How To Get Rid of Silverfish (The Complete Removal Guide)

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how to get rid of silverfish

How To Get Rid of Silverfish (The Complete Removal Guide)

Looking to get rid of Silverfish, well you came to the right place!

In this guide on how to get rid of silverfish, you’ll learn:

  • How to prevent silverfish in the first place
  • How to identify clothes silverfish
  • The do’s and don’ts of silverfish removal (not to be skipped)
  • And some frequently asked silverfish removal questions

If you’re wondering, What are silverfish and should I care, well then you’ve been lucky enough not to have them in your home, destroying your books, photo albums, important documents or contaminating your dry food supply.

Silverfish can be slow to multiply but they are also hard to deal with and can cause quite a bit of damage in the meantime. They should not be taken lightly if you see them around your home.

From natural remedies to silverfish sprays, to hiring an exterminator or even good house hygiene, there are many ways to prevent and remove them, but what actually works?

In this guide, we’ll be covering silverfish identification, prevention, how to prevent them and then finally how to get rid of them.

There is lots of information to cover, so here is a quick table of contents to jump to what is most relevant.

What's in this guide
Can Silverfish Be Beaten?How To Prevent Silverfish
What do silverfish look like?How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish
What are the Signs of a Silverfish InfestationThe Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish Removal
What causes silverfishFrequently Asked Questions About Silverfish
Where do you find silverfishConclusion & Final Thoughts on Silverfish

Can Silverfish be beaten?

To introduce this guide, I wanted to write some information on the question we get asked the most and provide some comfort in the fact that yes these silverfish can be beaten.

Knowing there are silverfish in your home, laying eggs and damaging your home can cause anxiety, sleepless nights and stress.

Silverfish are very slow breeders but live longer than you may think. An average silverfish can live for up to 8 years and in that period lay up to 100 eggs.

So it’s important you understand how they can be beaten in this guide below.

Four of the Biggest Reasons For Silverfish Infestations are

  • Lack of preventive measures in your home
  • Bad advice on the internet
  • Incomplete DIY extermination practices
  • Incompetent exterminators

Despite the difficulty to remove silverfish yourself, there are proven ways to remove silverfish infestations without an exterminator.

At certain infestation levels, you will need to call a professional, and we’ll cover later in this guide when you should think about calling one before it is too late.

Read the guide below on how to get rid of silverfish.

What do silverfish look like?

So, what are silverfish and what do they look like? Silverfish are some of the oldest living insects on the planet. Evolutionary they appeared before insects developed wings and are therefore considered primitive insects. They look very much like something you would expect to see in prehistoric times.

Silverfish are small wingless insects and are silvery or gunmetal colored in complexion and have two noticeably long threadlike antennas.

Adult silverfish are about 12-19 mm long (not including their tail) and have a flat and oval body shape and are often compared to shapes like a teardrop or carrot. They taper from its head to tail and are covered with scales.

At the tail end of their abdomen, silverfish have three tail-like limbs that resemble their two antennae. They move in a wiggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish.

Silverfish are generally nocturnal insects and feed on a diet that consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

In our homes, their regular diets consist of books, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating if water is available.

Silverfish breed and mature slowly relative to other insects and also live longer than most insect species. A silverfish will generally live for up to 8 years and in that period a female will lay around 100 eggs and deposit them in groups of 1-4 eggs at a time.

An egg will take between 2 weeks and 2 months to grow. Unlike most insects, silverfish don’t change appearance or characteristics throughout their lives they only grown in size and they have a gradual growth through molting.

The time they spend at each stage of their growth cycle depends on temperature and access to nutrition, but it is assumed that they may develop to adults within 18 months in the right conditions.

Younger silverfish look similar to adults, but are whiteish in color are noticeably smaller in size (about 1-6mm) and lack the noticeable appearance of scales until they reach their adult stage.

The table below compares what both an adult and young silverfish look like.

Adult SilverfishYoung SilverfishSilverfish Eggs

Size:

10-18 mm long

Adult Appearance:

  • Silver to brown in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 3-8 year lifespan at this stage

Size:

1-6 mm long

Immature Appearance:

  • White in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 18-months - 3 years at this stage

Size:

1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide

Immature Appearance:

  • Oval in appearance
  • Smooth surface,
  • cream colored to yellow-brown

Lifespan:

  • hatches in about 2 months

What are the signs of a silverfish infestation

The signs of a silverfish infestation can be pretty clear once you know what to look out for, signs of silverfish in your home can include:

  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)

However, it is important to understand these signs in a bit more detail as it will help you identify the severity of the infestation that you are dealing with to help you take the correct preventive measures.

Below we outline the different signs of a silverfish infestation to help you identify an infestation.

Signs of a Silverfish infestation
  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)
  • Silverfish eggs

Seeing silverfish: You are most likely to see silverfish inside books or on your bookshelves as well as around any other paper-based items. They also like bathrooms as they thrive in this type of dark and humid environment and feed on dead hair and dandruff so check your hairbrush too.

Silverfish damage to your home or possessions: As silverfish feed mostly on paper-based products such as photos, documents, wallpaper and books identifying their bite marks on paper is a sure sign of their presence. This will look like scattered wholes on paper or etches as if something has scrapped it with a knife.

Silverfish feces: an unpleasant yet common sign of a silverfish infestation is the presence of their feces or droppings. This will most likely be located in the area of infestation like in a bathroom or in your books. Keep an eye out for deposits like this as an example.

Silverfish scales and stains: Silverfish don’t change appearance too much after hatching like most other insects. They just grow slowly in size as they grow into their adult form. During this process, they shed their scales leaving it behind and signs of this can be seen as pale scales as well as yellow stains, on the surfaces or on shelves.

Silverfish eggs: Silverfish eggs are found separately or in groups of up to ten at a time. They are oval in shape with a smooth surface and cream-colored to yellow-brown. The size ranges from 1.15 mm long and 0.83 mm wide and signs of eggs are usually found in cracks and crevices where there is little light.

What damage can silverfish do?

The damage that silverfish can do to your home is limited in comparison to other insects you may find in your home. Silverfish will damage items as they feed on them in order to help them grow and reproduce.

Items to keep an eye on in your home that silverfish will damage are:

  • Items made with plant-based products like books, cotton, cereals or dried fruits
  • Upholstered items that are made up of plant-based products like cloth and textiles,
  • Items made from hair, or items that contain either animal hair, human hair, and pet hair.

What do silverfish eat?
Silverfish thrive on a diet based on starch, carbohydrates, and protein. They require protein to grow and are unable to fully develop without it.

You can find them snacking on anything from paper, grain or sugar, but even minor leftovers such as fat, breadcrumbs, cereals, and seeds.

Silverfish may move long distances to find food, but if a good source is encountered they tend to remain in the vicinity of it. They have also been known to be cannibals if food sources are scarce. They can also last long periods without food.

For more information on what silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on what silverfish eat.

Do silverfish eat clothes?.

While not being a staple of their diet Silverfish will eat clothes in some instances. They will feed on cloth-based material that is made from organic materials and is attracted to clothing that is stained from sugary substances.

Items of clothing stored in closets or other dark storage areas with moderately warm temperatures and high humidity are most susceptible to silverfish damage.

When silverfish eat clothes, they demonstrate a preference for garments made of Cotton, Linen, Silk, and Leather.

Because their mouthparts are only capable of taking small bites and scraping edible material from various surfaces, silverfish create holes in clothes and yellowish stains that typically make up the majority of the damage left behind.

For more information on what clothes silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on do silverfish eat clothes and how to Stop them from doing so.

Where to check for silverfish damage

Silverfish require warm temperatures and high humidity and no light to thrive. So they prefer to remain hidden most of the time. They tend to live, lay eggs and hide in small cracks and crevices in rooms and furniture. As for the rooms where you might find them, that all depends on whether the environment is right like the temperature, humidity, and food sources.

Also check the walls and shelves in your basement, laundry room, garage, and storage areas. The kitchen can also offer a lot of hiding places with cupboards, bookcases, closet shelves, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to check the window and door frames as well.

That’s for the silverfish in houses but there are also outdoor places where they can live and hide – under rocks and tree bark, leaf mold or other insect’s ants’, and birds’ nests.

If you’re worried about any damage that silverfish may have done, check very closely where you may store your books or in your bathrooms. Here are a few suggestions on where to check for damage:

  • Check your bookshelves and documents: Grab a magnifying glass and look in hidden areas on your bookshelves and within books, Make sure to look in other areas where paper-based documents might be located especially when these items are stored in a moist room of the house. If you have a home office, you may want to store your important documents in hard plastic sleeves or plastic containers.
  • Check your bathrooms: Bathroom hiding spots such as around the bathtub, the plumbing or below the sink. Scan the bathroom floor and surfaces. Have a look around where your toothpaste may be as this is an ideal food source.
  • Check your wardrobes and closets: Silverfish also like to eat natural fabrics like silk, linen, and cotton. They love the glues used in synthetic fibers and starches used to press clothing, this is a great source of carbohydrates for them. If you’re seeing silverfish in wardrobes, closets or drawers, you should definitely move your clothes to a safer location.

Now you have seen some damage from silverfish in your home planning to prevent silverfish in your house is the key to helping your house remain silverfish free and to ensure any future silverfish infestations.

How to prevent Silverfish?

To help prevent silverfish Infestations it is important to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself from ever having to manage one.

These steps include, maintaining an environment in your home that deters silverfish, storing your possessions and clothes properly, establishing a regular inspection routine and understanding the early signs of a silverfish infestation.

Taking a few key steps like these prevent silverfish from ever coming into your life can potentially save you thousands of dollars of damage to your possessions, stop any destruction of prized items of clothing or books and significant emotional stress.

Adult SilverfishYoung Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • avoid buying second-hand clothes and furniture
  • Ensure your home has low humidity
  • Use silverfish traps in your bathroom
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean your clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in an airtight way
  • Cover unused and stored fabric-based products in plastic
  • ignore inspecting your clothes for signs of silverfish damage
  • Ignore using your vacuum
  • Wash clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in unsealed bags
  • Leave unused furniture uncovered
  • Ignore damp problems that may occur in rooms with furniture and clothes
  • Forget to inspect your possessions when you see silverfish in your house

Below are our top tips on how to prevent silverfish from entering and damaging your home.

1. Create an environment that deters silverfish

Creating an environment inside your house that can deter silverfish is a good idea for reducing your chances of them thriving inside your home. Environments that deter silverfish are low levels of humidity and no openings in walls or windows.

Silverfish thrive in specific conditions so it is important to ensure your home isn’t a perfect environment for them to make your house their home.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring you create an environment that prevents silverfish in your home:

  • Humidity Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish prefer rooms with high humidity and can be found in bathrooms, rooms with ongoing moisture damage or in environments with prevailing high relative humidity. Keep rooms in your house below 55 % air humidity as they thrive on conditions above this.
  • Temperate Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish thrive in temperatures from 20 °C to 26 °C. Temperatures below 20 °C will delay any future growth of eggs or adults. So make sure to keep temperatures low in rooms where you have found silverfish

2. Clean your house regularly

Regularly cleaning your home and maintaining a clean environment will result in less, dirt, food crumbs, hairs and dandruff for silverfish to feed on. Frequent cleaning will also act as a natural silverfish repellent and will even reduce any new eggs that may have been laid at the early stages of an infestation.

It’s important to make sure that you’re cleaning all the cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind any items and in cupboards, and drawers.

Make sure to keep a big focus on cleaning your bathroom, laundry room and kitchen as these are perfect habitats for silverfish to thrive in as they have perfect environments and abundant food sources.

It’s not just the bathroom that should be kept in focus. Places where you may store old boxes, stacks of papers, books, and magazines give silverfish an ample food source.

So keep these items on a bookshelf where you can dust and clean them regularly and not just in pile on the floor or locked away in an attic.

3. Get your house in order

Keeping your house clean is half the battle with silverfish. Another key preventative measure is to reduce any chance silverfish can get into your home.

This is especially important if you live in a house with a garden or a nearby park as silverfish can travel long distances in search of a stable food source.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring your house remains in good shape to prevent silverfish:

  • Caulk all crevices, cracks and small holes in your home and garage to keep them from using them as an entrance-way.
  • Wrap or insulate the pipes and conduits that lead into your home. Seal all holes and other spaces that silverfish might use to get inside your home.
  • Replace broken floorboards and baseboards, as well as damaged shelves.
  • Check for damp in your home and increased humidity if you find any damp as silverfish thrive in humid environments. Using a dehumidifier is a great way to achieve this goal,
  • Fix or change the window and door frames in your home if there are cracks and holes in the windows, doors or frames. Silverfish can fit through these small spaces.
  • Check and clean any open chimneys and ensure they are cleaned every couple of years as silverfish can thrive in animal nests that may be in your chimney.
  • check for any animal nests or other animal infestations in your home, especially your attic or basement to reduce any environment favorable to silverfish in places like attics or basements.

