Are Silverfish Dangerous?



It looks like something out of a Ridley Scott horror film, so naturally you would think that silverfish are dangerous. Well, you would only be partly right. These alien looking silver bugs do pose a threat but not in the way you might think.

Do silverfish bite? Yes! - But not humans. Silverfish eat paper, photos, book bindings, wallpaper, draperies, glue, carpet, clothing, sugar, coffee, hair, dandruff, and several other unsavory things. Here are some of the ways this may affect you.

  • If you have important documents, silverfish can ruin your day. There is nothing worse than pulling a birth certificate out of the filing cabinet and finding half the words missing.

  • If you store photos in the attic or basement, your memories could be in danger. Silverfish like humid places and they are known to deface photos--quite literally.

  • If you don't like waking up with bugs in your hair or crawling around on your hairbrush in the bathroom, you probably don't want silverfish in your home. Not only do silverfish eat hair and dandruff, they are also drawn to the moisture of your bathroom.

  • If you have wallpaper in your home, you may wake up with large surface patches chewed away. Not only do silverfish like paper and glue, these are nocturnal creatures that can do quite a bit of damage in the time it takes you to get your beauty sleep.

  • If you have clothing stored in a closet or attic space, those silverfish could leave your favorite shirt or pants looking like Swiss cheese, and if you think those cardboard storage boxes are going to keep them out, you might want to think again. Silverfish love cardboard as well.

  • Do you collect books? It can be quite a disheartening experience to pull a book out of the bookcase and realize that half the cover image is gone or the pages are coming out because the binding has been chewed.

  • If creepy, alien-looking bugs freak you out, you probably don't want silverfish running around your home. These bugs move very quickly and their ghastly, shiny appearance can be quite disturbing to some.

  • If silverfish get into your food storage areas, they can present a contamination danger. These bugs are not known to carry diseases, but like many insect pests they can walk around in areas of harmful bacteria, like your trash, and then carry those bacteria to food prep surfaces, silverware drawers, or food storage areas. The pantry is a particular threat because this is a bug that chews through paper and cardboard.

So, as you can see, silverfish have the potential to be dangerous. If you've discovered silverfish in your home, contact a professional. These bugs are hard to exclude without knowledge and experience. If you live in Montgomery County, Howard County or elsewhere in our Maryland, Northern Virginia and  Washington D.C. service area, contact American Pest for help getting rid of silverfish. We've been protecting homes, businesses, and government property since 1925. We'd love to help you protect yours.


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