What Do Silverfish Eat? Information on Their Diet and What Attracts Them in Your Home.

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what do silverfish eat

What Do Silverfish Eat? Information on Their Diet and What Attracts Them in Your Home.

We recently found lots of silverfish in every room in our house and were wondering how they were able to thrive in every room. So we started wondering what is attracting silverfish in our home as they must be feeding on something. So we did some research and here is what we found out.

So, what do silverfish eat? Silverfish thrive on a diet based on protein and polysaccharides, which is a biochemistry term for carbohydrate (e.g. starch, cellulose, or glycogen). They need carbohydrates to survive and require protein to grow. Silverfish eat anything from, glue in books, paper, grains, dead skin, dandruff, sugar, fat residue, breadcrumbs, cereals, seeds, dead insects, cotton and linen.

To help, we have outlined some more information on what silverfish eat and what they may look for in every room in your house as well as a quick guide on how to get rid of Silverfish when you find them.

What are Silverfish and What do they Eat

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.

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.

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

Their diets are fairly simple and they eat protein-based items and carbohydrates. Below is a list of where you might find silverfish in your house and what they might be feeding and eating on with some useful tips for protecting your home and possessions from them:

KitchenLiving roomBathroomBedroom
  • cereal
  • flour
  • grains
  • pasta
  • Beans
  • Pet hair
  • dry pet food
  • Wallpaper
  • Books
  • curtains,
  • Carpets
  • Linen
  • Cotton
  • Pet hair
  • shampoo
  • Human hair
  • dandruff
  • cotton
  • damp clothing
  • toothpaste
  • cotton
  • linen
  • silk
  • rayon
  • Stained clothes
  • Starch on clothes
  • Human hair
Helpful Tip: Store dry goods in air-tight plastic containers. Helpful Tip: Keep valuable books in a dry room don’t forget to vacuum Helpful Tip: Control humidity by using bathroom fans and turn it on after showers or baths. Helpful Tip: Store valuable clothing in sealed packages or containers.

What Do Silverfish Eat in Bathrooms

Silverfish thrive in warm and humid conditions, which is ideal for their growing needs as well as a perfect environment for mating and eggs to hatch. There is no better place for these conditions than found in your bathroom.

Bathrooms contain an abundance of food sources for Silverfish and they will eat the following items found in bathrooms like:

  • Shampoo
  • Human hair
  • Dandruff
  • Cotton towels
  • Cotton buds
  • Damp and soiled clothing
  • Toothpaste

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent silverfish in your bathrooms:

  • Control humidity in your bathroom by installing a quality bathroom fan and using it during and after showers or baths. Keep humidity in your bathroom below 75% and temperatures below 25°C or 77°F when possible.
  • Make sure you ventilate bathrooms during and after showering, either by opening windows or using extractors and bathroom fans you have installed.
  • Make sure all cracks in bathroom walls, floor tiles, and skirting/base-boards are filled in and there are no spaces for Silverfish to hide in or lay eggs.
  • If you have a laundry basket in your bathroom make sure to use a sealable plastic laundry basket instead of a whicker or fabric-based one. This helps to prevent Silverfish as they are attracted to damp and soiled clothes, which is also another source of food for them.
  • Keep your bathroom floors and surfaces clean as much as possible because Silverfish thrive on dandruff, dead skin and hair. We all know there can be lots of this in our bathrooms sometimes.

What Do Silverfish Eat in your Kitchen

Silverfish thrive in areas where there is an abundance of food and where better to find this than in your kitchen as this is where you store your food.

Added to the fact that you are cooking in this room and this increases the temperature and will release condensation as you boil or fry your food, which creates perfect conditions for Silverfish to live.