4. Establish a regular inspection programme

Establish a regular inspection program of all susceptible rooms at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove any particles that silverfish may feed on.

Check for silverfish in crevices and notches in baseboards and shelves or drawers where any paper-based items are kept.

How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

The best tools for removing silverfish at different stages of their lifecycle
Adult SilverfishSilverfish Eggs
  • Silverfish Traps
  • Silverfish Insecticides
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Silverfish Insecticides

Using Silverfish Traps to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of silverfish is to use silverfish traps.

Traps are one of the most budget-friendly solutions to getting rid of these pesky insects and serve two great purposes.

One as a monitoring tool to watch for signs of an early silverfish infestation and the second purpose is to actually catch them and stop them from growing in numbers in your home.

It’s important to note that traps won’t exterminate all silverfish that may have found their way into your home as it won’t trap any eggs that they have laid. As silverfish traps are designed to trap these insects once they crawl inside of them.

However, combined with other silverfish control methods or extermination products, traps can have a good effect on getting rid of a silverfish infestation.

So where is the best place to put silverfish traps? Traps are best placed in bathrooms, bookshelves, your pantry closet, wardrobe, and even your attic or basement as silverfish can be located anywhere at any time.

When to use Silverfish traps

  • When you see the first signs of silverfish.
  • All the time, to ensure you catch silverfish when they enter your home for the first time.

The advantages of using silverfish traps:

  • Enables you to detect the presence of silverfish
  • provides some control because trapped silverfish can’t mate.
  • Silverfish traps are organic and toxin-free money saving devices that are effective for getting rid of these insects.

The disadvantages of using silverfish traps:

  • They do not attract or silverfish eggs
  • There are a wide variety and pros and cons to certain brands

When buying a silverfish traps it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish traps available here.

Using Silverfish insecticide Sprays to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways to remove silverfish and silverfish eggs is to use silverfish insecticide sprays.

The main benefit of aerosols or liquid sprays is that they can be reliably applied over a lot of surface area and stick to the surfaces they are applied to.

However, not every insecticide spray is fit for all silverfish eradication purposes, which is why you should no which spray is best for your specific situation.

Above all else, the main factors in choosing to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish are that they need to be effective and safe at the same time.

When to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish

  • When you have a silverfish infestation

The advantages of using insecticides to get rid of silverfish:

  • Enables you to remove silverfish on a larger scale

The disadvantages of using silverfish sprays

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • Some contain an oil base so may stain your fabrics

The right silverfish spray and application will depend on a number of factors like:

  1. The severity of the infestation and the size of the area that needs dealing with
  2. Whether there are documents, books carpets, fabricated household items or clothes that are infested
  3. How toxic or harmful the spray may be to your family or pets

To ensure you purchase the right insecticide for your infestation it is best to review the following:

  • Size and volume of the spray: The severity and coverage of a Silverfish infestation should determine the amount of volume you need in a silverfish spray.Smaller sprays are usually sufficient for small homes and bathrooms, while for an infestation in a warehouse, larger volume sprays are often required.
  • Application type: Another factor to consider is the application type of the spray (e.g. wide, narrow, fogger) some are suitable for widespread use in rooms (foggers) over large areas (wide) on fabrics or carpets (narrow).To choose the best application type you’ll need to first figure out exactly where and how you’ll want to spray against silverfish.
  • Type of insecticides found in silverfish sprays: Most aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain Pyrethrin, which is a pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. This insecticide works by shutting down the nervous system of the insects that walk on it.Pyrethrin is a relatively low toxicity substance when animals and humans come into contact with it but will cause irritation when coming into contact with skin. It is not advisable to inhale or consume large quantities of Pyrethrin. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of the reach of children.Some aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain pyrethroids. As various Public Health departments point out, Pyrethroids such as Deltamethrin, are the synthetic man-made alternative to nature-derived Pyrethrin.There are over 1,000 different Pyrethroids that have been synthesized by people but only a few are approved for domestic use in most countries. They work in the same way Pyrethrin does by attacking the nervous system of the insects. They are of a similar low toxicity level like the natural Pyrethrin and when inhaled or ingested they cause similar side effects. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of reach of children.

When buying insecticide sprays to get rid of silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review the best options properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish sprays available here.

Exercising safety when using insecticides and Silverfish sprays

When using silverfish sprays you need to be safe. It’s best to get your family and pets away from the treated area.

It’s also advisable to use protection during application – goggles, gloves, a coat, a mask are important tools to use to keep yourself safe.

Once you’re done with spraying, it’s also strongly recommended to keep silverfish insecticides out of the reach of kids and pets. For everyone’s safety, you should always keep such storage spaces securely locked.

Using Insect Powder to get rid of Silverfish

Sometimes it can be hard to reach certain areas in your home where you think silverfish and their eggs may be. These areas are typically well protected from liquid treatments and aerosols don’t do a good enough job penetrating either.

Insect dust and powders are intended for use in hard-to-reach places and for a long-term effect and generally meant to be applied behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, between pipes and the walls where it will settle and remain there unlike sprays that will dry up.

That is why using insect exterminating powders to cover areas may be a good option for long term control of well hidden or protected areas.

They can contain a wide variety of poisonous toxins like Diatomaceous earth, Boric acid, silica, and Pyrethrin based powders and can come in a canister or a tube and should be applied under carpets, behind baseboards, under low furniture, etc. Once applied, they are to be spread into place with something like a paintbrush.

When to use insect Powder

  • When you have found signs of silverfish eggs in hard to reach areas

The advantages of using insect powder:

  • Enables you to prevent infestation and development of hidden eggs over a longer period
  • Provides longer term control of eggs and infestations

The disadvantages of using insect powder

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • The application method is not as easy as sprays
  • The dust is expected to be left for a long time so better used in areas that are not really used or frequented

When buying insect powders to exterminate silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types available. Check out our guide on the best silverfish available here.

How to get rid of silverfish naturally

If using insecticides or traps is not suitable for your specific silverfish infestation or your living conditions there are numerous organic and natural ways to try and repel silverfish naturally.

Generally, these natural repellents are effectively short term solutions but over the long term, they are not as consistent or effective in getting rid of silverfish as insecticides and traps are.

  • Using Cinnamon to get rid of silverfish: Cinnamon is a popular method to repel silverfish, as they don’t like the scent. To use cinnamon to get rid of silverfish place cinnamon sticks where silverfish are most likely located.
  • Using Lavender oil to get rid of silverfish: Lavender also can be as effective. You can use it as a spray. To do this mix together some lavender oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray in the location you’ve seen silverfish.
  • Using Mothballs to get rid of silverfish: Mothballs are another effective method of repelling silverfish and overall pest control. Place mothballs wherever they have been seen around your wardrobes and clothes. Just note though that it won’t stop them from going to other locations where mothballs aren’t.

5. Hiring an exterminator to get rid of Silverfish

When you can’t eradicate your silverfish infestation by yourself and you think it’s time to call an exterminator to help with your problem before you pick up the phone and call you should ensure you know the right questions to ask that will help you evaluate if the exterminator is a competent professional.

It’s too easy to just call the first exterminator you see on google and settle on them because you are so caught up in the problem you are trying to solve you can fail to ask the right qualifying questions to properly evaluate them.

Sometimes that works out great but often you’ll end up with an exterminator that may not be qualified to tackle your problem or fully insured. If this happens, you’ll only increase the stress you may have to deal with and end up paying for another exterminator after their failed attempt.

To avoid potential issues here are the must-ask questions when hiring an exterminator for your silverfish problem.

Are they licensed? You can validate the answer they will give you through your State or countries Department information websites. Search on the website or give the department a call to check if they are licensed correctly.

Do they have references from past clients? Consider also validating their references through research (Google, trust advisor or LinkedIn) to make sure they are as good as they say.

Do they have a guarantee? Silverfish infestations can be hard to get rid of at certain infestation levels. A reputable company will give a guarantee of their service as part of the contract.

Do they have liability insurance? If the answer is no to this question, don’t bother with this company.

How long do treatments last? Thorough silverfish infestation treatments should last up to 2 hours depending on the size of the job involved and should have a repeat visit as part of the service to ensure they have completed the necessary extermination.

How many treatments are included in the service and price offered? To compare levels of service and price, it is advisable to ask how many treatments are included in the quote offered

Do their silverfish extermination treatments consist of only insecticides? Silverfish and eggs in some situations can be more resilient against insecticides than we may think, thus exterminators should be aware of alternative methods (e.g., steam treatments, encasements, and traps).

Does the treatment cover the entire house? Silverfish infestations will definitely centralize near the site of the initial infestation, but if you have been dealing with an infestation for some time, then this may have spread to other parts of your house without you knowing. It is important to check what is offered at the price and if it involves a full inspection of the house before and after the treatment.

What is their inspection, application and extermination process? A reputable exterminator would never apply extermination treatments to an area they haven’t thoughtfully inspected. It is very important to understand the process of inspection, application, and extermination when comparing exterminators to ensure you choose the right one for the job.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish removal

This section of the guide is to outline the right things to get rid of silverfish and avoid some costly mistakes and avoid an infestation.

Whether you’ve got the first signs of an infestation, or you’re in the middle of DIY extermination, here are some important do’s and don’ts to ensure you are successful in getting rid of silverfish.

The Do’s & Don'ts of getting rid of Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides
  • Wash clothes that were in a room where you found silverfish on a High Heat
  • Throw away damaged books and documents
  • Clean your home thoroughly
  • Vet And Qualify Potential Exterminators
  • Don’t use natural remedies for a long term extermination
  • Try To Handle Recurring Infestation On Your Own
  • Release Insecticides Into Your House without doing your research first

The Do’s of getting rid of silverfish

Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides: Silverfish traps are a key tool to help you capture and identify the level of infestation you have, what you should be looking out for and how to manage the situation. Click here for our recommended Silverfish traps.

Wash clothes and fabrics on high heat that were in the same location as your silverfish infestation: Using your washer and dryer to remove silverfish that may have laid eggs or fed on your clothes and fabrics to ensure they are not hidden in piles of clothes or laundry.

Throw away damaged books and documents: If you have precious books or documents that have signs of silverfish damage, check them for eggs and silverfish. If the books or documents aren’t damaged beyond repair or readable then clean them and store them in an isolated area to check for a resurgence of silverfish before putting them back in storage. If they are unusable, throw them away.

How To Get Rid of Silverfish (The Complete Removal Guide)

Looking to get rid of Silverfish, well you came to the right place!

In this guide on how to get rid of silverfish, you’ll learn:

  • How to prevent silverfish in the first place
  • How to identify clothes silverfish
  • The do’s and don’ts of silverfish removal (not to be skipped)
  • And some frequently asked silverfish removal questions

If you’re wondering, What are silverfish and should I care, well then you’ve been lucky enough not to have them in your home, destroying your books, photo albums, important documents or contaminating your dry food supply.

Silverfish can be slow to multiply but they are also hard to deal with and can cause quite a bit of damage in the meantime. They should not be taken lightly if you see them around your home.

From natural remedies to silverfish sprays, to hiring an exterminator or even good house hygiene, there are many ways to prevent and remove them, but what actually works?

In this guide, we’ll be covering silverfish identification, prevention, how to prevent them and then finally how to get rid of them.

There is lots of information to cover, so here is a quick table of contents to jump to what is most relevant.

What's in this guide
Can Silverfish Be Beaten?How To Prevent Silverfish
What do silverfish look like?How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish
What are the Signs of a Silverfish InfestationThe Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish Removal
What causes silverfishFrequently Asked Questions About Silverfish
Where do you find silverfishConclusion & Final Thoughts on Silverfish

Can Silverfish be beaten?

To introduce this guide, I wanted to write some information on the question we get asked the most and provide some comfort in the fact that yes these silverfish can be beaten.

Knowing there are silverfish in your home, laying eggs and damaging your home can cause anxiety, sleepless nights and stress.

Silverfish are very slow breeders but live longer than you may think. An average silverfish can live for up to 8 years and in that period lay up to 100 eggs.

