Silverfish: Facts, Identification & Control


White to brown-grey or bluish-silver in color, silverfish are teardrop-shaped insects that measure up to one inch in length.

Three long bristles on rear.
Grow from egg to adult without visible change in appearance.


Capable of thriving in most climates, silverfish prefer to dwell in dark, damp areas such as basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms.
They are especially attracted to paper and damp clothing.
Commonly found in stored boxes in garages and sheds.


Silverfish feed on carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches.
Cellulose, shampoos, glue in books, linen, silk and dead insects may be food sources.
Some experts classify silverfish as most destructive pest of stored food.
Have been found in un-opened food packages.


Silverfish undergo love dances prior to mating.
Males lay spermatophores, which are taken into the ovipositor of female specimens.
Females lay clusters of up to 50 eggs.


Centipedes, earwigs and spiders are known to feed on Silverfish.

Silverfish Prevention & Control in the Home:

Silverfish are nocturnal and move very quickly.
They try not to be seen by humans and the severity of an infestation may go unnoticed for long periods of time, allowing for exponential growth.
Silverfish also reproduce quickly.
Silverfish are known for their destructive feeding habits, oftentimes ruining papers, clothing and wallpaper.
They commonly infest dark, damp areas around paper and linen sources.
Silverfish infestations can be found in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, attics and basements.
Silverfish can survive in almost any environment, but they prefer areas with high humidity.
Nymphs develop faster in areas that are humid.
Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent an infestation is to control humidity.
In crawlspaces, open vents and in basements, use baseboards with caulking.
Silverfish consume a variety of foods and stringent housekeeping practices may prevent an infestation by removing potential feeding sites.
However, if your home already hosts a silverfish population, professional extermination services are necessary.
Traps and insecticides sold in stores will only kill individual insects and cannot address an entire infestation.
Cinnamon may repel silverfish from certain areas, but does not kill the insects or their eggs.