How to Get Rid of Silverfish Once and For All

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that are more than just an unpleasant sight; they pose a significant problem in many households. Elusive and nocturnal by nature, these pests can cause extensive damage to personal possessions. This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with the knowledge you need on how to get rid of silverfish effectively.

Understanding Silverfish

Silverfish are small, wingless insects typically measuring between 12-19 mm in length. They have a silvery-gray color and a teardrop-shaped body, which make them easily recognizable.

Reproduction and Lifecycle

Silverfish have a surprisingly long lifespan, living up to eight years. Females lay fewer eggs than other insects but make up for it by living longer, thereby infesting your home for an extended period.

Reproduction among silverfish is more prolific in warm, humid conditions. Their ability to lay eggs in various hidden spots around the home can exacerbate infestations.

Habitats and Behaviors

Silverfish are highly adaptable insects that thrive in dark, moist environments. Their preference for such habitats is driven by their need for high humidity, which aids in their survival and reproduction. Here’s a deeper look into their common habitats and behavioral traits:

Common Habitats:

  • Basements: Silverfish find basements appealing due to the often higher humidity levels and the abundance of food sources such as stored papers, boxes, and old books. The relative quiet and darkness also provide a safe haven for them to thrive unnoticed.
  • Attics: Much like basements, attics provide a quiet, undisturbed environment. The presence of cardboard boxes, old clothes, and papers makes attics a conducive habitat for silverfish.
  • Bathrooms: The high moisture levels in bathrooms create a perfect environment for silverfish. They can often be found hiding in cracks, under sinks, or around showers and bathtubs.
  • Kitchens: Silverfish are also attracted to kitchens due to food sources like flour, sugar, and starchy foods. They can find their way into unsealed food containers, causing contamination.

Behavioral Traits:

  • Nocturnal Activity: Being nocturnal creatures, silverfish are most active during the night when the house is quiet. This makes detecting an infestation challenging as they can easily avoid human interaction and continue to multiply in hiding.
  • Scavenging Behavior: Silverfish are scavengers that feed on a wide variety of carbohydrates and proteins. They have a particular liking for materials high in starch, glue, sugar, and cellulose.
  • Fast and Elusive: Silverfish are known for their quick and darting movements which make them difficult to catch. Their flat, slender bodies allow them to squeeze into small cracks and crevices, evading predators and human sight.

Silverfish Diet

Understanding the silverfish diet can provide valuable insights into why they might be attracted to your home. These creatures have a broad diet, feeding on anything from starches and sugars to cellulose. This means that common household items like books, paper, clothing, and even food items like flour and oats are at constant risk. They have a particular fondness for anything starchy or gluey, so you may find them lurking in your kitchen, library, or even your wardrobe.

Impact of Silverfish Infestation

The inconvenience caused by silverfish extends beyond physical damages. Their waste products can act as allergens that may trigger allergic reactions or worsen pre-existing respiratory conditions. Your cherished belongings, such as important documents, photographs, and even your pantry staples, can be at risk due to these pests.

DIY Methods to Eliminate Silverfish


To get rid of silverfish, a multi-pronged approach is often the most effective. Homemade traps, such as starchy baits or wet newspapers, can act as good initial solutions. For example, pieces of bread soaked in beer can attract silverfish, trapping them effectively.

Alternatively, you can roll up a newspaper, moisten it, and place it where you suspect the pests might frequent. Come morning, simply dispose of the newspaper along with the trapped silverfish.

However, for a more enduring solution, consider using natural repellents like:

  • Cedar Shavings: The scent of cedar repels silverfish. Sprinkle cedar shavings in affected areas to deter them.
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils like lavender and peppermint act as natural repellents.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth in infested areas. It dehydrates the silverfish, causing them to die.

In more severe infestations, you may have to resort to commercial traps, boric acid, or even chemical pesticides. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using these potent substances.

Preventive Measures

As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. To prevent these common pests do the following:

  • Maintaining Cleanliness – A clean home is less inviting to silverfish. Maintaining a clean and dry environment can deter silverfish from making your home theirs.
  • Storing Food Properly – Use airtight containers for storing food to discourage infestation.
  • Sealing Small Cracks – Seal up small cracks and crevices around your home to prevent entry.
  • Addressing Moisture Problems – Use dehumidifiers to manage moisture levels.
  • Removing Other Food Sources – Regular vacuuming can help remove crumbs and other potential food sources.
  • Wall Maintenance and Home Temperature – A well-ventilated and warm home is less attractive to silverfish.

Get Help From The Pros at On Demand

Understanding how to get rid of silverfish involves knowing their characteristics, what attracts them, and the best methods to eliminate them. With consistent effort and preventive measures, you can maintain a silverfish-free home. Take action today for a cleaner, safer living environment.

Facing a relentless silverfish invasion? The expertise of On Demand Pest Control is just a call away. Our seasoned technicians extend their services throughout Southeast and Southwest Florida, covering cities like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Delray Beach, and Coral Springs.

With a thorough understanding of silverfish behavior and effective extermination methods, we stand ready to restore the comfort and safety of your home. Don’t let silverfish wreak havoc on your cherished possessions. Reach out to On Demand Pest Control and reclaim the peace of your household today!

Call Now Button