So it’s important you understand how they can be beaten in this guide below.

Four of the Biggest Reasons For Silverfish Infestations are

  • Lack of preventive measures in your home
  • Bad advice on the internet
  • Incomplete DIY extermination practices
  • Incompetent exterminators

Despite the difficulty to remove silverfish yourself, there are proven ways to remove silverfish infestations without an exterminator.

At certain infestation levels, you will need to call a professional, and we’ll cover later in this guide when you should think about calling one before it is too late.

Read the guide below on how to get rid of silverfish.

What do silverfish look like?

So, what are silverfish and what do they look like? Silverfish are some of the oldest living insects on the planet. Evolutionary they appeared before insects developed wings and are therefore considered primitive insects. They look very much like something you would expect to see in prehistoric times.

Silverfish are small wingless insects and are silvery or gunmetal colored in complexion and have two noticeably long threadlike antennas.

Adult silverfish are about 12-19 mm long (not including their tail) and have a flat and oval body shape and are often compared to shapes like a teardrop or carrot. They taper from its head to tail and are covered with scales.

At the tail end of their abdomen, silverfish have three tail-like limbs that resemble their two antennae. They move in a wiggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish.

Silverfish are generally nocturnal insects and feed on a diet that consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

In our homes, their regular diets consist of books, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating if water is available.

Silverfish breed and mature slowly relative to other insects and also live longer than most insect species. A silverfish will generally live for up to 8 years and in that period a female will lay around 100 eggs and deposit them in groups of 1-4 eggs at a time.

An egg will take between 2 weeks and 2 months to grow. Unlike most insects, silverfish don’t change appearance or characteristics throughout their lives they only grown in size and they have a gradual growth through molting.

The time they spend at each stage of their growth cycle depends on temperature and access to nutrition, but it is assumed that they may develop to adults within 18 months in the right conditions.

Younger silverfish look similar to adults, but are whiteish in color are noticeably smaller in size (about 1-6mm) and lack the noticeable appearance of scales until they reach their adult stage.

The table below compares what both an adult and young silverfish look like.

Adult SilverfishYoung SilverfishSilverfish Eggs

Size:

10-18 mm long

Adult Appearance:

  • Silver to brown in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 3-8 year lifespan at this stage

Size:

1-6 mm long

Immature Appearance:

  • White in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 18-months - 3 years at this stage

Size:

1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide

Immature Appearance:

  • Oval in appearance
  • Smooth surface,
  • cream colored to yellow-brown

Lifespan:

  • hatches in about 2 months

What are the signs of a silverfish infestation

The signs of a silverfish infestation can be pretty clear once you know what to look out for, signs of silverfish in your home can include:

  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)

However, it is important to understand these signs in a bit more detail as it will help you identify the severity of the infestation that you are dealing with to help you take the correct preventive measures.

Below we outline the different signs of a silverfish infestation to help you identify an infestation.

Signs of a Silverfish infestation
  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)
  • Silverfish eggs

Seeing silverfish: You are most likely to see silverfish inside books or on your bookshelves as well as around any other paper-based items. They also like bathrooms as they thrive in this type of dark and humid environment and feed on dead hair and dandruff so check your hairbrush too.

Silverfish damage to your home or possessions: As silverfish feed mostly on paper-based products such as photos, documents, wallpaper and books identifying their bite marks on paper is a sure sign of their presence. This will look like scattered wholes on paper or etches as if something has scrapped it with a knife.

Silverfish feces: an unpleasant yet common sign of a silverfish infestation is the presence of their feces or droppings. This will most likely be located in the area of infestation like in a bathroom or in your books. Keep an eye out for deposits like this as an example.

Silverfish scales and stains: Silverfish don’t change appearance too much after hatching like most other insects. They just grow slowly in size as they grow into their adult form. During this process, they shed their scales leaving it behind and signs of this can be seen as pale scales as well as yellow stains, on the surfaces or on shelves.

Silverfish eggs: Silverfish eggs are found separately or in groups of up to ten at a time. They are oval in shape with a smooth surface and cream-colored to yellow-brown. The size ranges from 1.15 mm long and 0.83 mm wide and signs of eggs are usually found in cracks and crevices where there is little light.

What damage can silverfish do?

The damage that silverfish can do to your home is limited in comparison to other insects you may find in your home. Silverfish will damage items as they feed on them in order to help them grow and reproduce.

Items to keep an eye on in your home that silverfish will damage are:

  • Items made with plant-based products like books, cotton, cereals or dried fruits
  • Upholstered items that are made up of plant-based products like cloth and textiles,
  • Items made from hair, or items that contain either animal hair, human hair, and pet hair.

What do silverfish eat?
Silverfish thrive on a diet based on starch, carbohydrates, and protein. They require protein to grow and are unable to fully develop without it.

You can find them snacking on anything from paper, grain or sugar, but even minor leftovers such as fat, breadcrumbs, cereals, and seeds.

Silverfish may move long distances to find food, but if a good source is encountered they tend to remain in the vicinity of it. They have also been known to be cannibals if food sources are scarce. They can also last long periods without food.

For more information on what silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on what silverfish eat.

Do silverfish eat clothes?.

While not being a staple of their diet Silverfish will eat clothes in some instances. They will feed on cloth-based material that is made from organic materials and is attracted to clothing that is stained from sugary substances.

Items of clothing stored in closets or other dark storage areas with moderately warm temperatures and high humidity are most susceptible to silverfish damage.

When silverfish eat clothes, they demonstrate a preference for garments made of Cotton, Linen, Silk, and Leather.

Because their mouthparts are only capable of taking small bites and scraping edible material from various surfaces, silverfish create holes in clothes and yellowish stains that typically make up the majority of the damage left behind.

For more information on what clothes silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on do silverfish eat clothes and how to Stop them from doing so.

Where to check for silverfish damage

Silverfish require warm temperatures and high humidity and no light to thrive. So they prefer to remain hidden most of the time. They tend to live, lay eggs and hide in small cracks and crevices in rooms and furniture. As for the rooms where you might find them, that all depends on whether the environment is right like the temperature, humidity, and food sources.

Also check the walls and shelves in your basement, laundry room, garage, and storage areas. The kitchen can also offer a lot of hiding places with cupboards, bookcases, closet shelves, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to check the window and door frames as well.

That’s for the silverfish in houses but there are also outdoor places where they can live and hide – under rocks and tree bark, leaf mold or other insect’s ants’, and birds’ nests.

If you’re worried about any damage that silverfish may have done, check very closely where you may store your books or in your bathrooms. Here are a few suggestions on where to check for damage:

  • Check your bookshelves and documents: Grab a magnifying glass and look in hidden areas on your bookshelves and within books, Make sure to look in other areas where paper-based documents might be located especially when these items are stored in a moist room of the house. If you have a home office, you may want to store your important documents in hard plastic sleeves or plastic containers.
  • Check your bathrooms: Bathroom hiding spots such as around the bathtub, the plumbing or below the sink. Scan the bathroom floor and surfaces. Have a look around where your toothpaste may be as this is an ideal food source.
  • Check your wardrobes and closets: Silverfish also like to eat natural fabrics like silk, linen, and cotton. They love the glues used in synthetic fibers and starches used to press clothing, this is a great source of carbohydrates for them. If you’re seeing silverfish in wardrobes, closets or drawers, you should definitely move your clothes to a safer location.

Now you have seen some damage from silverfish in your home planning to prevent silverfish in your house is the key to helping your house remain silverfish free and to ensure any future silverfish infestations.

How to prevent Silverfish?

To help prevent silverfish Infestations it is important to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself from ever having to manage one.

These steps include, maintaining an environment in your home that deters silverfish, storing your possessions and clothes properly, establishing a regular inspection routine and understanding the early signs of a silverfish infestation.

Taking a few key steps like these prevent silverfish from ever coming into your life can potentially save you thousands of dollars of damage to your possessions, stop any destruction of prized items of clothing or books and significant emotional stress.

Adult SilverfishYoung Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • avoid buying second-hand clothes and furniture
  • Ensure your home has low humidity
  • Use silverfish traps in your bathroom
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean your clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in an airtight way
  • Cover unused and stored fabric-based products in plastic
  • ignore inspecting your clothes for signs of silverfish damage
  • Ignore using your vacuum
  • Wash clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in unsealed bags
  • Leave unused furniture uncovered
  • Ignore damp problems that may occur in rooms with furniture and clothes
  • Forget to inspect your possessions when you see silverfish in your house

Below are our top tips on how to prevent silverfish from entering and damaging your home.

1. Create an environment that deters silverfish

Creating an environment inside your house that can deter silverfish is a good idea for reducing your chances of them thriving inside your home. Environments that deter silverfish are low levels of humidity and no openings in walls or windows.

Silverfish thrive in specific conditions so it is important to ensure your home isn’t a perfect environment for them to make your house their home.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring you create an environment that prevents silverfish in your home:

  • Humidity Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish prefer rooms with high humidity and can be found in bathrooms, rooms with ongoing moisture damage or in environments with prevailing high relative humidity. Keep rooms in your house below 55 % air humidity as they thrive on conditions above this.
  • Temperate Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish thrive in temperatures from 20 °C to 26 °C. Temperatures below 20 °C will delay any future growth of eggs or adults. So make sure to keep temperatures low in rooms where you have found silverfish

2. Clean your house regularly

Regularly cleaning your home and maintaining a clean environment will result in less, dirt, food crumbs, hairs and dandruff for silverfish to feed on. Frequent cleaning will also act as a natural silverfish repellent and will even reduce any new eggs that may have been laid at the early stages of an infestation.

It’s important to make sure that you’re cleaning all the cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind any items and in cupboards, and drawers.

Make sure to keep a big focus on cleaning your bathroom, laundry room and kitchen as these are perfect habitats for silverfish to thrive in as they have perfect environments and abundant food sources.

It’s not just the bathroom that should be kept in focus. Places where you may store old boxes, stacks of papers, books, and magazines give silverfish an ample food source.

So keep these items on a bookshelf where you can dust and clean them regularly and not just in pile on the floor or locked away in an attic.

3. Get your house in order

Keeping your house clean is half the battle with silverfish. Another key preventative measure is to reduce any chance silverfish can get into your home.

This is especially important if you live in a house with a garden or a nearby park as silverfish can travel long distances in search of a stable food source.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring your house remains in good shape to prevent silverfish:

  • Caulk all crevices, cracks and small holes in your home and garage to keep them from using them as an entrance-way.
  • Wrap or insulate the pipes and conduits that lead into your home. Seal all holes and other spaces that silverfish might use to get inside your home.
  • Replace broken floorboards and baseboards, as well as damaged shelves.
  • Check for damp in your home and increased humidity if you find any damp as silverfish thrive in humid environments. Using a dehumidifier is a great way to achieve this goal,
  • Fix or change the window and door frames in your home if there are cracks and holes in the windows, doors or frames. Silverfish can fit through these small spaces.
  • Check and clean any open chimneys and ensure they are cleaned every couple of years as silverfish can thrive in animal nests that may be in your chimney.
  • check for any animal nests or other animal infestations in your home, especially your attic or basement to reduce any environment favorable to silverfish in places like attics or basements.

4. Establish a regular inspection programme

Establish a regular inspection program of all susceptible rooms at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove any particles that silverfish may feed on.

Check for silverfish in crevices and notches in baseboards and shelves or drawers where any paper-based items are kept.

How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

The best tools for removing silverfish at different stages of their lifecycle
Adult SilverfishSilverfish Eggs
  • Silverfish Traps
  • Silverfish Insecticides
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Silverfish Insecticides

Using Silverfish Traps to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of silverfish is to use silverfish traps.

Traps are one of the most budget-friendly solutions to getting rid of these pesky insects and serve two great purposes.

One as a monitoring tool to watch for signs of an early silverfish infestation and the second purpose is to actually catch them and stop them from growing in numbers in your home.

It’s important to note that traps won’t exterminate all silverfish that may have found their way into your home as it won’t trap any eggs that they have laid. As silverfish traps are designed to trap these insects once they crawl inside of them.

However, combined with other silverfish control methods or extermination products, traps can have a good effect on getting rid of a silverfish infestation.

So where is the best place to put silverfish traps? Traps are best placed in bathrooms, bookshelves, your pantry closet, wardrobe, and even your attic or basement as silverfish can be located anywhere at any time.

When to use Silverfish traps

  • When you see the first signs of silverfish.
  • All the time, to ensure you catch silverfish when they enter your home for the first time.

