Silverfish Facts

Silverfish are wingless, silver-colored insects. The most noticeable characteristic of silverfish is the tiny silver scales that cover their entire body. The adult silverfish is anywhere between three-fourths to two inches long.

The silverfish goes through three stages of life, instead of the characteristic four stages of life that most insects go through.


  • Egg. The silverfish lays eggs all year round. It takes between twenty to forty days for the eggs to hatch.
  • Nymph. After the silverfish hatches, they enter an immature stage called a nymph. The nymph has the same habits as an adult, but is smaller in size and color.
  • Adult. The silverfish goes from egg to adult in just three to four months. The adult silverfish are oval shaped with flat bodies, a long tail and two antennae. Silverfish are white until they reach adulthood when they turn silver. Silverfish can live up to eight years.


Silverfish like damp, dark places in your house. They typically live in basements, laundry rooms or under sinks. Silverfish are chewing insects that can survive without eating for long periods of time, sometimes even a whole year. They nibble on anything that has starch in it like wallpaper, flour, oatmeal, books or other paper goods. Silverfish are nocturnal and like to live in humid regions. They are not dangerous but are definitely a nuisance in your home.

Signs you have silverfish

  • Skins. Silverfish molt during their adult lives. Look for tiny skins left in your basement, under the kitchen sink or behind baseboards in your home.
  • Damaged books. Silverfish like to eat the glue in the binding of books. Check your books for evidence of silverfish.
  • Wallpaper. If you have silverfish, your wallpaper may have small holes in it. These pesky insects chew small holes in wallpaper, cotton and paper goods around your house.
  • Nests and mulch. Sometimes silverfish get inside of bird nests or mulch. They also like wooden shingles or siding.
  • Yellow stains. If you see some small yellow stains on your upholstery or books, this is evidence that you have silverfish.

How to get rid of silverfish

  • Cleaning. One of the simplest ways to control silverfish is to vacuum all areas in your home thoroughly. This will eliminate eggs and nymphs right away.
  • Caulk openings. Caulk all the holes or little opening around pipes and wires in your house. This keeps the silverfish from getting inside.
  • Storage. Store your books and paper goods in a dry area in your home. Keep flour, sugar and other starchy foods in tight containers.
  • House temperature. Change the temperature of your house from warm to cool, especially at night. This is will run the silverfish out of your house since they like warm places.
  • Pest control. If all else fails, call in the professionals to get rid of the silverfish for you. They can use safe chemicals to kill off the silverfish once and for all.

Once the silverfish are gone, be sure to take measures to prevent further infestations in the future.

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