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Silverfish Problem? Here's How to Get Rid of Them

The Silverfish Lepisma saccharina.

November 21, 2023

While Florida is full of all kinds of creepy crawlies, one of the most common you can find in your house is the silverfish. The silverfish is a small and innocent insect, but it certainly isn’t welcome in the abodes of most homeowners. The problem with these insects is that they are small enough to crawl through whatever crevices and voids exist in your home, making them difficult to eliminate. However, you can still use a few tips and tricks to keep these nasty bugs away. 

Key Takeaways

  • Silverfish are small, flat insects that can crawl through very small spaces to enter your home. They get their name from how they wiggle around like fish when they move and their silver color.
  • These insects are harmless but can become an annoying problem when they lay silverfish eggs or invade food sources like cereals, pet food, and starchy foods.
  • You can choose between DIY methods and professional pest control to do away with these pests.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are long, oval, scaly insects with long antennae. They have no wings and have soft bodies, which differ from the hard, crunchy bodies of cockroaches, centipedes, earwigs, and even ants. You can find them anywhere, from laundry rooms and gutters to cardboard boxes and bookshelves.

These wingless insects love humid environments and any area with food. If you have a glass jar full of food sitting around, there’s a good chance a silverfish will be attracted to it. Strict silverfish control is needed to eliminate this nuisance pest, and there are several ways to destroy their homes and prevent future infestations.

Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

How can you tell if silverfish have made their way into your home? There are a few telltale signs to watch for, including:

  • Seeing silverfish around your home
  • Noticing droppings
  • Seeing yellow stains
  • Finding silverfish skin molts

Seeing Silverfish Around the House

Seeing silverfish around the house is one of the more obvious signs that you have a silverfish infestation. One silverfish may not be a problem, but when you start seeing them all the time, it might be time to start considering a more proactive approach to these bugs. 


Another sign to look for is silverfish feces. It’s no fun looking for feces in your house, but if you see little black balls on the ground, there’s a good chance they were left behind by a silverfish.

Yellow Stains

If you start seeing yellow stains on various surfaces in your home, this may be yet another sign that silverfish are trying to make themselves at home on your property. The insects naturally leave these stains behind and can be difficult to remove.

Skin Molts

Silverfish have exoskeletons that protect their soft bodies. Every so often, they have to molt these exoskeletons, leaving the old ones behind. If you find these skin molts or even dead insects, you may want to be on alert for more silverfish. 

Are Silverfish a Health Risk?

Good news! Silverfish are not a health risk to humans. While they have noticeable bristles and jaws, they can’t scratch or bite you. Silverfish also don’t carry harmful diseases. However, they can track bacteria into your house, and who knows where they’ve been! You certainly don’t want them rummaging around your food and other hiding places.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Once you’ve identified a silverfish problem, it’s time to take immediate action. Act quickly to prevent a silverfish infestation from spiraling out of control. Early intervention steps like those below can help you take charge of the situation and send silverfish on their way.

  • Make Silverfish Traps: You can easily make silverfish traps at home with a glass jar, some tape, and bait like dog food. This setup makes it easy to lure these common pests into the jar where they won’t be able to get out. 
  • Purchase Sticky Traps: Sticky traps can be just as effective as other traps since the insects will get stuck as soon as they step in them. Place these traps strategically, targeting damp areas, closets, and near baseboards. 
  • Use Essential Oils: If you don’t want to use insecticides or pesticides, consider essential oils. Strongly scented oils are unattractive to these household pests, and they will do their best to stay away. Peppermint, oregano, and cedar oil are common examples. 
  • Declutter: Silverfish love clutter because it makes for a convenient hiding place. If you leave clothes and other objects lying around for prolonged periods, there’s a good chance that silverfish will try to make those mounds of clutter their home. By decluttering, you can stop your silverfish problem before it becomes necessary to call professional pest control services. 
  • Clean Up: In the same vein as decluttering, keeping your home clean can help prevent silverfish from becoming a serious problem. Consider any old food and other messes lying around. What about stains and crumbs? Silverfish are very good at seeking out messy areas, and they’ll go to them and reproduce if they find the environment favorable. But keeping your house tidy can prevent this issue.
  • Boric Acid: Boric acid can be dangerous to humans and pets if handled incorrectly, so use it with caution! Putting it in a spray bottle and mixing it with water before spraying it along the corners of your home, such as along caulk lines, is a good way to keep silverfish out. Boric acid is dangerous to many household pests, and they won’t survive contact with it. 
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This substance is made of very fine and sharp particles that can break through a silverfish’s exoskeleton, pierce its body, and dry it up from the inside. This ensures that the silverfish dies and that this type of insect won’t be a nuisance in your home any longer. 

Tips for Getting Rid of Silverfish by Room

Different parts of your home may require unique tactics when it comes to getting rid of silverfish. Below are some tips that are specific to each room you might see silverfish setting up shop in.


The bathroom is a moist area, which makes it very attractive to silverfish. You can always use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture and make the environment less hospitable to silverfish. Of course, you can also use sticky and DIY traps if you have a more severe bug problem. 


The kitchen is immensely attractive to silverfish because it is loaded with carbohydrates and sugars. Silverfish can detect food from a long way off, so you’ll need to store your food in airtight containers to keep them out. As for pest management, consider using essential oils or even bay leaves to keep them at bay. 


Closets are dark and cool, making them perfect hiding spaces for these insects. Leaving traps or a few drops of essential oils should repel them. To eliminate existing silverfish, consider spraying boric acid around the baseboards or leaving diatomaceous earth traps.


Like closets, attics are cool, dark areas where insects love to congregate. Putting a few traps up there should solve your silverfish problem, and you can also use a dehumidifier if your attic is on the humid side. 

Silverfish Pest Control Services in Florida

Silverfish are some of the most common pests in Florida. While you can’t eliminate them with the snap of your fingers, you can still get rid of them easily with some DIY methods. 

But if DIY methods don’t work, don’t worry. You can still benefit from professional pest control services that can do a great job, especially for more severe infestations. You can count on Native Pest Management for pet-safe and effective pest control services that will tackle your silverfish problem once and for all.

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