decade (sorry, RL intervened) and it is riddled with new holes and shedding book dust!
I am thinking of bringing back the Biggles collection out of storage and to my marital home where it will be more likely to be read - but I need to make sure I'm not bringing back any silverfish with me! Google has given me some general tips. Thinking of putting the books into an airtight container with some borax for a week as the most user-friendly option. Any other ideas?
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby tiffinata » 16 Jun 2018, 02:06

An archive I know of shoves their things in a freezer for a few days to kill off bugs.
I think things are well-wrapped first.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby Anticlockwise Prop » 16 Jun 2018, 08:57

Try and find an example of the pest that is doing the damage. Holes in the books sounds to me more like borers or some sort of insect larvae.

Check out:
https://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/ ... ctions.pdf

I have found spreading significant quantities of cloves helps to deter silverfish. Note that the cloves won’t actually kill the silverfish just deter them. Also lavender deters (again doesn’t kill) some moths.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby Tracer » 16 Jun 2018, 09:38

Freezer is a good option, and you need to freeze for a couple of weeks.

Creepy-crawly repellents include cloves and lavender as already said, plus white camphor if you can still get it (don't use brown camphor as very toxic) horse chestnut and cedar. If you get the essential oils, you can put some on a cloth inside your container.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby StoneRoad » 16 Jun 2018, 11:01

id'ing the pest from the damage if you haven't seen actual silverfish ... sounds like bookworm (blowed if I can remember the proper name).

Wrap and put in an airtight container, then freeze at least two / three weeks then clean (vacuum ideally) when replacing in storage one of the mentioned deterrents, also can use some essential oils on the shelves, behind your books. It helps if you can regularly use / disturb your books.

If humidity is a problem then a friend used a glass fronted cabinet and one of those caravan dehumidifiers - you do need a regular supply of the pellets and the liquid is potentially corrosive (strong alkali).
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby alderaanian » 16 Jun 2018, 12:52

Thanks all for your very helpful advice and resources!

As I have quite a number of books, I will probably put everything into an airtight container with a dehumidifier to transport to my house and keep it sealed (to keep the pests from spreading) while removing a few books at a time to use the freezer method, which will also serve the purpose of rationing my exposure to the books (haha). Will make the move soon and try to uncover the pests in the process. And will bear the deterrent tips in mind to try to prevent this from happening again in future.

Thank you!
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby kylie_koyote » 16 Jun 2018, 13:21

Welcome to the forum!
I hope you sort out your silverfish problem, I had them at my parents’ house but luckily not here so far.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby SopwithCamel » 16 Jun 2018, 14:05

Hullo Joanna (aka alderaanian)!! How lovely to see you here :mrgreen:

I've had a few silverfish, and the way I mostly deal with them is squish them with a tissue and throw them out (when I come across them while reading). Book dust is my more major problem and I have no idea how to improve upon that, other than to put plastic covers on the books and wipe them as often as possible.

I've never heard of the freezer method, but am noting it for future use. Wouldn't it make the pages damp, though?

Methinks archie might be the expert in this, being the book collector/seller.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby alderaanian » 17 Jun 2018, 15:31

Thanks Soppy and everyone else for your warm welcome!
I managed to spot one of the pests but it was so tiny I couldn't tell if it was a wood borer, a silverfish or booklice!! Based on the description in the resource given by Anticlockwise Prop, though, more likely a borer.
ANYWAY. Whatever they are, I'm just going to freeze all the books batch by batch in ziploc bags (with silica gel/ some dehumidifying agent in there with the book so that it doesn't get damaged by condensation on defrosting)
I'm just a bit alarmed that the books will disintegrate and become unreadable one day (HORRORS) though so far the damage is mostly superficial!
Maybe I should just try to buy new reading copies of as many books as I can!
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby kylie_koyote » 18 Jun 2018, 15:44

It's not hoarding if it's books! :booky: :booky: :booky:
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby Tracer » 19 Jun 2018, 09:27

kylie_koyote wrote:It's not hoarding if it's books! :booky: :booky: :booky:



Abso-bally-lutely!

And in my case, it's insulation as well.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby Fairblue » 19 Jun 2018, 09:28

Tracer wrote:
kylie_koyote wrote:It's not hoarding if it's books! :booky: :booky: :booky:



Abso-bally-lutely!

And in my case, it's insulation as well.

I like that idea, Tracer.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby StoneRoad » 19 Jun 2018, 09:43

Must check over the coming weekend - several times over the years a couple of rooms (including the bathroom) at my elderly father's house have had the odd silverfish trotting around.
They don't bother me, and don't appear to have caused any damage there.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby Fairblue » 19 Jun 2018, 09:47

We had an infestation of silverfish in our home in Italy. Then a chameleon came and took up residence in the door blind box in the kitchen and we didn't have any again. Not a solution available to UK residents though.
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Re: Silverfish infestation problems

Postby StoneRoad » 19 Jun 2018, 10:00

Someone I know off (I think they live in London - or the South East somewhere) has a pet Chameleon. It lives in a large vivarium in his living room.
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