Silverfish

silverfish illustration

Silverfish Control: Protect Your Home

Appearance

What Do Silverfish Look Like?
silverfish
Size: The common silverfish is about 1/2 an inch in length, but may grow as long as 3/4 of an inch.

Color: Deriving its name from the color of its body, the silverfish typically appears shiny silver or pearl gray.

Characteristics:

  • Shape: Slender, flat and “carrot shaped,”
  • Tapered: The silverfish body gradually tapers from the front to the rear.
  • Three “tails”: A trio of long, thin, tail-like appendages extend from the rear.
  • Two antennae: The insect also has two long antennae which, when combined with the tail appendages, nearly equal the length of the body.
  • Motion: As the name implies, silverfish are silver or gray insects that move from side to side in a manner that resembles the motions of a swimming fish.

Nocturnal by nature, silverfish are fast-moving but do not possess wings for flight

Food

What Do Silverfish Eat?
Silverfish can go for long periods of time without nourishment. When the pests eat, they tend to prefer foods high in carbohydrates and protein:

  • Cereal grains
  • Dried meat
  • Dead insects
  • Other silverfish

In the home, silverfish may attack and eat the following:

  • Synthetic fabrics
  • Silk
  • Glue contained in book bindings
  • Wallpaper
  • Most paper products

Biology

Silverfish lay their eggs in cool, moist, and dark places, such as cracks, crevices, and other narrow spaces near sources of food.

Read more about the silverfish life cycle.

Detection

  • Hiding spots: Look for silverfish in basements, storage areas, closets, and crawl spaces.
  • Holes: May notice holes at irregular intervals in books or wallpaper, sometimes accompanied by yellow staining.
  • Feces: Remain alert for tiny fecal matter that looks like specks of pepper.
  • Moisture: Silverfish are often found in areas of high moisture, including bathtubs and sinks.

Problems Caused by Silverfish

Primarily just a nuisance, silverfish are not known to transmit any diseases or cause structural damage to homes.

Damage
For the most part, homeowners, museum workers, and librarians detest the creature because of its appetite for:

  • Books
  • Paper
  • Similar artifacts

In these situations, damages can be costly, especially if rare or antique pieces are fed on.

Allergies
Though rare, the accumulation of dead silverfish and their scales may lead to allergic reactions, as well as provide a food source for the damaging carpet beetle.

Signs of Infestation

Outside of seeing the insects scurrying from place to place indoors, the most common sign of a silverfish infestation is the damage they inflict upon:

  • Book bindings
  • Wallpaper
  • Fabrics found around the home.

Holes
The emergence of small, unconnected, and irregular-shaped holes and staining may hint at the presence of the silverfish.

Prevention Tips

  • Environment: As silverfish prefer dark and moist hiding places, eliminating their favorite environmental conditions can help prevent the insects from infesting.
  • Moisture: Reroute drainage away from the home to reduce damp conditions in basements or crawl spaces, keep interior floors clear of debris and use a dehumidifier to lower the relative humidity within the structure.
  • Storage: Keep all dry goods in properly sealed containers, and store books in a moisture-free environment.

Tips for Removal from Home

Traps
Silverfish can be difficult to eliminate with sticky traps and other store-bought baits.

While infestations may not reach large enough numbers to draw notice, the insects are resilient and sometimes return even after they are believed to be eliminated.

Contact the Professionals
To ensure complete eradication from the home, call Western and we’ll come out for a free inspection.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857