The advantages of using silverfish traps:

  • Enables you to detect the presence of silverfish
  • provides some control because trapped silverfish can’t mate.
  • Silverfish traps are organic and toxin-free money saving devices that are effective for getting rid of these insects.

The disadvantages of using silverfish traps:

  • They do not attract or silverfish eggs
  • There are a wide variety and pros and cons to certain brands

When buying a silverfish traps it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish traps available here.

Using Silverfish insecticide Sprays to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways to remove silverfish and silverfish eggs is to use silverfish insecticide sprays.

The main benefit of aerosols or liquid sprays is that they can be reliably applied over a lot of surface area and stick to the surfaces they are applied to.

However, not every insecticide spray is fit for all silverfish eradication purposes, which is why you should no which spray is best for your specific situation.

Above all else, the main factors in choosing to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish are that they need to be effective and safe at the same time.

When to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish

  • When you have a silverfish infestation

The advantages of using insecticides to get rid of silverfish:

  • Enables you to remove silverfish on a larger scale

The disadvantages of using silverfish sprays

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • Some contain an oil base so may stain your fabrics

The right silverfish spray and application will depend on a number of factors like:

  1. The severity of the infestation and the size of the area that needs dealing with
  2. Whether there are documents, books carpets, fabricated household items or clothes that are infested
  3. How toxic or harmful the spray may be to your family or pets

To ensure you purchase the right insecticide for your infestation it is best to review the following:

  • Size and volume of the spray: The severity and coverage of a Silverfish infestation should determine the amount of volume you need in a silverfish spray.Smaller sprays are usually sufficient for small homes and bathrooms, while for an infestation in a warehouse, larger volume sprays are often required.
  • Application type: Another factor to consider is the application type of the spray (e.g. wide, narrow, fogger) some are suitable for widespread use in rooms (foggers) over large areas (wide) on fabrics or carpets (narrow).To choose the best application type you’ll need to first figure out exactly where and how you’ll want to spray against silverfish.
  • Type of insecticides found in silverfish sprays: Most aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain Pyrethrin, which is a pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. This insecticide works by shutting down the nervous system of the insects that walk on it.Pyrethrin is a relatively low toxicity substance when animals and humans come into contact with it but will cause irritation when coming into contact with skin. It is not advisable to inhale or consume large quantities of Pyrethrin. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of the reach of children.Some aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain pyrethroids. As various Public Health departments point out, Pyrethroids such as Deltamethrin, are the synthetic man-made alternative to nature-derived Pyrethrin.There are over 1,000 different Pyrethroids that have been synthesized by people but only a few are approved for domestic use in most countries. They work in the same way Pyrethrin does by attacking the nervous system of the insects. They are of a similar low toxicity level like the natural Pyrethrin and when inhaled or ingested they cause similar side effects. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of reach of children.

When buying insecticide sprays to get rid of silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review the best options properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish sprays available here.

Exercising safety when using insecticides and Silverfish sprays

When using silverfish sprays you need to be safe. It’s best to get your family and pets away from the treated area.

It’s also advisable to use protection during application – goggles, gloves, a coat, a mask are important tools to use to keep yourself safe.

Once you’re done with spraying, it’s also strongly recommended to keep silverfish insecticides out of the reach of kids and pets. For everyone’s safety, you should always keep such storage spaces securely locked.

Using Insect Powder to get rid of Silverfish

Sometimes it can be hard to reach certain areas in your home where you think silverfish and their eggs may be. These areas are typically well protected from liquid treatments and aerosols don’t do a good enough job penetrating either.

Insect dust and powders are intended for use in hard-to-reach places and for a long-term effect and generally meant to be applied behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, between pipes and the walls where it will settle and remain there unlike sprays that will dry up.

That is why using insect exterminating powders to cover areas may be a good option for long term control of well hidden or protected areas.

They can contain a wide variety of poisonous toxins like Diatomaceous earth, Boric acid, silica, and Pyrethrin based powders and can come in a canister or a tube and should be applied under carpets, behind baseboards, under low furniture, etc. Once applied, they are to be spread into place with something like a paintbrush.

When to use insect Powder

  • When you have found signs of silverfish eggs in hard to reach areas

The advantages of using insect powder:

  • Enables you to prevent infestation and development of hidden eggs over a longer period
  • Provides longer term control of eggs and infestations

The disadvantages of using insect powder

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • The application method is not as easy as sprays
  • The dust is expected to be left for a long time so better used in areas that are not really used or frequented

When buying insect powders to exterminate silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types available. Check out our guide on the best silverfish available here.

How to get rid of silverfish naturally

If using insecticides or traps is not suitable for your specific silverfish infestation or your living conditions there are numerous organic and natural ways to try and repel silverfish naturally.

Generally, these natural repellents are effectively short term solutions but over the long term, they are not as consistent or effective in getting rid of silverfish as insecticides and traps are.

  • Using Cinnamon to get rid of silverfish: Cinnamon is a popular method to repel silverfish, as they don’t like the scent. To use cinnamon to get rid of silverfish place cinnamon sticks where silverfish are most likely located.
  • Using Lavender oil to get rid of silverfish: Lavender also can be as effective. You can use it as a spray. To do this mix together some lavender oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray in the location you’ve seen silverfish.
  • Using Mothballs to get rid of silverfish: Mothballs are another effective method of repelling silverfish and overall pest control. Place mothballs wherever they have been seen around your wardrobes and clothes. Just note though that it won’t stop them from going to other locations where mothballs aren’t.

5. Hiring an exterminator to get rid of Silverfish

When you can’t eradicate your silverfish infestation by yourself and you think it’s time to call an exterminator to help with your problem before you pick up the phone and call you should ensure you know the right questions to ask that will help you evaluate if the exterminator is a competent professional.

It’s too easy to just call the first exterminator you see on google and settle on them because you are so caught up in the problem you are trying to solve you can fail to ask the right qualifying questions to properly evaluate them.

Sometimes that works out great but often you’ll end up with an exterminator that may not be qualified to tackle your problem or fully insured. If this happens, you’ll only increase the stress you may have to deal with and end up paying for another exterminator after their failed attempt.

To avoid potential issues here are the must-ask questions when hiring an exterminator for your silverfish problem.

Are they licensed? You can validate the answer they will give you through your State or countries Department information websites. Search on the website or give the department a call to check if they are licensed correctly.

Do they have references from past clients? Consider also validating their references through research (Google, trust advisor or LinkedIn) to make sure they are as good as they say.

Do they have a guarantee? Silverfish infestations can be hard to get rid of at certain infestation levels. A reputable company will give a guarantee of their service as part of the contract.

Do they have liability insurance? If the answer is no to this question, don’t bother with this company.

How long do treatments last? Thorough silverfish infestation treatments should last up to 2 hours depending on the size of the job involved and should have a repeat visit as part of the service to ensure they have completed the necessary extermination.

How many treatments are included in the service and price offered? To compare levels of service and price, it is advisable to ask how many treatments are included in the quote offered

Do their silverfish extermination treatments consist of only insecticides? Silverfish and eggs in some situations can be more resilient against insecticides than we may think, thus exterminators should be aware of alternative methods (e.g., steam treatments, encasements, and traps).

Does the treatment cover the entire house? Silverfish infestations will definitely centralize near the site of the initial infestation, but if you have been dealing with an infestation for some time, then this may have spread to other parts of your house without you knowing. It is important to check what is offered at the price and if it involves a full inspection of the house before and after the treatment.

What is their inspection, application and extermination process? A reputable exterminator would never apply extermination treatments to an area they haven’t thoughtfully inspected. It is very important to understand the process of inspection, application, and extermination when comparing exterminators to ensure you choose the right one for the job.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish removal

This section of the guide is to outline the right things to get rid of silverfish and avoid some costly mistakes and avoid an infestation.

Whether you’ve got the first signs of an infestation, or you’re in the middle of DIY extermination, here are some important do’s and don’ts to ensure you are successful in getting rid of silverfish.

The Do’s & Don'ts of getting rid of Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides
  • Wash clothes that were in a room where you found silverfish on a High Heat
  • Throw away damaged books and documents
  • Clean your home thoroughly
  • Vet And Qualify Potential Exterminators
  • Don’t use natural remedies for a long term extermination
  • Try To Handle Recurring Infestation On Your Own
  • Release Insecticides Into Your House without doing your research first

The Do’s of getting rid of silverfish

Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides: Silverfish traps are a key tool to help you capture and identify the level of infestation you have, what you should be looking out for and how to manage the situation. Click here for our recommended Silverfish traps.

Wash clothes and fabrics on high heat that were in the same location as your silverfish infestation: Using your washer and dryer to remove silverfish that may have laid eggs or fed on your clothes and fabrics to ensure they are not hidden in piles of clothes or laundry.

Throw away damaged books and documents: If you have precious books or documents that have signs of silverfish damage, check them for eggs and silverfish. If the books or documents aren’t damaged beyond repair or readable then clean them and store them in an isolated area to check for a resurgence of silverfish before putting them back in storage. If they are unusable, throw them away.

How To Get Rid of Silverfish (The Complete Removal Guide)

Looking to get rid of Silverfish, well you came to the right place!

In this guide on how to get rid of silverfish, you’ll learn:

  • How to prevent silverfish in the first place
  • How to identify clothes silverfish
  • The do’s and don’ts of silverfish removal (not to be skipped)
  • And some frequently asked silverfish removal questions

If you’re wondering, What are silverfish and should I care, well then you’ve been lucky enough not to have them in your home, destroying your books, photo albums, important documents or contaminating your dry food supply.

Silverfish can be slow to multiply but they are also hard to deal with and can cause quite a bit of damage in the meantime. They should not be taken lightly if you see them around your home.

From natural remedies to silverfish sprays, to hiring an exterminator or even good house hygiene, there are many ways to prevent and remove them, but what actually works?

In this guide, we’ll be covering silverfish identification, prevention, how to prevent them and then finally how to get rid of them.

There is lots of information to cover, so here is a quick table of contents to jump to what is most relevant.

What's in this guide
Can Silverfish Be Beaten?How To Prevent Silverfish
What do silverfish look like?How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish
What are the Signs of a Silverfish InfestationThe Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish Removal
What causes silverfishFrequently Asked Questions About Silverfish
Where do you find silverfishConclusion & Final Thoughts on Silverfish

Can Silverfish be beaten?

To introduce this guide, I wanted to write some information on the question we get asked the most and provide some comfort in the fact that yes these silverfish can be beaten.

Knowing there are silverfish in your home, laying eggs and damaging your home can cause anxiety, sleepless nights and stress.

Silverfish are very slow breeders but live longer than you may think. An average silverfish can live for up to 8 years and in that period lay up to 100 eggs.

So it’s important you understand how they can be beaten in this guide below.

Four of the Biggest Reasons For Silverfish Infestations are

  • Lack of preventive measures in your home
  • Bad advice on the internet
  • Incomplete DIY extermination practices
  • Incompetent exterminators

Despite the difficulty to remove silverfish yourself, there are proven ways to remove silverfish infestations without an exterminator.

At certain infestation levels, you will need to call a professional, and we’ll cover later in this guide when you should think about calling one before it is too late.

Read the guide below on how to get rid of silverfish.

What do silverfish look like?

So, what are silverfish and what do they look like? Silverfish are some of the oldest living insects on the planet. Evolutionary they appeared before insects developed wings and are therefore considered primitive insects. They look very much like something you would expect to see in prehistoric times.

Silverfish are small wingless insects and are silvery or gunmetal colored in complexion and have two noticeably long threadlike antennas.

Adult silverfish are about 12-19 mm long (not including their tail) and have a flat and oval body shape and are often compared to shapes like a teardrop or carrot. They taper from its head to tail and are covered with scales.

At the tail end of their abdomen, silverfish have three tail-like limbs that resemble their two antennae. They move in a wiggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish.

Silverfish are generally nocturnal insects and feed on a diet that consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

In our homes, their regular diets consist of books, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating if water is available.

Silverfish breed and mature slowly relative to other insects and also live longer than most insect species. A silverfish will generally live for up to 8 years and in that period a female will lay around 100 eggs and deposit them in groups of 1-4 eggs at a time.

An egg will take between 2 weeks and 2 months to grow. Unlike most insects, silverfish don’t change appearance or characteristics throughout their lives they only grown in size and they have a gradual growth through molting.

The time they spend at each stage of their growth cycle depends on temperature and access to nutrition, but it is assumed that they may develop to adults within 18 months in the right conditions.

