Silverfish: A Nocturnal Nightmare

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If you’re here reading this page, you’ve probably spotted one or more silverfish lurking in your pantry, closet, or another area in your home. Maybe you’ve caught them during their waking hours as they carry out their endless search for food, or maybe you’ve noticed their exoskeletons lying around and you’re beginning to worry about just how many may have infiltrated your home.

In any case, this is the article for you. Here’s what you need to know about these creepy and destructive pests.

On This Page (Click to Jump)

  1. What are Silverfish?
  2. Are Silverfish Harmful?
  3. What Do Silverfish Eat?
  4. How Can I Prevent a Silverfish Infestation?
  5. How to Get Rid of Silverfish

If you think you might have a silverfish infestation in your Brevard County home, the first step is to call for an inspection. Call Green Wing Lawn and Pest Services now at (321) 499-9114 or fill out our contact form.

What are Silverfish?


Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum) is a primitive, wingless, nocturnal species of insect in the order of Zygentoma that is characterized by a silvery color and wriggling, fish-like movements. They are quick and resilient, with an ability to regenerate lost antennae and filaments.

According to PestWorld, silverfish can survive for up to a week without food or water and can hide practically anywhere. Silverfish typically live for around three years or more, which gives them plenty of time to reproduce and wreak havoc on your home.

Are Silverfish Harmful?

Silverfish only come out at night, much like the monsters in your scariest nightmares. The good news is, unlike those monsters, silverfish are mostly harmless to people. But while they don’t bite or spread diseases, they can still do a great deal of damage to your home.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Wondering if a silverfish infestation is really a big deal? If you like your home and all of the items in it, it is! The silverfish's diet consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches, and there are plenty of digestible items in your home that they’d be happy to make a meal out of.

Silverfish damage and consume all types of things that you hold dear, including:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Carpet
  • Glue
  • Photos
  • Plaster
  • Paper
  • Wallpaper
  • Tapestries
  • And more

If they’re really in a pinch, silverfish will even eat their own molted exoskeletons, the corpses of insects, leftover crumbs, or synthetic or leather fabrics.

How Can I Prevent Silverfish Infestation?

Healthline recommends taking the following steps to prevent silverfish infestation:

  1. Keep your space dry. Purchase a dehumidifier, circulate air through rooms that are often damp like your bathroom, and store clothes in containers to prevent them from getting moist.

  2. Clean up food particles and dust. Make sure all of the containers in your pantry are sealed and vacuum regularly.

  3. Remove items like cardboard boxes and books that have exposed adhesives. These exposed adhesives are tasty treats for silverfish.

How To Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish infestations can get out of hand quickly and seriously impact your family’s quality of life. Without quick treatment, a silverfish problem will only cause more harm. You have two options: you can try to deal with the infestation yourself, or you can call a local pest control company.

DIY Home Remedies for Silverfish

There are a few do-it-yourself methods you may wish to try to deal with this nuisance pest. Because silverfish don’t reproduce as quickly as other types of insects, killing them outright is a pragmatic way to control an infestation. While there are poisons you can buy in stores that are useful for controlling silverfish, keep in mind that this may not be the safest solution if you have children or pets in your home.

Some DIY methods of controlling silverfish include:

  • Homemade silverfish traps. There are many methods out there, but one of the easiest things to do is dampen a newspaper, roll it up, and place it in an area where you know silverfish congregate. Since they like to eat paper and will appreciate the dark, secure area of shelter, they’ll gather inside the newspaper. During the day when they are inactive, throw the newspaper into a bag (quickly - they’re fast!), seal it, and take it outside to throw in your dumpster. You may also make an effective trap by placing a starchy substance (such as a piece of bread) into a high-walled glass jar and placing masking tape around the mouth of the jar. Once the insects fall into the jar, they won’t be able to get back out.

  • Store-bought silverfish traps. There are a number of commercially available silverfish traps you can use that contain boric acid or some other active ingredient. Again, be sure to exercise caution if you have children or pets in your home, because these traps do contain poisons.

  • Try natural silverfish repellants. Uneasy about using poison to kill silverfish? You may wish to try essential oils and other natural repellants that silverfish can’t stand. Try citrus oil, cedar oil, lavender oil, or bay leaves in conjunction with your homemade traps. The overwhelming odor should be enough to repel silverfish away from major food sources and towards one of your traps.

  • Make any needed home repairs. Silverfish can enter your home through very tiny cracks, so make sure that you seal up any possible entry points. Silverfish need moisture to survive, so if you have any leaking pipes or faucets, make sure to repair those as well. Purchase a dehumidifier if you need help keeping indoor humidity levels under control.

Professional Pest Control for Silverfish

DIY pest control can be tricky and doesn’t always work. When all else fails, or if you’re just not interested in dealing with the trial and error, time commitment, and frustration of trying to get rid of silverfish yourself, a professional pest control company can provide you with an effective solution. Luckily, these pests can be controlled starting with the first visit, and kept at bay with a follow-up schedule for your home or business. 

We hope you’ve found this information helpful!

Your bug guy,

Jeff Daniels

Green Wing Lawn and Pest Services

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