How To Get Rid Of Silverfish
Nov 01, 2022
Silverfish running along a floorboard

Despite their nickname, silverfish aren’t fish at all! They’re actually small insects that are found throughout the United States. It can be alarming to find them in your home, and it’s not always easy to get rid of silverfish. We’ll go over all the basics to teach you more about these pests and what you can do to keep them out of your house!

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

These pests get their name from their distinctive blue-gray coloring and shiny scales. As they move, light reflects off their bodies and makes them look silver. They’re long and flat, growing to be ½ - ¾ of an inch in length, with a rounded head and pointed abdomen. Silverfish also have two front antennae, six legs, and three tail bristles.

Where Do Silverfish Live?

Silverfish live anywhere that’s dark and moist. Outside, they’re usually found under rocks, in tree bark, and in leaf litter. They can also take shelter under paver stones and around your foundation. If they find their way into your home, silverfish are drawn to the moisture in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Silverfish will eat almost anything! They prefer starches and protein-rich foods but will snack on anything they find while scavenging. This includes grains, vegetables, cereal, and pet food. Silverfish will also eat non-food items such as fabrics, paper, and glue. Snacking silverfish will leave behind dark stains and small holes in items.

Are Silverfish Harmful?

Silverfish are not harmful to people. While they might look creepy, silverfish won’t injure you and they don’t carry any diseases. You also don’t have to worry about your pets being around silverfish! They aren’t poisonous for cats or dogs to ingest, although it is possible that regularly eating silverfish can give your furry friends an upset stomach.

Do Silverfish Bite?

No, silverfish do not bite. They actually have very weak jaws, so they couldn’t pierce human skin even if they tried. They also don’t have a stinger, so you don’t have to be worried about getting hurt if you find a silverfish crawling on you.

Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

Silverfish are nocturnal pests that like to hide from people. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not you have an infestation. While the best way to confirm you have an infestation is with a professional inspection, here are some things to keep an eye out for:

  • Droppings: Feces from silverfish are small, round, and black. It resembles peppercorns and can easily be mistaken for general dust and debris.
  • Shed Skins: Silverfish molt, which means they leave behind shed skins as they grow. These skins look just like the actual bug, but they’re empty husks.
  • Yellow Stains: Silverfish leave behind secretions that cause yellow stains on paper, fabrics, and cardboard.
  • Damaged Belongings: Silverfish will eat through books, bindings, adhesives, wallpaper, and linens. This causes small holes in your belongings.

How To Get Rid of Silverfish Naturally

If your infestation isn’t too severe, at-home remedies can give you great results! They can also be used as preventative measures if you’re worried about developing a silverfish problem. Here are six easy solutions you can do yourself.

Ways to get rid of silverfish naturally include:

  • Diatomaceous Earth: This is a fine powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae. It kills insects by drying them out. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on carpets, furniture, and other dry surfaces. Make sure to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth and wear a mask and gloves when applying it.
  • Cedar Shavings: Most people like the smell of cedar but silverfish are repelled by it. Cedar shavings can be a little messy, so they’re best used in basements and outdoor areas. Clean up the old shavings and replace them weekly to keep the scent fresh.
  • Citrus: Orange and lemon peels repel insects like silverfish. Keep fruit peels in places you’ve seen silverfish or you can mix lemon juice and water, then spray the affected areas.
  • Cucumber Peels: Cucumber peels work similarly to citrus peels. Place them in the bathroom, basement, cabinets, and any other places you’ve seen silverfish. Replace them every few days to ensure the peels don’t start to rot.
  • Table Salt: Silverfish are drawn to salt, which will gradually kill them through dehydration. Sprinkle salt around baseboards, sinks, and other humid places.
  • Cloves: Cloves naturally contain eugenol, which is used in some insecticides. Place one clove in affected areas and the smell will repel silverfish and other insects.

Getting Rid of Silverfish Permanently

Store-bought options are also a great way to eliminate a few silverfish here and there.

  • Sticky Traps: Silverfish crawl onto the trap and get stuck, preventing them from crawling around your home. You can use them inside or outside, but keep them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Boric Acid: Boric acid is a poisonous mineral that eliminates silverfish after ingestion. You can make a diluted spray by combining boric acid and water. This can be used anywhere there are pests. Be cautious if you have kids or pets inside.
  • Granular Baits: Baits are designed to attract insects, so you don’t have to place them in infested areas. Instead, you can sprinkle granules in hard-to-reach places like inside the attic to lure silverfish away from your family.

Calling Professional Silverfish Exterminators

If you aren’t sure what treatments to buy, have a severe infestation, or just want professionals to handle things, don’t hesitate to call an exterminator! At Getem Services, we offer comprehensive pest control services in Hampton Roads, which include silverfish. Contact us today to learn more!

FAQ About Silverfish In Your Home

You’ve got questions about silverfish, we’ve got answers! We’re here to make sure you know everything about these common household pests so you know exactly what you’re up against.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are small, wingless insects with silvery bodies. They aren’t dangerous to humans or animals, but they can wreak havoc on your belongings. Silverfish are also incredibly old and have been around for over 400 million years, making them older than dinosaurs.

What Attracts Silverfish To Your House?

Silverfish are always looking for a good place to live and prefer environments that are warm and moist. Your home has plenty of these places, including bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Potential food sources like dirty dishes, cardboard boxes, and other dead insects also attract silverfish.

What Causes Silverfish In Your House?

Your house might seem impenetrable, but it actually has countless openings that insects can use as entry points. Silverfish can crawl inside using torn window screens, foundation cracks, unsealed utility lines, and gaps around doors.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Silverfish?

Silverfish have long lifespans and can live for 2-8 years. A female silverfish can lay 100 eggs in her life, and each of those eggs only takes three months to reach adulthood. Their rapid development and long lives make it easy for silverfish populations to get out of hand.

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