Younger silverfish look similar to adults, but are whiteish in color are noticeably smaller in size (about 1-6mm) and lack the noticeable appearance of scales until they reach their adult stage.

The table below compares what both an adult and young silverfish look like.

Adult SilverfishYoung SilverfishSilverfish Eggs

Size:

10-18 mm long

Adult Appearance:

  • Silver to brown in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 3-8 year lifespan at this stage

Size:

1-6 mm long

Immature Appearance:

  • White in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 18-months - 3 years at this stage

Size:

1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide

Immature Appearance:

  • Oval in appearance
  • Smooth surface,
  • cream colored to yellow-brown

Lifespan:

  • hatches in about 2 months

What are the signs of a silverfish infestation

The signs of a silverfish infestation can be pretty clear once you know what to look out for, signs of silverfish in your home can include:

  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)

However, it is important to understand these signs in a bit more detail as it will help you identify the severity of the infestation that you are dealing with to help you take the correct preventive measures.

Below we outline the different signs of a silverfish infestation to help you identify an infestation.

Signs of a Silverfish infestation
  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)
  • Silverfish eggs

Seeing silverfish: You are most likely to see silverfish inside books or on your bookshelves as well as around any other paper-based items. They also like bathrooms as they thrive in this type of dark and humid environment and feed on dead hair and dandruff so check your hairbrush too.

Silverfish damage to your home or possessions: As silverfish feed mostly on paper-based products such as photos, documents, wallpaper and books identifying their bite marks on paper is a sure sign of their presence. This will look like scattered wholes on paper or etches as if something has scrapped it with a knife.

Silverfish feces: an unpleasant yet common sign of a silverfish infestation is the presence of their feces or droppings. This will most likely be located in the area of infestation like in a bathroom or in your books. Keep an eye out for deposits like this as an example.

Silverfish scales and stains: Silverfish don’t change appearance too much after hatching like most other insects. They just grow slowly in size as they grow into their adult form. During this process, they shed their scales leaving it behind and signs of this can be seen as pale scales as well as yellow stains, on the surfaces or on shelves.

Silverfish eggs: Silverfish eggs are found separately or in groups of up to ten at a time. They are oval in shape with a smooth surface and cream-colored to yellow-brown. The size ranges from 1.15 mm long and 0.83 mm wide and signs of eggs are usually found in cracks and crevices where there is little light.

What damage can silverfish do?

The damage that silverfish can do to your home is limited in comparison to other insects you may find in your home. Silverfish will damage items as they feed on them in order to help them grow and reproduce.

Items to keep an eye on in your home that silverfish will damage are:

  • Items made with plant-based products like books, cotton, cereals or dried fruits
  • Upholstered items that are made up of plant-based products like cloth and textiles,
  • Items made from hair, or items that contain either animal hair, human hair, and pet hair.

What do silverfish eat?
Silverfish thrive on a diet based on starch, carbohydrates, and protein. They require protein to grow and are unable to fully develop without it.

You can find them snacking on anything from paper, grain or sugar, but even minor leftovers such as fat, breadcrumbs, cereals, and seeds.

Silverfish may move long distances to find food, but if a good source is encountered they tend to remain in the vicinity of it. They have also been known to be cannibals if food sources are scarce. They can also last long periods without food.

For more information on what silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on what silverfish eat.

Do silverfish eat clothes?.

While not being a staple of their diet Silverfish will eat clothes in some instances. They will feed on cloth-based material that is made from organic materials and is attracted to clothing that is stained from sugary substances.

Items of clothing stored in closets or other dark storage areas with moderately warm temperatures and high humidity are most susceptible to silverfish damage.

When silverfish eat clothes, they demonstrate a preference for garments made of Cotton, Linen, Silk, and Leather.

Because their mouthparts are only capable of taking small bites and scraping edible material from various surfaces, silverfish create holes in clothes and yellowish stains that typically make up the majority of the damage left behind.

For more information on what clothes silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on do silverfish eat clothes and how to Stop them from doing so.

Where to check for silverfish damage

Silverfish require warm temperatures and high humidity and no light to thrive. So they prefer to remain hidden most of the time. They tend to live, lay eggs and hide in small cracks and crevices in rooms and furniture. As for the rooms where you might find them, that all depends on whether the environment is right like the temperature, humidity, and food sources.

Also check the walls and shelves in your basement, laundry room, garage, and storage areas. The kitchen can also offer a lot of hiding places with cupboards, bookcases, closet shelves, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to check the window and door frames as well.

That’s for the silverfish in houses but there are also outdoor places where they can live and hide – under rocks and tree bark, leaf mold or other insect’s ants’, and birds’ nests.

If you’re worried about any damage that silverfish may have done, check very closely where you may store your books or in your bathrooms. Here are a few suggestions on where to check for damage:

  • Check your bookshelves and documents: Grab a magnifying glass and look in hidden areas on your bookshelves and within books, Make sure to look in other areas where paper-based documents might be located especially when these items are stored in a moist room of the house. If you have a home office, you may want to store your important documents in hard plastic sleeves or plastic containers.
  • Check your bathrooms: Bathroom hiding spots such as around the bathtub, the plumbing or below the sink. Scan the bathroom floor and surfaces. Have a look around where your toothpaste may be as this is an ideal food source.
  • Check your wardrobes and closets: Silverfish also like to eat natural fabrics like silk, linen, and cotton. They love the glues used in synthetic fibers and starches used to press clothing, this is a great source of carbohydrates for them. If you’re seeing silverfish in wardrobes, closets or drawers, you should definitely move your clothes to a safer location.

Now you have seen some damage from silverfish in your home planning to prevent silverfish in your house is the key to helping your house remain silverfish free and to ensure any future silverfish infestations.

How to prevent Silverfish?

To help prevent silverfish Infestations it is important to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself from ever having to manage one.

These steps include, maintaining an environment in your home that deters silverfish, storing your possessions and clothes properly, establishing a regular inspection routine and understanding the early signs of a silverfish infestation.

Taking a few key steps like these prevent silverfish from ever coming into your life can potentially save you thousands of dollars of damage to your possessions, stop any destruction of prized items of clothing or books and significant emotional stress.

Adult SilverfishYoung Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • avoid buying second-hand clothes and furniture
  • Ensure your home has low humidity
  • Use silverfish traps in your bathroom
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean your clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in an airtight way
  • Cover unused and stored fabric-based products in plastic
  • ignore inspecting your clothes for signs of silverfish damage
  • Ignore using your vacuum
  • Wash clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in unsealed bags
  • Leave unused furniture uncovered
  • Ignore damp problems that may occur in rooms with furniture and clothes
  • Forget to inspect your possessions when you see silverfish in your house

Below are our top tips on how to prevent silverfish from entering and damaging your home.

1. Create an environment that deters silverfish

Creating an environment inside your house that can deter silverfish is a good idea for reducing your chances of them thriving inside your home. Environments that deter silverfish are low levels of humidity and no openings in walls or windows.

Silverfish thrive in specific conditions so it is important to ensure your home isn’t a perfect environment for them to make your house their home.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring you create an environment that prevents silverfish in your home:

  • Humidity Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish prefer rooms with high humidity and can be found in bathrooms, rooms with ongoing moisture damage or in environments with prevailing high relative humidity. Keep rooms in your house below 55 % air humidity as they thrive on conditions above this.
  • Temperate Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish thrive in temperatures from 20 °C to 26 °C. Temperatures below 20 °C will delay any future growth of eggs or adults. So make sure to keep temperatures low in rooms where you have found silverfish

2. Clean your house regularly

Regularly cleaning your home and maintaining a clean environment will result in less, dirt, food crumbs, hairs and dandruff for silverfish to feed on. Frequent cleaning will also act as a natural silverfish repellent and will even reduce any new eggs that may have been laid at the early stages of an infestation.

It’s important to make sure that you’re cleaning all the cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind any items and in cupboards, and drawers.

Make sure to keep a big focus on cleaning your bathroom, laundry room and kitchen as these are perfect habitats for silverfish to thrive in as they have perfect environments and abundant food sources.

It’s not just the bathroom that should be kept in focus. Places where you may store old boxes, stacks of papers, books, and magazines give silverfish an ample food source.

So keep these items on a bookshelf where you can dust and clean them regularly and not just in pile on the floor or locked away in an attic.

3. Get your house in order

Keeping your house clean is half the battle with silverfish. Another key preventative measure is to reduce any chance silverfish can get into your home.

This is especially important if you live in a house with a garden or a nearby park as silverfish can travel long distances in search of a stable food source.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring your house remains in good shape to prevent silverfish:

  • Caulk all crevices, cracks and small holes in your home and garage to keep them from using them as an entrance-way.
  • Wrap or insulate the pipes and conduits that lead into your home. Seal all holes and other spaces that silverfish might use to get inside your home.
  • Replace broken floorboards and baseboards, as well as damaged shelves.
  • Check for damp in your home and increased humidity if you find any damp as silverfish thrive in humid environments. Using a dehumidifier is a great way to achieve this goal,
  • Fix or change the window and door frames in your home if there are cracks and holes in the windows, doors or frames. Silverfish can fit through these small spaces.
  • Check and clean any open chimneys and ensure they are cleaned every couple of years as silverfish can thrive in animal nests that may be in your chimney.
  • check for any animal nests or other animal infestations in your home, especially your attic or basement to reduce any environment favorable to silverfish in places like attics or basements.

4. Establish a regular inspection programme

Establish a regular inspection program of all susceptible rooms at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove any particles that silverfish may feed on.

Check for silverfish in crevices and notches in baseboards and shelves or drawers where any paper-based items are kept.

How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

The best tools for removing silverfish at different stages of their lifecycle
Adult SilverfishSilverfish Eggs
  • Silverfish Traps
  • Silverfish Insecticides
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Silverfish Insecticides

Using Silverfish Traps to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of silverfish is to use silverfish traps.

Traps are one of the most budget-friendly solutions to getting rid of these pesky insects and serve two great purposes.

One as a monitoring tool to watch for signs of an early silverfish infestation and the second purpose is to actually catch them and stop them from growing in numbers in your home.

It’s important to note that traps won’t exterminate all silverfish that may have found their way into your home as it won’t trap any eggs that they have laid. As silverfish traps are designed to trap these insects once they crawl inside of them.

However, combined with other silverfish control methods or extermination products, traps can have a good effect on getting rid of a silverfish infestation.

So where is the best place to put silverfish traps? Traps are best placed in bathrooms, bookshelves, your pantry closet, wardrobe, and even your attic or basement as silverfish can be located anywhere at any time.

When to use Silverfish traps

  • When you see the first signs of silverfish.
  • All the time, to ensure you catch silverfish when they enter your home for the first time.

The advantages of using silverfish traps:

  • Enables you to detect the presence of silverfish
  • provides some control because trapped silverfish can’t mate.
  • Silverfish traps are organic and toxin-free money saving devices that are effective for getting rid of these insects.

The disadvantages of using silverfish traps:

  • They do not attract or silverfish eggs
  • There are a wide variety and pros and cons to certain brands

When buying a silverfish traps it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish traps available here.

Using Silverfish insecticide Sprays to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways to remove silverfish and silverfish eggs is to use silverfish insecticide sprays.

The main benefit of aerosols or liquid sprays is that they can be reliably applied over a lot of surface area and stick to the surfaces they are applied to.

However, not every insecticide spray is fit for all silverfish eradication purposes, which is why you should no which spray is best for your specific situation.

Above all else, the main factors in choosing to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish are that they need to be effective and safe at the same time.

