Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish (sometimes called “fishmoth”) are a very common household pest found all over the world, primarily in North America, Europe, Singapore and Australia. They are small wingless insects that take their name from their silver appearance and the fish-like movements they make when they run.

Silverfish are not poisonous and they cannot bite humans, but if left unchallenged silverfish can multiply quickly and cause significant damage to your home. They will feed on papers, books, bookbinding, wallpapers, photo albums and textiles.

Like any other household pest, silverfish require certain conditions in order to survive. The three conditions necessary for a silverfish infestation are:

  • A moist environment

  • A source of food and water

  • A place to hide from light

Of these three conditions, one of them is surely the most common factor in silverfish-rich homes: moisture. Any home that has silverfish probably has a problem with moisture. Silverfish are usually found in older buildings because they leak, pipes erode, etc.

Silverfish require moisture in order to survive. That’s why they usually thrive in areas where moisture is high, such as under sinks, in bathrooms, around dog (or cat) bowls, around leaks and near plants. Basically anywhere you have water, silverfish will be found.

The key to getting rid of silverfish is to alter these conditions so that your home in no longer a suitable environment for them. In order to get rid of silverfish, you need to take the following steps:

1. Identify the problem areas in your home. Look for leaking pipes or areas with a high amount of moisture. This is most likely the area in which silverfish are “living” and taking refuge during the day. Keep in mind that silverfish will wander all over your home so it is very common that you will see them in rooms that do not contain moisture, such as bedrooms. Places in which you see silverfish are not necessarily the “problem areas” -- look for areas in the home where there is a high amount of moisture and darkness.

2. Fix the leaks, seal the cracks. Eliminating any leaks and reducing the amount of moisture in your home is important to maintain silverfish control, but it may not be enough. Another important part of achieving silverfish control is to seal any cracks and crevices you find in these moist areas. Silverfish must have a safe place to hide from light during the day. Preventing their ability to find cracks and crevices will greatly increase your changes of maintaining permanent silverfish control, not only because they will be unable to find refuge but because it will greatly reduce their ability to breed.

3. Hide the food. If your silverfish infestation is particularly bad, you may have to take extra measures to prevent them from accessing their sources of food. Do what you can to prevent them from being able to get at any books or papers. Seal them in large plastic containers.

4. Keep it clean. As with many other types of household pest control problems, keeping your home clean is an important part of getting rid of silverfish. Vacuum regularly, clean up your crumbs, wipe your counters, etc.


There are many products and chemicals available on the market for getting rid of silverfish. Here is a list of what’s commonly recommended:

  • Boric Acid

  • Drione Dust

  • Cyonara

Silverfish Paks are also available as a method for silverfish control. They are designed to be placed in areas around your home to attract and trap silverfish over time, though they have been met with mixed success.

Chemicals and pesticides may be suitable for some, but they have significant disadvantages over the natural, step-by-step method described above. Firstly, pesticides and chemicals may be dangerous if you have pets or children. Secondly, unless you change the problem conditions mentioned in this article it is very likely that silverfish will return in the future. Repeated pesticide treatment will be required.

Please visit the following website for more information on silverfish. Keep your home safe and pest free.