How To Eliminate Silverfish At Home (Columbia, SC Exterminators)

July 20, 2020

What are silverfish? No, they’re not sea creatures, as their names might suggest. They are tiny insects that could bring disastrous damages to your property and belongings. To know how to eliminate them, let’s get to know them better.

silverfish on bathroom wall

Silverfish are insects that have elongated, flat bodies and resemble an upside-down teardrop. Their colors vary from greyish to brownish with a scaly metallic silver cover. They have three pairs of legs, two antennae, and three tails. Silverfishes have two compound eyes that are very unique unlike other species of zygentoma that are eyeless. Another factor that distinguishes them from other insects is their bodies that are covered with tiny hair-like spikes.

Their movement is likened to the swimming of fish, hence their name. These insects are nocturnal pests. Meaning, they forage for food at night. At the first sign of movement or light, they run swiftly into hiding making them very difficult to spot.

Habitat & Diet

The silverfish's favorite spots include moist, dim, and damp places. Bathrooms, attics, kitchens, and basements are usually their places to go to.

They feed on any items that have cellulose and carbohydrates. That includes your books, glues, photographs, clothes, newspapers, and dry foods. But it's also known that they can survive a year with water alone.


Interestingly, a ritual courting will take place before mating. At first, both stand in front of each other. They tap each other's antennae, then back off. The silverfish do this repeatedly. After that, the male will run off and the female quickly follows. They stand alongside each other while the male quivers his tail against the female. Lastly, the male will lay a sperm capsule called a spermatophore. The female then takes the capsule and places it into her ovipositor for the fertilization of her eggs.

A female silverfish can lay  2-5 eggs every day. It can even reach up to 20 eggs at once. In her lifetime, the female silverfish can lay 100 egg.

The eggs hatch within 2-8 weeks. From there emerges the nymph. The nymph is similar to adults. The only differences are their size and their whitish color. They will undergo a molting process of which they gain their greyish silver color. The nymphs will continue to molt even after reaching adulthood. A silverfish can even molt 60 times in its lifetime. The environment greatly affects their lifespan and could reach eight years in ideal conditions.

Do They Harm People And Pets?

Silverfish may look like an alien species, but these tiny critters do not bite or sting. They are not vectors of any illness-causing organisms so they do not transmit any diseases. However, studies have shown that proteins found in their exoskeleton could trigger hypersensitivity reactions. Also, these insects fall prey to other insects such as cockroaches, spiders, and centipedes and may attract them to enter your homes. 

How To Get Rid Of Them

When there is a minor silverfish sighting, most people instantly resort to pesticides. Little do they know how harmful these chemicals are. It could lead to various diseases such as lung and kidney disease, skin infections, brain damage, and many more. So, if you were to get rid of pests, you have to weigh your choices before you choose using pesticides.

In minor infestations, you can always use DIY procedures to eliminate and prevent silverfishes. Here are a few ways to keep silverfish out of your home

Keep Moisture At A Minimum

Silverfishes flourish mostly in moist and humid places. Removing this factor could make them scramble away in search of a new place to live. Make sure that rooms are well ventilated by opening windows. You could also buy dehumidifiers for your basement or attics.

Don't forget to fix leaky drains and pipes. Check if downspouts and gutters are in good condition to effectively drain rainwater. Water could easily enter through cracks. These crevices could also be their entry point so make sure to fix them up. 

Use Cedar Shavings

Studies have proven that the scent of cedar is very repulsive to silverfish. You can place cedar shavings at places you think they hide like bookshelves and drawers. You could also use cedar oil, mix it with water and spray across the rooms.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are used as a flavoring for stews, soup, sauces, and other dishes. While this is ambrosiac to humans, it is a repellent to silverfish.  To use, simply lay down bay leaves all your home.  You can also place them strategically around your bookshelves and cabinets where these pests are common. 

Don’t Share Your Food With Them

Silverfishes are attracted to carbohydrates. This includes pasta, wheat, and flour. If you want to save your food for human consumption, do not just leave them open for any pest to infest. As much as possible store your food in tightly sealed containers. Don’t leave dishes in the kitchen sink and sweep food crumbs on the floor.

If you want to eliminate pests, it pays off to invest in a vacuum cleaner. Not only will this help eliminate the food crumbs in cracks and crevices but also eliminates the eggs and nymphs of silverfishes. Regularly use the vacuum to keep your home clean. Remember to eliminate the contents of the vacuum bag immediately. This helps prevent any egg from hatching and any nymph from molting inside the bag. 

Cover Dog Food

If you have pests indoors into cash and give them treats and food throughout the day, keep these sealed to prevent pest infestations. Dog food is primarily of corn and wheat which of course are forms of carbohydrates.  If you don't store them properly, it becomes the number one attracted to silverfish.  You will be offering them an all-you-can-eat buffet. 

Get Rid Of Papers, Magazines, & Books That You Don’t Need

We cannot deny that it's difficult to let some things go including old magazines and books. If you no longer have plans to read them, don't just store these at home. If you are storing them in the basement or the attic, you are making a perfect habitat for silverfishes to live in. Either you donate these to people in need or you have to strategically arrange these to avoid attracting silverfish. But you have to understand, keeping all of your old materials will need greater maintenance. You have to upscale your methods to eliminate silverfish. 

Store Clothes In A Secure & Dry Area

If you think silverfish only targets your books and food, they can also target your clothes.  Believe it or not, these pests are the number one reason why our clothes are torn and damaged.  To prevent this from happening, keep your clothes in a secure and dry area their Silverfish cannot access.  During rainy days, invest in dehumidifiers to control the moisture inside your cabinets. Thankfully, you can buy these at an affordable price in department stores.  Better yet, you can buy them in bulk in online stores and have them delivered straight to your door. 

Eliminate Clutter

Silverfish do not hide only on bookshelves and cabinets but also clutter.  Regardless of the material, whether plastic or metal, silverfish can utilize this to hide from humans and animals. To prevent them from infesting your home, it's best to keep clutter to a minimum.  Not only will this deter the silverfish but also other pests such as cockroaches, mice, and bed bugs. 

Use Diatomaceous Earth

People have no idea what this powder is or what it does. This is an off-white powder that is used to kill insects and hamper their reproductive activities. It works by destroying the wax that covers the body of silverfish. This dehydrates them and eventually kill them. Take note that there are two types of Diatomaceous Earth, the food-grade and the commercial-grade.

If you're buying the powder for pest control, choose the food-grade DE so it's safe for human contact. To use, simply sprinkle a generous amount of DE on infested surfaces and spread it thinly using a broom or a piece of cloth. Replace this set after two to three days. With consistency, you can hamper the activities of all kinds of pests including silverfish.

If you want more accessible alternatives to DE, you can use salt and baking soda. The process is the same. But you have to remember to apply these generously all over infested areas.

If all else fails, it might be time to call Columbia SC Exterminators. Applying a DIY approach does not guarantee that all inhabiting silverfish in your house will be eliminated. Calling a well-trained individual will increase your chances.

If you are in North Carolina and you're looking for a pest control service that offers high-quality strategies at an affordable price, you came to the right place. Go-Forth Pest Control is one of the best and most outstanding companies in the field of pest control.

With their expertise, you can eliminate all kinds of pests without relying on pesticides in worrying about its effects. This company prides itself on using safe and reliable pest control methods that ensure the health and wellness of people, animals, and the environment. The contact details are here. It's high time for you to call a professional to end all your pest problems. 

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