When to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish

  • When you have a silverfish infestation

The advantages of using insecticides to get rid of silverfish:

  • Enables you to remove silverfish on a larger scale

The disadvantages of using silverfish sprays

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • Some contain an oil base so may stain your fabrics

The right silverfish spray and application will depend on a number of factors like:

  1. The severity of the infestation and the size of the area that needs dealing with
  2. Whether there are documents, books carpets, fabricated household items or clothes that are infested
  3. How toxic or harmful the spray may be to your family or pets

To ensure you purchase the right insecticide for your infestation it is best to review the following:

  • Size and volume of the spray: The severity and coverage of a Silverfish infestation should determine the amount of volume you need in a silverfish spray.Smaller sprays are usually sufficient for small homes and bathrooms, while for an infestation in a warehouse, larger volume sprays are often required.
  • Application type: Another factor to consider is the application type of the spray (e.g. wide, narrow, fogger) some are suitable for widespread use in rooms (foggers) over large areas (wide) on fabrics or carpets (narrow).To choose the best application type you’ll need to first figure out exactly where and how you’ll want to spray against silverfish.
  • Type of insecticides found in silverfish sprays: Most aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain Pyrethrin, which is a pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. This insecticide works by shutting down the nervous system of the insects that walk on it.Pyrethrin is a relatively low toxicity substance when animals and humans come into contact with it but will cause irritation when coming into contact with skin. It is not advisable to inhale or consume large quantities of Pyrethrin. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of the reach of children.Some aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain pyrethroids. As various Public Health departments point out, Pyrethroids such as Deltamethrin, are the synthetic man-made alternative to nature-derived Pyrethrin.There are over 1,000 different Pyrethroids that have been synthesized by people but only a few are approved for domestic use in most countries. They work in the same way Pyrethrin does by attacking the nervous system of the insects. They are of a similar low toxicity level like the natural Pyrethrin and when inhaled or ingested they cause similar side effects. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of reach of children.

When buying insecticide sprays to get rid of silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review the best options properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish sprays available here.

Exercising safety when using insecticides and Silverfish sprays

When using silverfish sprays you need to be safe. It’s best to get your family and pets away from the treated area.

It’s also advisable to use protection during application – goggles, gloves, a coat, a mask are important tools to use to keep yourself safe.

Once you’re done with spraying, it’s also strongly recommended to keep silverfish insecticides out of the reach of kids and pets. For everyone’s safety, you should always keep such storage spaces securely locked.

Using Insect Powder to get rid of Silverfish

Sometimes it can be hard to reach certain areas in your home where you think silverfish and their eggs may be. These areas are typically well protected from liquid treatments and aerosols don’t do a good enough job penetrating either.

Insect dust and powders are intended for use in hard-to-reach places and for a long-term effect and generally meant to be applied behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, between pipes and the walls where it will settle and remain there unlike sprays that will dry up.

That is why using insect exterminating powders to cover areas may be a good option for long term control of well hidden or protected areas.

They can contain a wide variety of poisonous toxins like Diatomaceous earth, Boric acid, silica, and Pyrethrin based powders and can come in a canister or a tube and should be applied under carpets, behind baseboards, under low furniture, etc. Once applied, they are to be spread into place with something like a paintbrush.

When to use insect Powder

  • When you have found signs of silverfish eggs in hard to reach areas

The advantages of using insect powder:

  • Enables you to prevent infestation and development of hidden eggs over a longer period
  • Provides longer term control of eggs and infestations

The disadvantages of using insect powder

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • The application method is not as easy as sprays
  • The dust is expected to be left for a long time so better used in areas that are not really used or frequented

When buying insect powders to exterminate silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types available. Check out our guide on the best silverfish available here.

How to get rid of silverfish naturally

If using insecticides or traps is not suitable for your specific silverfish infestation or your living conditions there are numerous organic and natural ways to try and repel silverfish naturally.

Generally, these natural repellents are effectively short term solutions but over the long term, they are not as consistent or effective in getting rid of silverfish as insecticides and traps are.

  • Using Cinnamon to get rid of silverfish: Cinnamon is a popular method to repel silverfish, as they don’t like the scent. To use cinnamon to get rid of silverfish place cinnamon sticks where silverfish are most likely located.
  • Using Lavender oil to get rid of silverfish: Lavender also can be as effective. You can use it as a spray. To do this mix together some lavender oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray in the location you’ve seen silverfish.
  • Using Mothballs to get rid of silverfish: Mothballs are another effective method of repelling silverfish and overall pest control. Place mothballs wherever they have been seen around your wardrobes and clothes. Just note though that it won’t stop them from going to other locations where mothballs aren’t.

5. Hiring an exterminator to get rid of Silverfish

When you can’t eradicate your silverfish infestation by yourself and you think it’s time to call an exterminator to help with your problem before you pick up the phone and call you should ensure you know the right questions to ask that will help you evaluate if the exterminator is a competent professional.

It’s too easy to just call the first exterminator you see on google and settle on them because you are so caught up in the problem you are trying to solve you can fail to ask the right qualifying questions to properly evaluate them.

Sometimes that works out great but often you’ll end up with an exterminator that may not be qualified to tackle your problem or fully insured. If this happens, you’ll only increase the stress you may have to deal with and end up paying for another exterminator after their failed attempt.

To avoid potential issues here are the must-ask questions when hiring an exterminator for your silverfish problem.

Are they licensed? You can validate the answer they will give you through your State or countries Department information websites. Search on the website or give the department a call to check if they are licensed correctly.

Do they have references from past clients? Consider also validating their references through research (Google, trust advisor or LinkedIn) to make sure they are as good as they say.

Do they have a guarantee? Silverfish infestations can be hard to get rid of at certain infestation levels. A reputable company will give a guarantee of their service as part of the contract.

Do they have liability insurance? If the answer is no to this question, don’t bother with this company.

How long do treatments last? Thorough silverfish infestation treatments should last up to 2 hours depending on the size of the job involved and should have a repeat visit as part of the service to ensure they have completed the necessary extermination.

How many treatments are included in the service and price offered? To compare levels of service and price, it is advisable to ask how many treatments are included in the quote offered

Do their silverfish extermination treatments consist of only insecticides? Silverfish and eggs in some situations can be more resilient against insecticides than we may think, thus exterminators should be aware of alternative methods (e.g., steam treatments, encasements, and traps).

Does the treatment cover the entire house? Silverfish infestations will definitely centralize near the site of the initial infestation, but if you have been dealing with an infestation for some time, then this may have spread to other parts of your house without you knowing. It is important to check what is offered at the price and if it involves a full inspection of the house before and after the treatment.

What is their inspection, application and extermination process? A reputable exterminator would never apply extermination treatments to an area they haven’t thoughtfully inspected. It is very important to understand the process of inspection, application, and extermination when comparing exterminators to ensure you choose the right one for the job.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish removal

This section of the guide is to outline the right things to get rid of silverfish and avoid some costly mistakes and avoid an infestation.

Whether you’ve got the first signs of an infestation, or you’re in the middle of DIY extermination, here are some important do’s and don’ts to ensure you are successful in getting rid of silverfish.

The Do’s & Don'ts of getting rid of Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides
  • Wash clothes that were in a room where you found silverfish on a High Heat
  • Throw away damaged books and documents
  • Clean your home thoroughly
  • Vet And Qualify Potential Exterminators
  • Don’t use natural remedies for a long term extermination
  • Try To Handle Recurring Infestation On Your Own
  • Release Insecticides Into Your House without doing your research first

The Do’s of getting rid of silverfish

Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides: Silverfish traps are a key tool to help you capture and identify the level of infestation you have, what you should be looking out for and how to manage the situation. Click here for our recommended Silverfish traps.

Wash clothes and fabrics on high heat that were in the same location as your silverfish infestation: Using your washer and dryer to remove silverfish that may have laid eggs or fed on your clothes and fabrics to ensure they are not hidden in piles of clothes or laundry.

Throw away damaged books and documents: If you have precious books or documents that have signs of silverfish damage, check them for eggs and silverfish. If the books or documents aren’t damaged beyond repair or readable then clean them and store them in an isolated area to check for a resurgence of silverfish before putting them back in storage. If they are unusable, throw them away.

How To Get Rid of Silverfish (The Complete Removal Guide)

Looking to get rid of Silverfish, well you came to the right place!

In this guide on how to get rid of silverfish, you’ll learn:

  • How to prevent silverfish in the first place
  • How to identify clothes silverfish
  • The do’s and don’ts of silverfish removal (not to be skipped)
  • And some frequently asked silverfish removal questions

If you’re wondering, What are silverfish and should I care, well then you’ve been lucky enough not to have them in your home, destroying your books, photo albums, important documents or contaminating your dry food supply.

Silverfish can be slow to multiply but they are also hard to deal with and can cause quite a bit of damage in the meantime. They should not be taken lightly if you see them around your home.

From natural remedies to silverfish sprays, to hiring an exterminator or even good house hygiene, there are many ways to prevent and remove them, but what actually works?

In this guide, we’ll be covering silverfish identification, prevention, how to prevent them and then finally how to get rid of them.

There is lots of information to cover, so here is a quick table of contents to jump to what is most relevant.

What's in this guide
Can Silverfish Be Beaten?How To Prevent Silverfish
What do silverfish look like?How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish
What are the Signs of a Silverfish InfestationThe Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish Removal
What causes silverfishFrequently Asked Questions About Silverfish
Where do you find silverfishConclusion & Final Thoughts on Silverfish

Can Silverfish be beaten?

To introduce this guide, I wanted to write some information on the question we get asked the most and provide some comfort in the fact that yes these silverfish can be beaten.

Knowing there are silverfish in your home, laying eggs and damaging your home can cause anxiety, sleepless nights and stress.

Silverfish are very slow breeders but live longer than you may think. An average silverfish can live for up to 8 years and in that period lay up to 100 eggs.

So it’s important you understand how they can be beaten in this guide below.

Four of the Biggest Reasons For Silverfish Infestations are

  • Lack of preventive measures in your home
  • Bad advice on the internet
  • Incomplete DIY extermination practices
  • Incompetent exterminators

Despite the difficulty to remove silverfish yourself, there are proven ways to remove silverfish infestations without an exterminator.

At certain infestation levels, you will need to call a professional, and we’ll cover later in this guide when you should think about calling one before it is too late.

Read the guide below on how to get rid of silverfish.

What do silverfish look like?

So, what are silverfish and what do they look like? Silverfish are some of the oldest living insects on the planet. Evolutionary they appeared before insects developed wings and are therefore considered primitive insects. They look very much like something you would expect to see in prehistoric times.

Silverfish are small wingless insects and are silvery or gunmetal colored in complexion and have two noticeably long threadlike antennas.

Adult silverfish are about 12-19 mm long (not including their tail) and have a flat and oval body shape and are often compared to shapes like a teardrop or carrot. They taper from its head to tail and are covered with scales.

At the tail end of their abdomen, silverfish have three tail-like limbs that resemble their two antennae. They move in a wiggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish.

Silverfish are generally nocturnal insects and feed on a diet that consists of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

In our homes, their regular diets consist of books, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating if water is available.

Silverfish breed and mature slowly relative to other insects and also live longer than most insect species. A silverfish will generally live for up to 8 years and in that period a female will lay around 100 eggs and deposit them in groups of 1-4 eggs at a time.

An egg will take between 2 weeks and 2 months to grow. Unlike most insects, silverfish don’t change appearance or characteristics throughout their lives they only grown in size and they have a gradual growth through molting.

The time they spend at each stage of their growth cycle depends on temperature and access to nutrition, but it is assumed that they may develop to adults within 18 months in the right conditions.

Younger silverfish look similar to adults, but are whiteish in color are noticeably smaller in size (about 1-6mm) and lack the noticeable appearance of scales until they reach their adult stage.

The table below compares what both an adult and young silverfish look like.

Adult SilverfishYoung SilverfishSilverfish Eggs

Size:

10-18 mm long

Adult Appearance:

  • Silver to brown in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 3-8 year lifespan at this stage

Size:

1-6 mm long

Immature Appearance:

  • White in color
  • 6 legs
  • Two antennae
  • Oval and elongated in shape

Lifespan:

  • 18-months - 3 years at this stage

Size:

1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide

Immature Appearance:

  • Oval in appearance
  • Smooth surface,
  • cream colored to yellow-brown

Lifespan:

  • hatches in about 2 months

What are the signs of a silverfish infestation

The signs of a silverfish infestation can be pretty clear once you know what to look out for, signs of silverfish in your home can include:

  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)

However, it is important to understand these signs in a bit more detail as it will help you identify the severity of the infestation that you are dealing with to help you take the correct preventive measures.

Below we outline the different signs of a silverfish infestation to help you identify an infestation.

Signs of a Silverfish infestation
  • Seeing silverfish
  • Silverfish damage to your home or possessions
  • Silverfish stains on surfaces
  • Silverfish scales and feces (small black pepper-like deposits)
  • Silverfish eggs

Seeing silverfish: You are most likely to see silverfish inside books or on your bookshelves as well as around any other paper-based items. They also like bathrooms as they thrive in this type of dark and humid environment and feed on dead hair and dandruff so check your hairbrush too.

Silverfish damage to your home or possessions: As silverfish feed mostly on paper-based products such as photos, documents, wallpaper and books identifying their bite marks on paper is a sure sign of their presence. This will look like scattered wholes on paper or etches as if something has scrapped it with a knife.

