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Silverfish

Danger/Damage

Silverfish are considered pests due to their consumption and destruction of property. A lover of starch and sugar, Silverfish will destroy book bindings, carpet, clothing, paper, and photos. They will even eat through wallpaper to get to the glue.

Silverfish won’t hurt you, but they can contaminate your food. Silverfish leave their poop behind in your food, so make sure to check for any insects.

As small and harmless looking as they are, Silverfish can be tough to get rid of once they take up residence in your home.

Despite not having any wings, Silverfish move around fairly quickly, making their elusive nature frustrating to homeowners.

You may not spot them right away, but their feeding habits will leave behind traces of their existence with small holes in your wallpaper or in boxes you may have lying around. They can also leave behind yellowish stains on fabrics.


Did you know?

Silverfish are easily recognizable by their silvery-blue color, tail-like appendages, and two-long antennae. They do not have wings, but silverfish are very fast and can dart about searching for food or hiding places.


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Silverfish are often mistaken for cockroaches because they are seen scurrying away quickly at night when the lights come on. But these pests are easily recognizable by their silvery-blue color, tail-like appendages, and two-long antennae. Their abdomens taper at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance.

They have two antennae and three long filamentous appendages at the end of their body. The immature forms generally are pale and lack scales, but take on a gray color as they age. The adult’s size varies between species but is generally between 12-19 mm (1/2 to 3/4”) long.


Silverfish are nocturnal and prefer humid, dark areas like the basement or under the bathroom sink.

They feed on starchy substances such as glue, paper, textiles and will eat bread or biscuit crumbs. However, they can survive in most environments and can go for several weeks without food or water. Silverfish can go up to 300 days without food if water is available.


Silverfish do not breed in or live off garbage and are less likely to carry diseases. A silverfish will lay on average 1-3 eggs per day. The best development occurs at a temperature of 22-27°C (72-80°F) and at a Relative Humidity of 75-97%. Silverfish typically live for two to eight years. Silverfish can live for more than a year without food Developing time (egg-adult) may take 3-4 weeks under ideal conditions, however this may take 2-3 years under poor conditions.


  1. Silverfish can be cannibalistic.
  2. Silverfish do not have wings.
  3. During courting the male silverfish will do a dance with his head and antennae.
  4. Silverfish can survive for weeks without food and water, and more than 300 days if water is available.
  5. Silverfish never stop molting in their lifetime, and will molt every 2 to 3 weeks under ideal conditions.

Do silverfish carry germs and disease organisms?

No. Silverfish usually live in warm and humid places, such as basements, around water pipes and inside linen closets.

Silverfish do not breed in or live off garbage. Therefore, they are less likely to pick up disease-causing organisms on their body.

What do silverfish eat?

Silverfish feed on starchy substances such as glue, paper, and textiles, but they will also eat bread and biscuit crumbs. Silverfish can also be cannibalistic and like protein-based foods such as dead insects and dried meat.

How long do they live?

Silverfish live at least 3 years at a temperature of 21-29°C (70-85°F) and 70-97% RH.

How can I prevent a silverfish?

Where possible, reorganize likely hiding spots on a regular basis, or control and eliminate areas of chronic moisture:

  1. Reduce moisture by fixing leaky plumbing.
  2. Remove or store potential food sources in plastic, sealable containers.
  3. Minimize clutter and clean up all potential food sources.
  4. Vacuum regularly.
  5. Seal all cracks and crevices in areas with silverfish to reduce harbourage and reproduction sites.

What time of the year are silverfish most commonly found?

Silverfish are year-round pests in heat regulated building.

When am I most likely to see silverfish?

Silverfish like the dark. They hide during the day and avoid direct sunlight. If you move an object they are hiding in or under, they will dart out and find another dark hiding place.


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