Why Am I Getting Silverfish?

Have you started to notice mysterious, tiny bugs around your home? Chances are, you’ve got an infestation of silverfish. Silverfish are small, silvery-grey critters that resemble fish and are found in homes all across the world. While silverfish aren’t harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance and cause damage to your home and belongings. In this article, we will discuss why you are getting silverfish, common causes of silverfish infestations, signs of a silverfish infestation, prevention and control strategies, and when you should call in a professional exterminator.

Silverfish are among the oldest of all living insects. These fast-moving, wingless insects are often seen scurrying around dark corners and damp, humid areas. Silverfish are nocturnal creatures and don’t like the light, so they are often seen at night. They feed on a variety of items around the home, including paper, clothing, linens, wallpaper, starch, and even glue.

Silverfish are also known as “bristletails” because of the three long bristles at the end of their tails. They are usually silver or light grey in color, but can also be blue, brown, or black. They can range in size from 1/4-3/4 of an inch in length and have two antennae and three long tails.

Since silverfish prefer damp, humid environments, they can become a problem for homeowners. If left unchecked, they can cause significant damage to fabrics, wallpaper, books, and other items around the home. The presence of silverfish can also signal a larger pest problem and increase the chances of mold and mildew growth in your home.

In the sections that follow, we’ll discuss the common causes of silverfish infestations, signs of a silverfish infestation, prevention and control strategies, and when you should call a professional exterminator.

Common Causes of Silverfish Infestations

Silverfish infestations can be caused by a variety of factors. Poor sanitation, lack of moisture control, poor ventilation, and clutter are some of the most common causes. Understanding these issues can help homeowners identify and prevent silverfish problems before they get out of hand.

Poor Sanitation

Silverfish thrive in environments that are not regularly cleaned or maintained. They require moisture to survive, so it’s important to reduce areas of standing water or other sources of dampness to reduce the chances of an infestation. Areas such as the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom are especially vulnerable because of their high levels of humidity. Without regular cleaning, these areas can provide the perfect habitat for silverfish.

Lack of Moisture Control

Moisture control is an essential part of preventing an infestation. Humid areas attract silverfish, as they need a higher humidity level to survive. Controlling the humidity levels in your home can make it an inhospitable environment for silverfish. Investing in a dehumidifier or using fans to keep the air circulating can help reduce moisture levels.

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation can also contribute to the problem. Without proper circulation, the air can become damp and stagnant, providing an ideal breeding ground for silverfish. Ensure that rooms are properly ventilated by opening windows when possible and using fans to keep air moving.


Clutter can also be a contributing factor in a silverfish infestation. Silverfish feed on paper and cardboard, so any clutter made of these materials can attract them. Discarding of clutter and other paper products can help reduce the chances of an infestation.

By understanding the common causes of silverfish infestations, homeowners can be better prepared to prevent and control them. Taking the proper measures to reduce humidity and moisture in the home, cleaning regularly, and discarding of clutter can all help reduce the chances of an infestation.

Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

One of the telltale signs of silverfish infestations is the presence of the insects themselves. They are small, wingless, and grey-silver in color. They have three long, bristle-like antennae and two long, thin antennae on their head. Silverfish move quickly and prefer dark, damp areas. So, if you’re seeing silverfish in your home, it’s likely that you have an infestation.

Another sign of a silverfish infestation is damage to fabrics and wallpaper. Silverfish feed on carbohydrates and proteins, including the glue that holds wallpaper and the fibers in fabrics. The damage they cause appears as small, irregular holes in the wallpaper or fabric.

In addition to damage to fabrics and wallpaper, silverfish can leave behind droppings. These are small, black, and cylindrical-shaped. They can be found near the silverfish hiding places such as walls and closets.

Finally, silverfish leave behind shed skins. These are the silver-grey exoskeletons that silverfish shed as they grow. You can find these around the edges of carpets and in dark corners.

