Have You Got Sharks in Your Kitchen?

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The sharks we are talking about are carpet sharks, more commonly known as silverfish.
Like their water dwelling namesakes who mainly graze along the bottom of warm shallow seas, silverfish thrive on damp conditions and love to eat anything starchy.
This includes sugar, flour and paper.
The carpet sharks that live in the sea and those in our homes are also both nocturnal which means that we often have an infestation before we are aware of it.
The bad news is that silverfish can live up to eight years.
The good news is that they are fairly easy to eradicate once you know that they are there.
So, how do you get rid of silverfish once they appear in your kitchen? The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean your whole kitchen.
This includes all kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Silverfish like dark places and will hide in cracks behind tiles and under the lining paper in drawers.
If possible get your kitchen steam cleaned as this will eliminate not only the silverfish but some of their eggs as well.
However, the eggs are tiny and you may have to repeat any treatment to catch eggs missed the first time.
The added benefit of a good steam clean is that it will remove deep grease and lingering odours and leave your kitchen feeling newer and fresher.
Now you need to work out how to keep your kitchen clear in the future.
Silverfish like warm damp atmospheres so increasing the ventilation will help.
Consider installing a better extractor hood over your cooker or even change the filter on your existing one.
When cooking, particularly boiling or steaming, make sure that doors and windows are open to increase ventilation.
If this is not possible then install a dehumidifier or at least wipe down surfaces with a dry cloth once the cooking is finished.
As silverfish feed on starchy foods, make sure that worktops are kept clear of food residue and that food such as biscuits is safely stored in boxes to reduce the risk of crumbs ending up loose in cupboards.
If you keep cookery books in the kitchen, consider moving them to another room or at least protect the covers with a plastic contact cover.
Books that are already contaminated can be wrapped in a protective cover and placed in the freezer for a couple of days to kill the insects.
Don't do this if the books are damp or you will damage them further.
Finally, a green way to keep silverfish away is to keep sprigs of lavender or bay leaf in your cupboards.
Lavender also works to deter ants so sprigs in your kitchen and a pot of lavender outside your door and you could soon be ant free with no more worry about carpet sharks.
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