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How to identify and get rid of Silverfish

Silverfish have been around for millions of years and have been found in fossil records as early as the first land-living animals. They have two long antennae on their head, followed by a body that has no obvious segmentation. Silverfish are capable of moving at fast rates despite their short and thick legs. The origins of their name come from their rapid side-to-side movements, resembling a fish.


Silverfish have survived for such a long time because they can survive in a variety of tough environments and are best known for their vast destruction of various household items such as books, photographs, artwork, clothing and accessories. Although Silverfish are not fast or prolific breeders, they do live for a long time (up to six years!) If left untreated, infestations can reach plague proportions. To avoid damage to property and prevent major infestations, it’s important to control, prevent and monitor Silverfish activity in the home.

Why they like it in your home

Plenty to eat

Silverfish tend to eat sugary substances called polysaccharides which can be found in numerous household objects, such as book glue, carpet fibers, paint, fabrics, and furniture.

Places to hide

The shelter of your home provides silverfish with multiple great hiding spots. They leave their eggs, which look like white and yellow bulbs, in dark, moist, hidden areas of your home.


Like many other household pests, Silverfish thrive in moist, humid environments and areas in our homes such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms and even attics provide the perfect environment.

Signs of a silverfish infestation

Having a silverfish infestation can be a pain. Silverfish are experts at hiding and often difficult to detect, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Below are a few major signs of a silverfish infestation:

Silverfish droppings - Every living creature exudes some kind of waste, including silverfish. Their droppings are small, spherical in shape and black in colour. It can often be found where they eat, including in stacks of paper, books, or packages of pasta or bread.

Paper damage - Since silverfish love paper, an obvious sign of their presence in your home is finding damaged paper or cardboard items such as storage boxes, wallpaper, or books. Pay close attention to food containers filled with starchy carbs. If something is eating away at your cereal box, you probably have a silverfish infestation.

Shedded skin - Like many other insects, silverfish shed their skin as they go through their lifecycle. Considering their size, the shedded skin is often difficult to detect. The most likely places to find these would be in the kitchen, bathroom, or basement.

Seeing a live specimen - Most people think that seeing a single bug proves nothing but what they don’t realise is in most cases, a single bug is a sure sign there are many more you don’t see.

Preventing and getting rid of Silverfish

Although silverfish are a nuisance, there are many things we can do in order to prevent an infestation in your house.

  • Put all food, especially carbs and starches, in sealed containers. This will cut out a part of their food supply and discourage them to seek refuge in your home.
  • Regularly vacuum every room. No matter how tidy you are, there are always crumbs falling on the ground. Try to remove them on a regular basis in order to prevent all types of pests, not just silverfish bugs.
  • Run dehumidifiers in humid areas. Running dehumidifiers in humid areas will make your home undesirable for these pests.
  • Provide proper ventilation and make sure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system are properly cleaned.
  • Seal all cracks and make it physically difficult for silverfish to get into your home.

Still worried about silverfish in your home?

While preventative methods are helpful when it comes to controlling silverfish, if you do have or suspect an infestation, it is best to call in the experts to provide professional treatment.

If you have or suspect a pest problem or would like to know more about protecting your home from pests, get in contact with Rentokil today.

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