These are some of the signs of silverfish infestations. If you see any of these signs, it is likely that you have a silverfish infestation and should take steps to get rid of them.

Prevention and Control

Silverfish infestations can be prevented and controlled with an integrated pest management approach. This means taking a proactive approach and reducing the factors that attract and provide sustenance to silverfish.

First, homeowners should strive to lower the humidity levels in their homes. High levels of humidity attract silverfish and provide them with enough moisture to survive. Reduce humidity with dehumidifiers or exhaust fans in areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

Second, regular cleaning is key to preventing and controlling silverfish infestations. Silverfish feed on starchy materials like paper and fabrics, so it’s important to clean these items regularly. Vacuuming and dusting should be done often to reduce the amount of food sources available.

Third, discard of any cardboard boxes and paper clutter in the home. Silverfish will feed on the glue and paper in these items so it’s important to get rid of them.

Fourth, seal up any cracks and crevices in the home. Silverfish can fit through small openings and may come in through these points of entry. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal up any openings.

Finally, use over-the-counter pesticide sprays to kill off silverfish. These sprays may contain pyrethrin, cyfluthrin, or permethrin. Make sure to read and follow all label instructions when using these products.

By following these tips, homeowners can prevent and control silverfish infestations in their homes. It’s important to remember that finding a single silverfish does not necessarily mean an infestation. However, if the problem persists, a professional extermination may be necessary.

Professional Extermination

Once it is clear that you are dealing with a silverfish infestation, you may decide to try to tackle the problem yourself. However, if the problem is beyond your control, calling a professional exterminator may be the best solution. Professional exterminators have the experience and expertise to identify and eradicate the problem quickly and effectively.

When it comes to silverfish infestations, timing is critical. The longer you wait to call a professional, the greater the damage and risk of spreading. Professional exterminators can identify the source of the infestation and use specialized treatments to eradicate the problem. They will also identify any conditions that may have contributed to the infestation and take steps to prevent future infestations.

There are many benefits to hiring a professional exterminator when dealing with a silverfish infestation. Professional exterminators are trained to identify the species of silverfish present, the severity of the infestation, and the most effective methods of exterminating them. Professional exterminators also have access to a wide range of insecticides that are far more powerful and effective than those available to the general public. Professional exterminators are also experts in applying insecticides safely and precisely, reducing the risk of health hazards and environmental damage.

When hiring a professional exterminator, make sure to ask about their approach to silverfish extermination. Be sure to ask about the insecticides they use, as well as the safety of their methods. Also, be sure to ask about the cost of their services and any guarantees they may offer.

Professional exterminators may also recommend preventative measures to help prevent future infestations. This may include changes in the home environment, such as improving ventilation or reducing the humidity levels. They may also recommend sealing up any potential entry points to the home, such as cracks and crevices.

It is important to note that there may be potential health risks associated with the use of strong insecticides. If you have any concerns, it is important to discuss them with your professional exterminator before they begin the extermination process.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to get rid of your silverfish problem quickly and effectively. Professional extermination is often the best way to ensure that your home is free from silverfish infestations.


Silverfish infestations can cause a lot of damage to your home, but with the right precautions and treatments, you can easily avoid them. Understanding the causes of silverfish infestations, being aware of the common signs, and taking preventive measures can help you keep your home free from silverfish.

If you already have a silverfish infestation, it is important to act quickly and contact a professional exterminator. An experienced pest control specialist can assess the extent of the infestation and provide you with the best solutions for eradicating the silverfish. Professional treatments may involve using pesticides, insecticides, baits, and traps, so it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with these treatments.

In summary, silverfish infestations are a serious issue that can cause a significant amount of damage to your home if left unchecked. Taking preventive measures such as maintaining proper humidity levels, regularly cleaning and decluttering your home, and sealing any cracks and crevices is essential for avoiding a silverfish infestation. If an infestation does occur, it is important to contact a professional exterminator to properly address the problem. With the right steps in place, you can keep your home safe from silverfish and protect your valuable belongings.


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