So it is no surprise that you may find Silverfish in your kitchen and you will find that they will eat the following items in your kitchen:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Flour,
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Sugary spills
  • Dry pet food
  • Pet hair

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent silverfish in your Kitchen:

  • Control humidity in your kitchen by installing an extractor fan above your kitchen cooker and using it when you are cooking, boiling or frying your food.Try to keep the humidity in your kitchen below 75% and temperatures below 25°C or 77°F when possible.
  • Open windows when possible as this will help ventilate your kitchen during and after cooking as well as keeping the temperature low.
  • Make sure all cracks in kitchen walls, kitchen tiles, and skirting/base-boards are sealed and there are hiding places for Silverfish to use these as a home or lay eggs in.
  • If you have a laundry basket or waste paper bins in your Kitchen make sure they are made from sealed plastic and have a firm lid that is not left open all the time.Silverfish are attracted to damp and soiled clothes as well as rotting or leftover food, which are perfect sources of carbohydrates and protein that are staples of their diets.
  • Store your dried food sources like cereal, flour, pasta, pet food, and pet treats in plastic airtight containers. Just don’t leave food out in the open for any insect to feed on.
  • Keep your kitchen floors and surfaces clean where possible as Silverfish thrive on, human and animal hair and fatty or sugary residues we may spill on kitchen floors or countertops. We all know how messy our kitchens get from time to time.
  • Keep your eyes peeled when bringing food packaging and paper into your home as Silverfish can easily hitch a ride into your house inside a cardboard box containing food. So be extra vigilant when you bring your shopping into your home.

What Do Silverfish Eat in your Bedroom

Your bedroom can be an ideal place for silverfish to thrive in as there is an abundance of potential food sources and a cozy environment for silverfish to live and produce offspring.

So it is no surprise that you may find Silverfish in your bedroom and you will find that they will eat the following items in your bedroom:

  • Cotton bed sheets and clothes
  • Wallpaper
  • Curtains made from cotton, linen, and silk
  • Clothes stained with sugary spills
  • Clothes that have been treated with starch
  • Photographs
  • Books
  • Animal hair
  • Pet hair
  • Leftover food

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent silverfish in your Kitchen:

  • Vacuum your floor, drawers, and cupboards regularly to catch any silverfish and remove dust, hair, dandruff and dead skin as these are potential food sources for silverfish.
  • Keep your room well ventilated and not too warm as any damp problems can increase humidity to levels that Silverfish thrive in. Try to keep humidity in your bedroom below 75% and temperatures below 25°C or 77°F when possible.
  • If you have a habit of eating food in your room and not clearing away any food waste or packaging then change this habit as silverfish will thrive of any leftovers or forgotten about plates, cups and food packaging.
  • If you have items of clothes that you cherish and can’t live without or you still have that special dress or suit hanging in the wardrobe – store them properly in sealed hanging bags or plastic airtight containers made for clothes storage.
  • If you have a laundry basket in your bedroom use a sealable plastic version instead of a whicker or fabric-based one. This helps to prevent Silverfish as they are attracted to damp and soiled clothes, which is also another source of food for them.
  • Seal any cracks in walls and skirting/base-boards as these are hiding places for Silverfish to use these as a home or lay eggs in.

What Do Silverfish Eat in your Living Rooms

If you are anything like us at home, we keep a lot of books and magazines in our living room and we love a roaring fire in the winter. We were surprised to learn that living rooms can also be a great place for silverfish to relax and grow.

The Silverfish diet consists of paper and fabrics so it is no surprise that you may find Silverfish in your living room as they will eat the following items in your living room:

  • Paper in your magazines and books
  • Photographs if not protected by glass frames
  • Glue in book bindings and wallpaper
  • Wallpaper
  • Silk throws and cushions
  • Cotton cushions, blankets, and curtains
  • Wool blankets
  • Linen curtains
  • Carpets
  • Pet hair on carpets and furniture
  • Human hair on carpets and furniture

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent silverfish in your Living Room:

  • Keep your carpets, curtains and fabric-based furniture clean and vacuumed from your pet hair, your own hair and any food and drink residue as Silverfish thrive on, human and animal hair and fatty or sugary residues that may have spilled on these items.
  • Keep any loose piles of magazines and loose books in a protected airtight container as silverfish will make these items there home and a main food source if they are just piled up in a corner in the living room.
  • If you love your book collection or they are valuable, make sure to keep the room dry and at a low temperature to make it an unfriendly environment to Silverfish. We wouldn’t go as far as to say as never use your fireplace but just keep an eye on humidity levels above 75% and temperatures above 25°C or 77°F as this is perfect Silverfish conditions.
  • If you often purchase second-hand books or take out loans from the local library carefully inspect them before bringing them into your home to ensure the pages and bindings don’t have silverfish damage or silverfish hiding in the book.