Silverfish feces: an unpleasant yet common sign of a silverfish infestation is the presence of their feces or droppings. This will most likely be located in the area of infestation like in a bathroom or in your books. Keep an eye out for deposits like this as an example.

Silverfish scales and stains: Silverfish don’t change appearance too much after hatching like most other insects. They just grow slowly in size as they grow into their adult form. During this process, they shed their scales leaving it behind and signs of this can be seen as pale scales as well as yellow stains, on the surfaces or on shelves.

Silverfish eggs: Silverfish eggs are found separately or in groups of up to ten at a time. They are oval in shape with a smooth surface and cream-colored to yellow-brown. The size ranges from 1.15 mm long and 0.83 mm wide and signs of eggs are usually found in cracks and crevices where there is little light.

What damage can silverfish do?

The damage that silverfish can do to your home is limited in comparison to other insects you may find in your home. Silverfish will damage items as they feed on them in order to help them grow and reproduce.

Items to keep an eye on in your home that silverfish will damage are:

  • Items made with plant-based products like books, cotton, cereals or dried fruits
  • Upholstered items that are made up of plant-based products like cloth and textiles,
  • Items made from hair, or items that contain either animal hair, human hair, and pet hair.

What do silverfish eat?
Silverfish thrive on a diet based on starch, carbohydrates, and protein. They require protein to grow and are unable to fully develop without it.

You can find them snacking on anything from paper, grain or sugar, but even minor leftovers such as fat, breadcrumbs, cereals, and seeds.

Silverfish may move long distances to find food, but if a good source is encountered they tend to remain in the vicinity of it. They have also been known to be cannibals if food sources are scarce. They can also last long periods without food.

For more information on what silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on what silverfish eat.

Do silverfish eat clothes?.

While not being a staple of their diet Silverfish will eat clothes in some instances. They will feed on cloth-based material that is made from organic materials and is attracted to clothing that is stained from sugary substances.

Items of clothing stored in closets or other dark storage areas with moderately warm temperatures and high humidity are most susceptible to silverfish damage.

When silverfish eat clothes, they demonstrate a preference for garments made of Cotton, Linen, Silk, and Leather.

Because their mouthparts are only capable of taking small bites and scraping edible material from various surfaces, silverfish create holes in clothes and yellowish stains that typically make up the majority of the damage left behind.

For more information on what clothes silverfish might be eating in your home, check out our other blog post on do silverfish eat clothes and how to Stop them from doing so.

Where to check for silverfish damage

Silverfish require warm temperatures and high humidity and no light to thrive. So they prefer to remain hidden most of the time. They tend to live, lay eggs and hide in small cracks and crevices in rooms and furniture. As for the rooms where you might find them, that all depends on whether the environment is right like the temperature, humidity, and food sources.

Also check the walls and shelves in your basement, laundry room, garage, and storage areas. The kitchen can also offer a lot of hiding places with cupboards, bookcases, closet shelves, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to check the window and door frames as well.

That’s for the silverfish in houses but there are also outdoor places where they can live and hide – under rocks and tree bark, leaf mold or other insect’s ants’, and birds’ nests.

If you’re worried about any damage that silverfish may have done, check very closely where you may store your books or in your bathrooms. Here are a few suggestions on where to check for damage:

  • Check your bookshelves and documents: Grab a magnifying glass and look in hidden areas on your bookshelves and within books, Make sure to look in other areas where paper-based documents might be located especially when these items are stored in a moist room of the house. If you have a home office, you may want to store your important documents in hard plastic sleeves or plastic containers.
  • Check your bathrooms: Bathroom hiding spots such as around the bathtub, the plumbing or below the sink. Scan the bathroom floor and surfaces. Have a look around where your toothpaste may be as this is an ideal food source.
  • Check your wardrobes and closets: Silverfish also like to eat natural fabrics like silk, linen, and cotton. They love the glues used in synthetic fibers and starches used to press clothing, this is a great source of carbohydrates for them. If you’re seeing silverfish in wardrobes, closets or drawers, you should definitely move your clothes to a safer location.

Now you have seen some damage from silverfish in your home planning to prevent silverfish in your house is the key to helping your house remain silverfish free and to ensure any future silverfish infestations.

How to prevent Silverfish?

To help prevent silverfish Infestations it is important to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself from ever having to manage one.

These steps include, maintaining an environment in your home that deters silverfish, storing your possessions and clothes properly, establishing a regular inspection routine and understanding the early signs of a silverfish infestation.

Taking a few key steps like these prevent silverfish from ever coming into your life can potentially save you thousands of dollars of damage to your possessions, stop any destruction of prized items of clothing or books and significant emotional stress.

Adult SilverfishYoung Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • avoid buying second-hand clothes and furniture
  • Ensure your home has low humidity
  • Use silverfish traps in your bathroom
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Clean your clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in an airtight way
  • Cover unused and stored fabric-based products in plastic
  • ignore inspecting your clothes for signs of silverfish damage
  • Ignore using your vacuum
  • Wash clothes before storing them away
  • Store off-season clothes in unsealed bags
  • Leave unused furniture uncovered
  • Ignore damp problems that may occur in rooms with furniture and clothes
  • Forget to inspect your possessions when you see silverfish in your house

Below are our top tips on how to prevent silverfish from entering and damaging your home.

1. Create an environment that deters silverfish

Creating an environment inside your house that can deter silverfish is a good idea for reducing your chances of them thriving inside your home. Environments that deter silverfish are low levels of humidity and no openings in walls or windows.

Silverfish thrive in specific conditions so it is important to ensure your home isn’t a perfect environment for them to make your house their home.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring you create an environment that prevents silverfish in your home:

  • Humidity Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish prefer rooms with high humidity and can be found in bathrooms, rooms with ongoing moisture damage or in environments with prevailing high relative humidity. Keep rooms in your house below 55 % air humidity as they thrive on conditions above this.
  • Temperate Levels that deter silverfish: Silverfish thrive in temperatures from 20 °C to 26 °C. Temperatures below 20 °C will delay any future growth of eggs or adults. So make sure to keep temperatures low in rooms where you have found silverfish

2. Clean your house regularly

Regularly cleaning your home and maintaining a clean environment will result in less, dirt, food crumbs, hairs and dandruff for silverfish to feed on. Frequent cleaning will also act as a natural silverfish repellent and will even reduce any new eggs that may have been laid at the early stages of an infestation.

It’s important to make sure that you’re cleaning all the cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind any items and in cupboards, and drawers.

Make sure to keep a big focus on cleaning your bathroom, laundry room and kitchen as these are perfect habitats for silverfish to thrive in as they have perfect environments and abundant food sources.

It’s not just the bathroom that should be kept in focus. Places where you may store old boxes, stacks of papers, books, and magazines give silverfish an ample food source.

So keep these items on a bookshelf where you can dust and clean them regularly and not just in pile on the floor or locked away in an attic.

3. Get your house in order

Keeping your house clean is half the battle with silverfish. Another key preventative measure is to reduce any chance silverfish can get into your home.

This is especially important if you live in a house with a garden or a nearby park as silverfish can travel long distances in search of a stable food source.

Here are a few key ways to go about ensuring your house remains in good shape to prevent silverfish:

  • Caulk all crevices, cracks and small holes in your home and garage to keep them from using them as an entrance-way.
  • Wrap or insulate the pipes and conduits that lead into your home. Seal all holes and other spaces that silverfish might use to get inside your home.
  • Replace broken floorboards and baseboards, as well as damaged shelves.
  • Check for damp in your home and increased humidity if you find any damp as silverfish thrive in humid environments. Using a dehumidifier is a great way to achieve this goal,
  • Fix or change the window and door frames in your home if there are cracks and holes in the windows, doors or frames. Silverfish can fit through these small spaces.
  • Check and clean any open chimneys and ensure they are cleaned every couple of years as silverfish can thrive in animal nests that may be in your chimney.
  • check for any animal nests or other animal infestations in your home, especially your attic or basement to reduce any environment favorable to silverfish in places like attics or basements.

4. Establish a regular inspection programme

Establish a regular inspection program of all susceptible rooms at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove any particles that silverfish may feed on.

Check for silverfish in crevices and notches in baseboards and shelves or drawers where any paper-based items are kept.

How Do You Go About Getting Rid of Silverfish

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

At this point in the guide, you have probably decided that you have a silverfish problem.

You may have spotted some silverfish or silverfish eggs and you need to get rid of them ASAP!

This section will outline exactly the steps to take to get rid of silverfish, how to go about finding an exterminator if you may need one, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting rid of silverfish yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Silverfish

Below we outline the steps you should take once you’ve determined there is probably a silverfish problem in your house.

1. Remain Calm

When you realize you have silverfish around, the worst thing you can do is to overreact and start going on a house decontaminating rampage and filling your house with poisonous insecticides.

Silverfish can be a nuisance, yes, but now that they’re here, the most prudent use of your energy would be to remain calm and take the necessary steps to remove them.

We emphasize the theme of staying calm all throughout this guide because it is so vitally important to exterminating silverfish and ensuring you don’t help the infestation grow or spread to other rooms in your house

2. Clean And Quarantine rooms from silverfish

Regardless of whether you find any silverfish on the floor or in a book, you should take proactive measures to clean and quarantine everything in and around the room that you found the silverfish in.

It’s important to first make a plan on how you will isolate and clean each item in the room to remove any infestation.

All of your clothes that don’t have to be dry cleaned should be bagged up and washed/dried on the highest heat setting. At about 120 degrees, to ensure all the silverfish and their eggs will die. Once cleaned, bag up the clothes and isolate them in the house.

Once you’ve isolated any clothes do the same with paper-based products, make sure to wipe down and vacuum every crack, crevice bookshelf and drawer in these rooms. The contents of your vacuum should be sealed in a plastic bag and disposed of outside of your home.

At this point, you’ve probably done about 90% of what you should do before calling an exterminator for professional assistance should the infestation be persistent enough to reappear. The key point of this step is to knock out the obvious areas of your house.

3. Getting Rid of Silverfish yourself

There are a number of ways to remove silverfish yourself. Some effective ways are by utilizing Traps, Sprays, Foggers, mothballs, insecticide dust and natural tools.

However, each process and tool is only effective in certain situations and at certain silverfish life cycle stages. Below we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods in your home.

The best tools for removing silverfish at different stages of their lifecycle
Adult SilverfishSilverfish Eggs
  • Silverfish Traps
  • Silverfish Insecticides
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Silverfish Insecticides

Using Silverfish Traps to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of silverfish is to use silverfish traps.

Traps are one of the most budget-friendly solutions to getting rid of these pesky insects and serve two great purposes.

One as a monitoring tool to watch for signs of an early silverfish infestation and the second purpose is to actually catch them and stop them from growing in numbers in your home.

It’s important to note that traps won’t exterminate all silverfish that may have found their way into your home as it won’t trap any eggs that they have laid. As silverfish traps are designed to trap these insects once they crawl inside of them.

However, combined with other silverfish control methods or extermination products, traps can have a good effect on getting rid of a silverfish infestation.

So where is the best place to put silverfish traps? Traps are best placed in bathrooms, bookshelves, your pantry closet, wardrobe, and even your attic or basement as silverfish can be located anywhere at any time.

When to use Silverfish traps

  • When you see the first signs of silverfish.
  • All the time, to ensure you catch silverfish when they enter your home for the first time.

The advantages of using silverfish traps:

  • Enables you to detect the presence of silverfish
  • provides some control because trapped silverfish can’t mate.
  • Silverfish traps are organic and toxin-free money saving devices that are effective for getting rid of these insects.

The disadvantages of using silverfish traps:

  • They do not attract or silverfish eggs
  • There are a wide variety and pros and cons to certain brands

When buying a silverfish traps it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish traps available here.

Using Silverfish insecticide Sprays to get rid of Silverfish

One of the most effective ways to remove silverfish and silverfish eggs is to use silverfish insecticide sprays.

The main benefit of aerosols or liquid sprays is that they can be reliably applied over a lot of surface area and stick to the surfaces they are applied to.

However, not every insecticide spray is fit for all silverfish eradication purposes, which is why you should no which spray is best for your specific situation.

Above all else, the main factors in choosing to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish are that they need to be effective and safe at the same time.

