Do Silverfish Eat Wood

We found some silverfish around a pile of wood in our house and we wanted to know if silverfish eat wood. So we did some research and here is what we found out.

So, do silverfish eat wood? While silverfish may be found in and around items made of wood in your home they don’t actually eat or chew on wood. These insects feed on the carbohydrates, starches and protein-based products in your house. So things like paper, crumbs of food, dandruff, and hair.

Despite this, they can do a lot of damage to your home and possessions if not understood properly. They eat a lot of things in your home that you may really care about and can be found in lots of places in your home. So below we have outlined some more information on what they eat and what damage they can do.

What Do Silverfish Eat if They Don’t Eat Wood?

Silverfish feed on lots of different products and materials in your home and often get into your house by hitching a lift on or in something or by crawling through cracks and crevices in search of food.

Silverfish diets are fairly simple and they eat protein-based items, carbohydrates, starches, and sugars. They will only feed on materials that have been applied to wood that consist of these elements. You can rest assured that they are not looking for the wood in your house.

A Silverfish diet will generally consist of paper-based items, glue, clothing and food items, such as flour, dried fruits, dried vegetables, and oats. They prefer proteins to carbohydrates as proteins are the main source of their growth and in famine type situations can be cannibalistic.

Can Silverfish Damage Wood

As we have already discussed, Silverfish don’t consume wood as a source of food but they can be attracted to it for a number of reasons.

So, yes Silverfish can damage wood but just cosmetically. As they are attracted to wood as it can create a habitat that is a good hiding spot from any prey or they may be using it as a home to live in, especially rotten or damp wood as it creates a nice and humid environment for them to thrive in.

Silverfish will also lay their eggs in holes in wood if the environment is right. So while they may look like they are eating it as they may be in and around holes in wood – they are just using it as a safe place to shelter and grow their offspring.

That being said, the damage they can do to wood is mainly cosmetic and can contribute to the overall waring down of anything made of wood by depositing droppings, scales, and yellow stains as they crawl around and in any wood-based product

Silverfish can also enter your residence by way of cracks and unseen holes in your roof. They can be especially attracted by mold and wood rot that result from a leaky and damp roof.

How Can You Get Rid of Silverfish in Wood?

Silverfish are a relatively easy insect to control if you spot the signs of them. Here are some ways to minimize the presence of silverfish in your home.

  • Keep control of the humidity in your home if it is humid. You can use dehumidifiers, to control this in areas or rooms that you think are most susceptible to silverfish.
  • Keep your house ventilated as much as you can to reduce damp and humid conditions as much as possible
  • Make sure you have vents and fans installed and infrequent use in your bathroom, basement, and kitchen.
  • Keep your house and especially your bathroom clean silverfish thrive in dusty environments where there are a lot of dandruff, dead skin and crumbs for them to feed on.
  • Set up silverfish traps to trap and keep an eye on any silverfish population growth in your home
  • Use sprays and insecticides if you spot a silverfish infestation

If you know you have silverfish in your home, there are lots of DIY Silverfish control methods like using traps and spray. Alternatively, consult a pest control professional, who will be able to assess your home for problem areas and suggest the best methods for getting rid of silverfish.

Check out our complete guide here on how to get rid of silverfish in your home for more tips and suggestions.

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

As you probably already realized, despite their name, silverfish are actually insects and aren’t fish.

So, what do Silverfish look like? Silverfish are shaped like a flattened oval and taper from one end, just like a carrot. Adult silverfish range from 13–25 mm long (0.5–1.0 inches) and have six legs. They also have two long antennae at the top of their head and three bristles at the bottom.

Young Silverfish, look like smaller versions of adult silverfish but are white in color and range from 1–6 mm long (0.02–0.3 inches).

Silverfish are nocturnal creatures and prefer warm areas with high humidity, so they can be hard to find and are often located in dark and humid places like bathrooms, attics, basements, and kitchen cupboards.

What Insects Eat wood?

So if it isn’t silverfish that is eating the wood in your house, what may it be? There are several types of insects and a wide variety of species that actively eat and feed on wood.

Some of these wood-eating insects can pose major problems to your possessions and property.

So here are a few insects to look out for if you think it isn’t the Silverfish eating your wood in your home and it may be something else:

  • Termites: Termites are among the most well-known of the wood-eating insects and when they come into contact with wooden buildings or wood in buildings, they can cause a lot of damage, and even weaken the supports of a house.
  • Wood-Boring Beetles: While termites eat decaying or refined wood products, wood-boring beetles eat living trees as well as timber. However, this does not prevent them from boring into and damaging buildings. It is the larval form of the beetle that bores into and eats wood. They spend most of their larval life cycle chewing small tunnels through wood, only lasting long enough as adult beetles to mate and lay eggs.
  • Horntail Wasps: Horntail wasps larva may lie dormant in the wood long enough for it to be made into lumber, causing minor damage when they emerge as adults. Just like beetles, they eat wood as larvae and this is where they do most of their damage.

Related Questions

How long Do Silverfish Live For? Silverfish can live from anywhere from 3-8 years as long as the conditions remain favorable. They love humid rooms, dark spaces, and homes with an abundance of food sources. Silverfish eggs can lay dormant for a number of months until there are favorable conditions for them to grow.

Are Silverfish Dangerous? Silverfish are not considered to be dangerous and are not known to hurt or bite humans or pets. They are not known to carry diseases but If they go unnoticed for a long period of time, they can cause mass destruction to your home, dried food, and possessions.

Do Silverfish bite? Silverfish will not bite you. They may cause rashes or itchy areas on your skin if you come in to contact with them but generally, they will try to hide from you than come near you when you come into contact with them.

Check out some of our other articles

Do Silverfish Eat Clothes?

Do Silverfish Eat Paper and Books?

Do Silverfish Eat Money?


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