What Do Silverfish Eat in your Basement, Attic and garage

Basements, attics, and garages are usually perfect environments for silverfish because they are often warm, humid, dark and used as a place to store items that Silverfish can use as a food source.

Silverfish will eat the following items in your Basement, Attic and garage:

  • Cardboard
  • Documents
  • Photographs
  • Insulation
  • Stored clothes

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent silverfish in your Basement, Attic and garage:

  • These areas are often left unchecked for long periods of time and as a result, are great places for Silverfish to grow. So be sure to leave silverfish traps around the place to keep an eye on any silverfish population or signs of silverfish, check and replace them regularly.
  • Make sure there are no damp spots in these areas if so take action to get the humidity levels under control in the summer months and fix any damp issues you may have as soon as you can.
  • Try to avoid using cardboard boxes where possible and opt for plastic box storage with lids. If you can only use cardboard make sure you wrap cardboard boxes in clingfilm if you have a known silverfish infestation or can’t get a handle on it. Be sure to check for silverfish in these boxes beforehand.
  • Don’t leave books, old photographs, documents, and papers in open piles. Keep them in airtight plastic boxes with a lid on it if possible.
  • Don’t leave sacks and bags of clothes open. Try and keep them in airtight plastic boxes were possible with a lid on it.
  • Make sure there are no damp spots in these areas if so take action to get the humidity levels under control in the summer months and fix any damp issues you may have as soon as you can.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in your Home

Although we’ve shared great tips for protecting every room in your house and helping you prevent silverfish from eating your clothes, prized possesions, precious documents, and photographs, you may want to take further steps to get rid of any silverfish you may have found.

So here are more ways to get rid of silverfish in your home:

    • Use Silverfish traps: Place traps around rooms where you find signs of silverfish especially in the corners of these rooms and areas where there is an abundance of food that silverfish will be attracted to.Once you have caught any dispose of them according to the instructions on the trap package and don’t reuse.

      When buying silverfish traps make sure you know what they contain as some are natural, whereas others contain pesticides.

      If you are struggling to know the pros and cons of natural vs chemical traps, well we created a guide on the best traps for getting rid of silverfish here.

 

    • Use pesticides: When using a pesticide, make sure it contains liquid pyrethrin as this is ideal for getting rid of silverfish.Just be careful where you use these sprays though as it may not be suitable to be used in your kitchen and pantry, as well as anywhere children and pets can access because it is very toxic.

      Make sure to wear a face mask when using it and be extra careful to make sure your pets or children do not come into contact with it. This powder is toxic and inhaling it will require immediate medical attention.

      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. That is why we have created a guide on the best sprays for getting rid of silverfish here.

 

  • Get professional help: If you can’t get a handle on it and these pesky insects keep appearing, you may feel you need professional help from a pest exterminator.If this is the case, be sure to check out our complete guide on how to choose a pest exterminator and make sure you are hiring the right professionals.

Related Questions

Do Silverfish Fly? No, Silverfish do not fly. They are unable to even attempt to fly as they don’t have wings. They do have the ability to move very fast and have six legs, which help them run very quickly.

Where Do Silverfish Lay Eggs? Silverfish usually lay eggs in cracks and crevices where there is little light and there is a safe and quiet environment. Silverfish lay anywhere from 1-4 eggs at a time and can lay up to 100 eggs in their lifetime.

Do Silverfish Bite? Silverfish do not bite animals or humans They may cause rashes or itchy areas on your skin if you come in to contact with them. They have been known to eat smaller Silverfish if they don’t have an abundance of food but they will not bite you.

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