Silverfish Control – Prevention and Removal Tips

What are silverfish?

Silverfish are small nocturnal insects without wings. These insects are also called urban silverfish, paramites, fringe tail, carpet sharks, tassed tails and fish moths. The name silverfish comes from the colors of the animal, which are silver light grey and blue.

Fish moths, or silverfish, can reach large numbers and they can thrive in people’s homes. When this happens, you need to take some measures for eliminating the infestation, controlling these insects and preventing them from infesting your home again.

What do they eat and how do they behave?

Silverfish eat different items that are normally found in a household, such as shampoos, paper, glue, photographs, wallpaper paste, clothing starch, cotton, linen, leather, rayon fabrics, cereals, wheat flour, dried meats and dead insects. These tiny insects can live up to one year without food in ideal conditions, with the proper humidity levels and temperature, like fireplaces, heat pipes and furnaces. The behavior of silverfish is similar to the ones of cockroaches. Speed is used as a mean of defense and this is the reason for which you will see fish moth running a lot when they feel threatened.

What are their reproduction habits?

A ritual is involved in the reproduction of silverfish that consists of three phases. With their antennae trembling, the two genders are positioned face to face (first phase). The two insects back off and then they return to their initial position.

The female chases the male while he runs (second phase). In the third phase, the two genders stand side-by-side and head-to-tail. The male is vibrating his tail and releases a sperm capsule that the female receives into her body. Up to sixty eggs are deployed by the female in one round. Whitish nymphs come out of the hatched eggs.

What do silverfish look like?

Silverfish have an appearance that people may consider ugly. When you move your furniture, when you take your carpets off or when you clean your bathroom, you see these tiny insects running around. They prefer the dark, but they can be caught by surprise when you turn on the lights.

With a body length of thirteen to thirty millimeters, silverfish have an external skeleton and this allows them to only walk on horizontal surfaces. You will not see them on walls, but on the floor. If you would touch one of these insects, you would feel like they are soft.

Where do silverfish come from?

Fish moth are rarely found in natural settings, because they mostly live indoors. They come into your home in a variety of ways. Silverfish can come from the area around your home’s foundation, but they can also be brought with various products.

They come in homes in search for a place where they can find food and water. Outdoors, silverfish moth live under rocks, leaves, mold, and bark. Silverfish will also take up residence inside the nests of birds or mammals. Ant and termite nests are also common places for silverfish to hang out. In our homes, they are considered a pest and people try to get rid of them.

Can silverfish hurt people or pets?

Silverfish are not harmful in the way people may think. They do not hurt humans and pets, but they can cause a lot of damage in homes. They don’t bite or sting like other insects. However, they can destroy clothes, books, wallpapers and items, because these items are their food source.

This is why they are considered a threat to any home. Just because these insects look hideous, it doesn’t mean they are venomous. They don’t carry diseases and they flee to safety when they feel threatened.

Signs of silverfish infestations

When you have often encounters with these little creatures, this may be a first sign that you are dealing with a silverfish infestation. You may spot the insects in your bathtub, bookcase shelves, garage, sinks, attics and any other humid and dark place in your home.

Paramites can stain your clothes with yellowish stains, wallpapers and books can look like they are chewed and you may find holes in wallpapers. Even if you have seen a few of these insects, there are probably much more hidden. They also leave excrement traces everywhere and these look a lot like black pepper.

How to prevent and control silverfish?

One of the first things that anyone can do to prevent fish moth from entering their homes, but also to deal with an already existing infestation is to buy a dehumidifier. When the moisture level in your home decreases, you make this environment less attractive to the insects.

Another way to discourage silverfish is to keep areas under your fridge and stove lighted. There are various ways to control silver fish, such as traps and baits or the use of insecticide and repellents.

Traps and Baits

You can build your own traps. A good example can be the one in which you use a jar wrapped in tape in which you place a piece of bread. The insects will get in and eat the bread, but they will not be able to get out.

There are also traps that you can buy in stores. Another way to trap silverfish can be to use a rolled newspaper and band its ends with elastic. Then you need to moist the newspaper and leave it as a bait. After the insects have started to eat it, burn it outside.

Can cockroach sprays kill silverfish?

Silverfish are insects and if the spray is strong enough to kill cockroaches, it is good to kill silverfish. But, killing these insects with spray is not enough. First, make the environment unsuitable for them and use pesticides after.

Instead of just using the spray, it is better to make sure that the insects don’t have easy access to a food source. Even if you can read on the spray’s recipient that it only kills cockroaches, people who have used cockroach sprays on fish moth have said that fish moth died and they haven’t returned for months.

Get professional help to solve your silverfish problem here.

Residential Silverfish Control

If you don’t want to do the control yourself, you can rely on the services of a firm that deals with residential silverfish through pest control. Some of these company can handle different types of insects, so you must make sure they include fish moth control in their list of services. These firms know the needs of their customers and can do anything that they can to help you get rid of the insects in your home. They will perform an inspection of your home and they will choose the right methods for helping you to get rid of silverfish.

Do-It-Yourself silverfish control

For minor silverfish problems you can usually take care of the problem yourself, but it just depends on the degree of the infestation. It is usually cheaper to at least attempt to kill the silverfish in your home by yourself before contacting a professional. Silverfish are rarely harmful and are not likely to harm your home, so go ahead and give one of the DIY methods a try. If they do not work for the silverfish in your house, then contact a silverfish control professional for quotes or estimates.

Diatomaceous Earth for silverfish

Scrub Diatomaceous Earth into drawers and floor then clean vacuum up and or clean off with mop or rags.

Commercial Silverfish Control

Some companies also deal with commercial pest control, which means that they can provide their services to offices and other commercial-type of buildings that are infested with silverfish. Offices can become infested too, especially because there is a lot of paper involved and they can also have bathrooms and kitchens.

Your commercial property will be inspected and the best course of action will be decided. It is best to rely on the help of professionals than to deal with the problem yourself. Commercial buildings can be much harder to deal with, especially because the space can be much larger.


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I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and attempt to share everything I learn at to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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