When to use insecticides to get rid of silverfish

  • When you have a silverfish infestation

The advantages of using insecticides to get rid of silverfish:

  • Enables you to remove silverfish on a larger scale

The disadvantages of using silverfish sprays

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • Some contain an oil base so may stain your fabrics

The right silverfish spray and application will depend on a number of factors like:

  1. The severity of the infestation and the size of the area that needs dealing with
  2. Whether there are documents, books carpets, fabricated household items or clothes that are infested
  3. How toxic or harmful the spray may be to your family or pets

To ensure you purchase the right insecticide for your infestation it is best to review the following:

  • Size and volume of the spray: The severity and coverage of a Silverfish infestation should determine the amount of volume you need in a silverfish spray.Smaller sprays are usually sufficient for small homes and bathrooms, while for an infestation in a warehouse, larger volume sprays are often required.
  • Application type: Another factor to consider is the application type of the spray (e.g. wide, narrow, fogger) some are suitable for widespread use in rooms (foggers) over large areas (wide) on fabrics or carpets (narrow).To choose the best application type you’ll need to first figure out exactly where and how you’ll want to spray against silverfish.
  • Type of insecticides found in silverfish sprays: Most aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain Pyrethrin, which is a pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. This insecticide works by shutting down the nervous system of the insects that walk on it.Pyrethrin is a relatively low toxicity substance when animals and humans come into contact with it but will cause irritation when coming into contact with skin. It is not advisable to inhale or consume large quantities of Pyrethrin. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of the reach of children.Some aerosols or liquid insecticide sprays contain pyrethroids. As various Public Health departments point out, Pyrethroids such as Deltamethrin, are the synthetic man-made alternative to nature-derived Pyrethrin.There are over 1,000 different Pyrethroids that have been synthesized by people but only a few are approved for domestic use in most countries. They work in the same way Pyrethrin does by attacking the nervous system of the insects. They are of a similar low toxicity level like the natural Pyrethrin and when inhaled or ingested they cause similar side effects. In the event you do, contact a medical professional and be aware it can cause drooling, difficulty breathing, or even seizures if consumed. So keep out of reach of children.

When buying insecticide sprays to get rid of silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review the best options properly as there are many types and use cases. Check out our guide on the best silverfish sprays available here.

Exercising safety when using insecticides and Silverfish sprays

When using silverfish sprays you need to be safe. It’s best to get your family and pets away from the treated area.

It’s also advisable to use protection during application – goggles, gloves, a coat, a mask are important tools to use to keep yourself safe.

Once you’re done with spraying, it’s also strongly recommended to keep silverfish insecticides out of the reach of kids and pets. For everyone’s safety, you should always keep such storage spaces securely locked.

Using Insect Powder to get rid of Silverfish

Sometimes it can be hard to reach certain areas in your home where you think silverfish and their eggs may be. These areas are typically well protected from liquid treatments and aerosols don’t do a good enough job penetrating either.

Insect dust and powders are intended for use in hard-to-reach places and for a long-term effect and generally meant to be applied behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, between pipes and the walls where it will settle and remain there unlike sprays that will dry up.

That is why using insect exterminating powders to cover areas may be a good option for long term control of well hidden or protected areas.

They can contain a wide variety of poisonous toxins like Diatomaceous earth, Boric acid, silica, and Pyrethrin based powders and can come in a canister or a tube and should be applied under carpets, behind baseboards, under low furniture, etc. Once applied, they are to be spread into place with something like a paintbrush.

When to use insect Powder

  • When you have found signs of silverfish eggs in hard to reach areas

The advantages of using insect powder:

  • Enables you to prevent infestation and development of hidden eggs over a longer period
  • Provides longer term control of eggs and infestations

The disadvantages of using insect powder

  • They can be toxic and harmful to pets and humans
  • The application method is not as easy as sprays
  • The dust is expected to be left for a long time so better used in areas that are not really used or frequented

When buying insect powders to exterminate silverfish it is a good idea to ensure you review them properly as there are many types available. Check out our guide on the best silverfish available here.

How to get rid of silverfish naturally

If using insecticides or traps is not suitable for your specific silverfish infestation or your living conditions there are numerous organic and natural ways to try and repel silverfish naturally.

Generally, these natural repellents are effectively short term solutions but over the long term, they are not as consistent or effective in getting rid of silverfish as insecticides and traps are.

  • Using Cinnamon to get rid of silverfish: Cinnamon is a popular method to repel silverfish, as they don’t like the scent. To use cinnamon to get rid of silverfish place cinnamon sticks where silverfish are most likely located.
  • Using Lavender oil to get rid of silverfish: Lavender also can be as effective. You can use it as a spray. To do this mix together some lavender oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray in the location you’ve seen silverfish.
  • Using Mothballs to get rid of silverfish: Mothballs are another effective method of repelling silverfish and overall pest control. Place mothballs wherever they have been seen around your wardrobes and clothes. Just note though that it won’t stop them from going to other locations where mothballs aren’t.

5. Hiring an exterminator to get rid of Silverfish

When you can’t eradicate your silverfish infestation by yourself and you think it’s time to call an exterminator to help with your problem before you pick up the phone and call you should ensure you know the right questions to ask that will help you evaluate if the exterminator is a competent professional.

It’s too easy to just call the first exterminator you see on google and settle on them because you are so caught up in the problem you are trying to solve you can fail to ask the right qualifying questions to properly evaluate them.

Sometimes that works out great but often you’ll end up with an exterminator that may not be qualified to tackle your problem or fully insured. If this happens, you’ll only increase the stress you may have to deal with and end up paying for another exterminator after their failed attempt.

To avoid potential issues here are the must-ask questions when hiring an exterminator for your silverfish problem.

Are they licensed? You can validate the answer they will give you through your State or countries Department information websites. Search on the website or give the department a call to check if they are licensed correctly.

Do they have references from past clients? Consider also validating their references through research (Google, trust advisor or LinkedIn) to make sure they are as good as they say.

Do they have a guarantee? Silverfish infestations can be hard to get rid of at certain infestation levels. A reputable company will give a guarantee of their service as part of the contract.

Do they have liability insurance? If the answer is no to this question, don’t bother with this company.

How long do treatments last? Thorough silverfish infestation treatments should last up to 2 hours depending on the size of the job involved and should have a repeat visit as part of the service to ensure they have completed the necessary extermination.

How many treatments are included in the service and price offered? To compare levels of service and price, it is advisable to ask how many treatments are included in the quote offered

Do their silverfish extermination treatments consist of only insecticides? Silverfish and eggs in some situations can be more resilient against insecticides than we may think, thus exterminators should be aware of alternative methods (e.g., steam treatments, encasements, and traps).

Does the treatment cover the entire house? Silverfish infestations will definitely centralize near the site of the initial infestation, but if you have been dealing with an infestation for some time, then this may have spread to other parts of your house without you knowing. It is important to check what is offered at the price and if it involves a full inspection of the house before and after the treatment.

What is their inspection, application and extermination process? A reputable exterminator would never apply extermination treatments to an area they haven’t thoughtfully inspected. It is very important to understand the process of inspection, application, and extermination when comparing exterminators to ensure you choose the right one for the job.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Silverfish removal

This section of the guide is to outline the right things to get rid of silverfish and avoid some costly mistakes and avoid an infestation.

Whether you’ve got the first signs of an infestation, or you’re in the middle of DIY extermination, here are some important do’s and don’ts to ensure you are successful in getting rid of silverfish.

The Do’s & Don'ts of getting rid of Silverfish
Do’sDon’ts
  • Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides
  • Wash clothes that were in a room where you found silverfish on a High Heat
  • Throw away damaged books and documents
  • Clean your home thoroughly
  • Vet And Qualify Potential Exterminators
  • Don’t use natural remedies for a long term extermination
  • Try To Handle Recurring Infestation On Your Own
  • Release Insecticides Into Your House without doing your research first

The Do’s of getting rid of silverfish

Use Silverfish Traps and insecticides: Silverfish traps are a key tool to help you capture and identify the level of infestation you have, what you should be looking out for and how to manage the situation. Click here for our recommended Silverfish traps.

Wash clothes and fabrics on high heat that were in the same location as your silverfish infestation: Using your washer and dryer to remove silverfish that may have laid eggs or fed on your clothes and fabrics to ensure they are not hidden in piles of clothes or laundry.

Throw away damaged books and documents: If you have precious books or documents that have signs of silverfish damage, check them for eggs and silverfish. If the books or documents aren’t damaged beyond repair or readable then clean them and store them in an isolated area to check for a resurgence of silverfish before putting them back in storage. If they are unusable, throw them away.

Clean your home thoroughly: If you have found silverfish, clean your home properly and reduce any humid areas. Chances are silverfish are there due to an environment that has helped them thrive, like dust, dead skin, damp conditions and food sources left around.

Evaluate and compare potential exterminators: As previously discussed in the above section, the difference between hiring the wrong exterminator and the right one for your silverfish problem could be the difference between eliminating the infestation first time or seeing the infestation appear again.

Evaluate and compare potential exterminators: As previously discussed in the above section, the difference between hiring the wrong exterminator and the right one for your silverfish problem could be the difference between eliminating the infestation first time or seeing the infestation appear again.

The Dont’s of getting rid of silverfish

Use foggers: you might often hear people thinking that using a fogger is the best option for quickly eliminating most insects and pests in your home. However, they won’t be effective in removing silverfish eggs as the fog won’t penetrate the cracks and crevices where silverfish and their eggs could be located. It’s best to use these devices in conjunction with insect traps, dust, and powders.

Try to handle recurring infestation on your own: If your silverfish infestation keeps appearing then you need to ask yourself, are you the best person to deal with the job yourself. If you have tried and failed to remove an infestation or the infestation is just too large then it’s probably time to call a qualified and competent professional.

Using Insecticides to kill silverfish yourself without researching these products: Without proper research you may be buying a potentially hazardous item to both your home and your family. That is why it is always advisable to get professional advice before using some chemicals you can buy online or at the local shop.

Frequently Asked Questions About Silverfish

For the section of this guide, we put together a list of the most popular questions on the internet regarding Silverfish as well as their answers.

If your particular silverfish question wasn’t answered in the sections above, check the below FAQs

Should you need anything else answered? Leave a comment down below and we’ll add the answer to this section here.

How to detect whether I have Silverfish?  Look for adult silverfish scurrying around your house or signs of egg in your clothes, bathrooms, pantry, wardrobes and, bookshelves.

What do silverfish look like? Adult silverfish are 10-18 mm in length and are Silver to brown in color with 6 legs and two antennae. They are oval and elongated in shape and live between 3-8 years.

What do silverfish look like? Adult silverfish are 10-18 mm in length and are Silver to brown in color with 6 legs and two antennae. They are oval and elongated in shape and live between 3-8 years.

Where do silverfish come from? Generally, silverfish will come from other infected items you bring in to your home. Rarely will they just crawl into your home through windows or doors unless there is an infestation near your house.

Where do silverfish hide? Silverfish are great at hiding in small spaces and are nocturnal in nature. Check the in cracks and crevices in rooms and in baseboards as well as in bathrooms and bookshelves.

Who covers the cost of silverfish extermination, the tenant or landlord? The answer to this varies from country to country and state to state as well as who is at fault for introducing the silverfish into the dwelling (especially multi-unit housing). If you are a tenant worried about the cost of a potential silverfish infestation, renter’s insurance may be able to cover the costs – so check your policy.

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.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts on getting rid of silverfishSo there you go, how to get rid of silverfish, a complete guide.

In case you missed it, we covered how to prevent silverfish, how to identify silverfish, and the steps to get rid of silverfish.

Silverfish can be invasive insects with exception hiding skills as they love dark spaces. Don’t be overwhelmed by them if you encounter any as you check your home.

Just follow the steps laid out in the guide above and you’ll be prepared for an infestation should you spot any silverfish in your home. In case you want a quick summary here are our top tips:

  • Killing adult silverfish is easy with sprays and traps, but it’s their eggs that can hang around for long periods and hidden in hard to reach places so make sure you use the right products to remove silverfish eggs.
  • Natural insecticides are not the best long term extermination method for getting rid of silverfish
  • Maintain an environment in your home that deters the increase in population growth of silverfish infestations. This means cleaning regularly and knowing how to spot the signs of a silverfish infestation.
  • Because their eggs are microscopic severe silverfish infestations require professional treatment to ensure you remove a silverfish population.
  • Avoid cowboy exterminators, make sure you vet and compare more than just the one service and be wary of exterminators that promise results in one treatment, you need to ensure that they come back for a full inspection of the results of their extermination.

Other Silverfish Guides

Curious about other silverfish guides? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your silverfish problem today.

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