Interesting Silverfish Facts


silverfish crawling on book

Silverfish are considered a nuisance pest for the most part. They can be harmful to humans that are allergic to silverfish. However, they are more likely to cause damage to your home than to your family. We have put together a list of facts you may find interesting about the silverfish.

You may have seen silverfish dash out from behind furniture with a smooth wavelike motion. Or maybe you've been caught off guard when getting a midnight snack in the kitchen when one climbs up out of the sink drain? These nocturnal pests move quickly, using cracks and crevices to hide in and are they are downright creepy looking. In fact, some have described them as alien looking pests. They eat starchy items and they can do some serious damage to personal belongings, but they are usually not harmful to humans or pets. They do not bite or spread diseases, however, they might feed on the hair follicles and dead skin that you have shed. It is possible for some people to be allergic to silverfish, due to their dried shed scales that combined with dust can be inhaled, causing an allergic reaction.

What Are Silverfish?

These silvery pests are carrot-shaped, have two very long antennae up front, and three antennae-like tails in the back that help them sense what is around them. They are about 1 inch long and have 6 speedy legs that move fast on horizontal surfaces, but they are not very good climbers. Silverfish seek out moisture and are most often found in damp or humid bathrooms, basements, attics or kitchen areas. They will gather around leaky pipes, where condensation is formed, and around plumbing type fixtures. In addition to seeking moisture, silverfish will need to find food to eat. They are attracted to most starches, proteins, and sugars. They tend to damage items like glue, fabrics, books, and paper while they are feeding. They will also ruin wallpaper and get into toothpaste. So if you are seeing them around your bathroom, you'll want to find where they are hiding, and take steps to prevent the infestation from expanding. 

Here are some interesting facts about silverfish:

  • They have been around a long time, which means they probably roamed with dinosaurs

  • They don’t have wings, so they can’t fly

  • They are fast and that keeps them from being squashed by humans or caught by spiders

  • They have scales that help them move like a fish

  • They can live a very long time, an average of  3-6 years

  • They perform an odd dancing and chasing mating ritual

  • They are very hard to get rid of since they are resistant to most insecticides

  • They eat weird food, like books, glue, and wallpaper

  • They can live up to a year without food

How to get rid of silverfish

In order to prevent a silverfish infestation, you will need to fill in all cracks and crevices to block their entry points. Use cedar shavings to deter silverfish and use sachets of cinnamon or cloves around problem areas, like bathrooms and kitchens. Keep your home dry with a dehumidifier, and by fixing leaky pipes. You should also vacuum your home regularly, by moving furniture as you go to get them to come out of hiding and pick up some of the dead skin cells and hair follicles that have collected around your home.

If you're tired of silverfish infestations year after year and do not enjoy sharing your home with these creepy pests, contact American Pest today. We strive to offer effective and efficient pest control services that protect our customers from harmful and nuisance pests. You can count on us in the service areas of Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland. We can handle your silverfish infestation and all of your other pest control needs, don’t hesitate to contact us today!


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