How to Get Rid of Silverfish - MosquitoNix Pest Control

Silverfish are an especially unusual insect whose name derives from their silvery appearance and fish-like movements. Their lighter color often means these bugs go unnoticed for quite some time, which can lead to serious issues for homeowners. Oftentimes, you won't even know you have a silverfish problem until it has gotten out of hand and requires the help of a trained professional. But what are silverfish, and how long have silverfish been around? What can you do about them? Learn more about these ancient creatures and how you can get rid of them with info in our Pest Library and advice from the pros at MosquitoNix®.


Silverfish are wingless insects with long, flattened, teardrop-shaped bodies covered in scales, very long antennae, and bristle-like tails. Their metallic color, which can vary from bluish silver to brownish gray, and the way they wriggle quickly across the floor earned their name, along with their hair-like legs that can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Adults are generally half to three-quarters of an inch long and have a lifespan of two to eight years, depending on their environment. Silverfish are generally quite easy to identify due to their unique characteristics. Look for three, pointed tails that extend into separate directions and their silver color, which is similar to the silver color of many fish.

These nocturnal creatures do not bite, sting or carry diseases, but they eat starches like fabric, paper, books, photos and carpeting. Plus, they can survive for several months without food. Their only defense against predators is speed, and they can outrun most centipedes and spiders. Silverfish cannot run well on smooth, vertical surfaces, making glass jars an ideal trap. This also means you will likely find them stuck in your bathtub. They are one of the oldest creatures on the planet, with fossil evidence showing their existence some 400 million years ago.

Breeding Habits

Silverfish perform an elaborate mating dance before producing eggs. When a male and female first touch each other's antennae, the female runs away. When she returns, the male vibrates his tail while the female stands beside him. Then the male deposits packets of sperm on the female's receptors that she uses later to fertilize her eggs. Females can produce eggs year-round in clusters of two to 20, which take 19 to 60 days to hatch. Nymphs are tiny versions of adult silverfish that mature over two or three months through continuous molting.


Silverfish can be found all over the world, though they prefer to breed in very warm, humid conditions. They are most commonly found in dark, moist areas like forest floors, under rocks and inside rotting logs. In homes, they are usually spotted in damp basements, sinks and showers. Bathrooms are the most common location where you'll find silverfish, though a humid basement will also host them.

Silverfish Infestation Signs

Silverfish like to dwell in dark, damp places like bathrooms, basements, attics and kitchens. They are mostly active at night, so it's best to search for them after the sun goes down and the house is quiet. They will sometimes make their way into storage boxes in sheds or garages, and one of the signs of a silverfish infestation is damage to storage boxes, fabric or paper. You may also see them firsthand in sinks or bathtubs due to their inability to climb up the sides or drop from soffits, ceiling light canisters or skylights. You may also spot their feces, which looks like course pepper.

Silverfish thrive in moist or humid environments. To prevent silverfish from entering your home, consider getting a dehumidifier, repairing any leaky pipes and ensuring that your home is free from damp items like moldy or wet wood. You're likely to find silverfish as the weather gets warmer and more humid, particularly during spring and summer. If you cannot dehumidify your bathroom or basement, be sure to frequently wash and dry towels and bath mats and remove clutter. Avoid storing items like old books and magazines in areas where these insects like to congregate, such as attics or basements.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in Your Home

Homeowners should take immediate steps to remove silverfish once an infestation has been detected. They can contaminate food and cause damage to items around the house like clothing, wallpaper and books. These pests are difficult to get rid of with DIY methods, which is why we recommend calling MosquitoNix® to learn how to get rid of silverfish once and for all. Get a quote today to learn more about our effective pest control services to eliminate silverfish problems from your home or business.