Do Silverfish Bite or Cause Disease?
The fear of insects usually stems from being afraid of getting bitten or contracting a disease. Knowing if an insect bites or not goes a long way to quell any concerns you may have about them.
Do Silverfish Bite
Silverfish are not known for being dangerous to humans nor biting them. They consume items containing cellulose like books, papers, and glue. So, they have no need to bite humans for food purposes.
Also, besides their eating habit, their mouthparts are not developed enough to take big bites out of human skin. Their small mouthparts are only capable of chewing tiny particles off items like paper, linen, silk, and similar products. Silverfish are generally shy insects, and when in danger, escape into corners and crevices to protect themselves.
The rare chances of silverfish bites are when the person is sleeping. Only then will silverfish not feel threatened, and may bite them if the person has dandruff in their hairs as these insects love to feed upon dandruff. They may crawl on people while they are asleep because of dandruff particles present. But again, extremely rare.
Diseases Caused by Silverfish
Though silverfish are annoying they are not known for causing any serious or life-threatening diseases among people.
Symptoms of Silverfish Bites
Silverfish rarely do bite, but even though the bites seldom occur, we can’t overlook the symptoms. Common symptoms of silverfish bites include:
- Red linear marks on skin or red spots
- Nose inflammation
- Allergic reaction
- Sharp, biting pain similar to ants’ bites
- Seeing silverfish on your body
Mostly silverfish bites go unnoticed because of their mild nature. Sometimes people out of fear also confuse other pests and bugs’ bites with silverfish. The red marks or allergic reaction may be due to other bugs like bed bugs. Also, there are also chances that you are suffering from allergies because of something other than insects.
Allergic Reactions to Silverfish
Silverfish sometimes is a source of allergies among homeowners. A person may suffer if they accidentally inhale the exoskeleton shed (which they leave behind after molting) of silverfish. This usually happens in case of severe silverfish infestation as then there are great chances of taking in some of the shed.
Silverfish are known for shedding its skin throughout its life. These scales float in the air, and when combined with the dust, they reach to even distant corners of your house. When you breathe in the air filled with these tiny scales you suffer from allergies. Wind transfers these particles from one corner to the other easily.
Allergic reactions are the most common symptoms of silverfish bites.
The allergic reactions towards silverfish include:
- allergic rhinitis
- bronchial asthma
- respiratory allergy
- nose inflammation
Tropomyosin is the allergen associated with silverfish. The allergen is present in the exoskeleton shed, and seafood like in shrimps and shellfish. This allergen may trigger a reaction in the person who takes the food or inhales it.
Silverfish don’t carry disease-causing germs, but if they make their way into your kitchen or food storage area, they can contaminate food. Like many other pests, silverfish also crawl on trash and areas with harmful bacteria. So, it is very likely they can transfer some of the bacteria from the trash to your food or kitchen.
Their preference for starch, carbohydrates, and proteins, especially if you store them in a humid place, could become infested. Silverfish can damage grains, cereals, and even packaged foods by eating away their box packaging.
Damage Caused by Silverfish
The relieving fact that silverfish don’t harm humans, but they can take a serious toll on your household items. Some favorite food items of silverfish include:
- old letters
- upholstered furniture
As they eat away they leave behind irregular holes in fabrics, clothes, papers, and books. Outdoors silverfish bite a variety of plants and leaves in a bid to consume their favorite cellulose. Their biting is extremely damaging to plants as their leaves start rotting after silverfish bite them.
The fecal material they leave behind results in a yellow discoloration of items such as books and papers.
So, if you come across damaged documents, discolored books or ruined photos, now you know who the culprit is. Control silverfish infestation as early as possible because their population grows at a remarkable rate. If left uncontrolled now, they will be difficult to get rid of later.***
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