Silverfish and my Univeristy

This is two questions in one (you mods should love me). However, if this is more of an IMHO and you feel the need to move it, I promise I won’t complain. I fretted over where it belonged for almost an hour while I read other posts.

I live in a dorm on campus. Since I moved into this room almost a year ago, I’ve complained to the Residential Life office and Plant Services that there is a silverfish infestation in my room. I happen to live over the boiler room, so my room stays very warm (a whole other issue I fight with them about). When it warms up anywhere over 70 degrees, the silverfish come out in swarms to say “howdy do” and I’m getting damn sick of it! I hate bugs.

I find the ugly little bastards everywhere!!! In my underwear drawer, my food drawer (nothing open to attract them), laundry, bed, etc.

I try to keep my room hovering just below 70, and I make sure there isn’t anything left out to possibly attract bugs. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but they are still a problem. So here are my questions.

Are there any things I can do myself to keep them out of my room? What can I line cracks with to kill them that is non-pesticidal? (There are University regs about chemicals.)

What threat do they pose to me? (Someone told me they eat paper, which scares my large book collection and myself nearly to death).

What steps do you suggest I take with the university to make them deal with this problem? Is there a government agency I can call and complain to? They knew about this problem before the current batch of residents moved in, so they are basically highly negligent landlords.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Alright, so it looks like I may possibly have firebrats and not silverfish. So I’ll be sure to remove the stack of papers and books from the counter under my mirror since that is always where I see them. The come out of the cracks around the shelving/closets/mirror unit in my dorm room.

But I can’t buy any of those pesticides, and there is nowhere to move my clothing. So I’m still at a loss as to what to do about them.

Thanks for the link bare, but dammit, those pictures were creepy. shivers

You might check a hardware store to see if there are any kinds of traps that don’t involve spraying or distributing the poison. I think that some of the sticky-type traps used for roaches are also good for silverfish.

Sounds as though you are going to have to get used to sharing then. If you have baseboards in your room, you might try removing them and caulking around the entire room where they are entering/hiding. Any cheap caulk will do to seal the cracks. Your maintainance department may even do it for you. It does sound though that they like to infest books, so you will probably continue to have a problem and it may follow you to your next place unless you fumigate the room and contents. Good luck, I don’t envy you at all!

I live above the boiler room in an eighty-year old building, and we have silverfish galore in our place. You might want to try diatomaceous earth - it’s not a pesticide, but instead acts mechanically to rip the little bastards open when they crawl over it. I like to think they die a painful death afterwards, but I can’t be sure.

Looking on the bright side, they’re still better than cockroaches.

By the way, in re-reading the treatments, diatomacious earth and boric acid can apparantly be used and neither are pesticides. Both should be available at a health food store or your local pharmacy. Both are in powdered form and you just spread it near where they are coming out.

Hey, those pics don’t seem accurate at all. Unless I’ve been mistaken about silverfish my entire life. Don’t silverfish have like a million legs? The ones I see at my house before I smash em sure do.

You’re mistaken. Those are silverfish. I used to live in a place where they’d turn up in the bathtub, just like the article suggested. At least they don’t do you any harm - they do eat bookbindings, though. Among the most primitive insects on Earth.

You may be thinking of centipedes, millipedes, or pill bugs:

I think you guys are taking the wrong track here. The guy has a board contract with the university. They contracted to provide him with a habitable room. Major insect infestation is one of the reasons a room can be declared uninhabitable. If I had this problem, and the university had refused to help, I’d call the city or state health department and file a complaint. Have the room declared uninhabitable. The university will have to deal with the insect infestation or provide him with a different room.

I know many of the dorms on campus have silverfish/firebrat problems. Is there something we can demand the university do? Underclassmen are required to live on campus, so that means the school is requiring students to live in pest ridden housing (and charging us thousands of dollars to boot). Can they get in trouble for this? I’ve complained numerous times to housing and plant services. I always get the same run-around: “Oh we’ll send someone around this week.” Yet no one ever does come around to check out my problem.

Unfortunately bare, I can’t rip my room apart and caulk things. They don’t come out of the baseboards, they come out of the cracks in the wall by my wooden closet unit (too huge and attached to move since it pretty much makes up the whole wall).

Thanks again for the suggestions guys, but I can’t afford to buy anything, and even if I could, I don’t think I should have to. The school should pay for whatever needs fixing. But don’t give a rat’s ass about the students which is why I’m trying to figure out how to get the government involved to force them to fix this problem.

By the way Chas.E, I’m female.

Well…hope you can get some action, reality is though, it’s pretty tough to find any area of the country or any house that doesn’t have some sort of bug or two in it. Some areas its cockroaches (eww), here it is carpenter ants. Do what you can to get rid of them, otherwise learn to live with 'em. Maybe they’re trainable…you could have your own firebrat circus and charge for entry.

Some acquaintances of mine had a similar problem (not silverfish, but some kind of bugs) in their dorm, and when the housing administration wouldn’t take action, they called up the local TV news team. One of the stations had a reporter who basically checked out people’s complaints, whether it was potholes, bad storm drain, dangerous intersection, whatever, and tried to get the problems corrected. The possibility of some pretty bad local press seemed to help spur the school into action. If not the city/town press, what about a school paper?

Well I looked at the centipedes and stuff. The bugs I sometimes smash look more like silverfish/firebrats in that they have the antennae at the head and tail but they have the number of legs you would see on those centipedes. I think that’s really gross. I once killed one that was like an inch and half long. Legs everywhere.

There are many species of centipedes. If found in your house, it could, logically enough, be a “house centipede”. The critter has long antennae, and lots of long legs, and can be an inch and a half long:

oh GACK yack yuck! That sounds just like what soupchicken is talking about… hhherrrrggg…
I once had an “infestation” (felt like an infestation anyway) of Earwigs!! Ever seen them? They look just like the silverfish only with huge pinchers on their ass!! I couldn’t take them… gerrrhaack… nackitynackitynackity! shiver
walks away and acts like a man

If you have a roof with wood shake shingles, silverfish become endemic. I killed one a night until I declared all-out toxic war against them…by using just Raid Roach killer. I did not see a silverfish for about 5 months. They have started to return, so chemical death shall be unleashed again…soon…

Una, who loves the smell of Raid in the morning.

Well I tried calling the health department. Stupid state offices close at 4:30 though, and I called at 4:40. So no luck; however, what I gathered from the recorded messages I heard was that the health department does not have anything to do with bad landlording/bug infestations. So does anyone have a better idea of who I would get in touch with?

You didn’t say who specifically you called. The State health board? Local? This isn’t just any old landlord, the State may be the only one with authority to deal with the University. But call them and find out who they’d suggest you deal with. And remember the old rule about bureaucracies, “you have to get in by 9AM to get out by 5PM.”

House centipedes. Who would have thought. Well, this has been quite the learning experience.