2024 May 23 Thu

Protecting Your Photographs and Other Things

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In homes across America where it rains and has humidity, there lives a pest whose infestation is nearly impossible to get rid of. You may rarely see them, since they thrive in dark places, but if you pull out your old pictures one day and there are holes in them, or the top layer has been chewed off, then you have a problem. They’re not roaches. They’re silverfish.

These evil little, nickel-sized buggers lives in damp areas where humidity is higher than normal. A leak under your drain that drips onto wood would make a perfect home for them. They especially love to feast on books. In particular, old books. For someone like myself who has books which are more than 100 years old, this is horrifying to think about. One day you open the book and discover the words have been eaten right off the page.

It’s not just the old books they love. There are maps, old photos, anything made out of paper or wood really, are all food sources.

You know that old, old picture of great-great-great grandmother? Bon appétit!

Keeping your photos in boxes won’t protect them either. The silverfish will eat through the cardboard. Your photos should be store in an air-tight plastic container with a couple of those moisture absorbing silica gel packs. (Hint: Don’t throw them away when you get one in a package! Keep it!)

As if that isn’t scary enough, they can live for several years and reproducing in high volumes.

Thankfully, there is hope.

One solution to combat the silverfish infestation directly is to get a bag of diatomaceous earth, more commonly known as “d-earth”.  It’s completely safe to humans. It’s not an insecticide, so there is nothing poison about it. if you buy a bag with “food grade” stamped on it, you can even eat the stuff.

It’s 100% natural and organic.

If you don’t know what it is, they’re microscopic shells. That’s the shortest description of what they are that I can give you. They kill every kind of insect imaginable, including bed bugs. So don’t go wasting hundreds of dollars on poisons that don’t work. This stuff is amazing and has all kinds of uses.

The microscopic shells slip in between the plates of the insect’s exoskeleton and  kills them. Never mind the graphic details, just be confident that where ever you put the d-earth, it will kill any insect that walks through it.

There is another option, if you like all natural ways. Completely organic. Guaranteed you won’t do it.

A house centipede is an insectivore and natural predator to silverfish. When the silverfish population has been eradicated, the house centipede will die off from lack of food. But if you’re not interested in turning lose a mob of centipedes in your home, which are harmless to humans, then I recommend getting a bag of d-earth and packing away your old paper things in plastic, after you’ve carefully inspected them of course.

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Editor-in-Chief for The Daily Journal

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