Are Silverfish Bad For Your Home? Or Are They A Nuisance?

It’s a common sight to see silverfish inside your home, especially in the summer months. 

These silver shrimp-like scaly bugs sneak inside your home when the temperature outdoors gets too extreme for them.

But are silverfish bad for your home? Do they cause any damages?

Or, do they pose any risk to you and your health? And how to get rid of silverfish in your home?

This guide answers all these questions, and a lot more!

Keep reading.

What Attracts Silverfish To Your Home?

Silverfish are moisture-seeking bugs.

Outdoors, in your yard or garden, silverfish live in damp places. 

Silverfish will hide underneath woodpiles, stones, rocks, foliage, leaf beds, wet soil, and underneath the moist mulch bed.

Outdoors silverfish will feed on decaying organic matter and dead insects and bugs.

But things start to change when the weather outdoors gets too hot for them.

The damp places lose their wetness. And the temperature becomes unbearable for them.

So, they start to look out for a cooler place to spend the summer, hide, and live.

That’s when they get inside your home.

So, the mild temperature inside your home and hiding places attracts silverfish to your home.

How Silverfish Enter Your Home?

There are two ways that silver enter your home.

The first way is that they crawl through the tiny gaps and cracks on your home’s foundation, doors, walls, and windows.

The second way is you, by mistake, bring the silverfish home.

When you bring in any piece of wood, cardboard box, or a potted plant that has silverfish in it, you bring silverfish home.

Where Do Silverfish Bug Hide In The House?

Now that silverfish are in your home, their first task is to look for a place where they can hide.

Silverfish love damp places. So, the wet areas of your home attract them.

Hence, places like the bathroom, basement, kitchen, and laundry room with a constant supply of water and damp are the go-to hiding places for silverfish.

In these areas of your home, silverfish will sneak into the thin gaps and cracks. 

Silverfish are nocturnal bugs. And they’re fast crawlers.

It becomes hard to come across silverfish hiding in your home during the day.

Inside your home, silverfish feed on various things. 

They’ve got more varied food choices in your home than they had outside.

That’s when the problem starts, and the damage that silverfish cause inside your home starts to show up.

It leads us to the main point, which is, are silverfish bad for your home.

In a word, the answer is yes. But how? Let’s find it out.

Why Are Silverfish Bad For Your Home?

Are silverfish bad for your home

The eating habits of silverfish inside your home make silverfish bad for your home.

Silverfish will eat paper, fabric, food products containing cellulose and starch, and even the glue in books and picture frames inside your home.

So, silverfish can cause damage to your books, clothes, soft furnishings, and food stored in the food pantry. 

That qualifies silverfish as potential pantry pests too!

Silverfish will also have a go on pet food if they get access to it. If there are dead bugs inside your home, silverfish will eat them too.

The damage caused by silverfish is quite subtle and may not be visible.

But on some products like books and fabric, you can easily recognize the damage.

You’ll notice tiny holes in the fabric. Silverfish, or maybe carpet beetles or cloth moths, ate that portion of the fabric.

As silverfish feed on fabric, so they can easily get inside your closet too.

In books, you’d notice light yellow spots and dabs. That’s a clear sign that silverfish are there where you’re keeping your books.

But there’s a catch. 

If you notice dust on the book’s pages with curvy cuts on the paper, then it’s a clear sign of termites. Yes, termites damage books too!

But the damage that silverfish cause is quite negligible if you compare it with the damage that termites cause. 

Do Silverfish Bite Humans?

No, silverfish don’t bite humans. 

Their mouthparts are too weak to penetrate human skin.

But silverfish molt, which means that they shed their skin to grow. 

And the molted skin can cause allergies to sensitive people and may become pretty risky for asthma patients.

Silverfish don’t spread any diseases, nor do they bite your pets.

But silverfish is a favored food for many bugs like ants, roaches, spiders, centipedes. So, silverfish presence in home can attract many other bugs.

Do Silverfish Multiply Very Fast?

Yes, they do. A female silverfish can lay 40-60 eggs in a day.

She can keep laying eggs for 4-5 days at a stretch.

Female Silverfish cluster their eggs in packs of 20 eggs in each cluster. 

The eggs take somewhere around 20-65 days to hatch.

Silverfish eggs are hard to spot.

Silverfish lay their eggs in hard-to-reach places like cracks on your walls or in your basement or attic. 

They can also lay their eggs inside your closet between the piles of your clothes.

The worst part of silverfish spawning in your home is that the eggs emit a smell that tells other Silverfish to come and spawn their eggs in the same place. 

Piles of eggs from multiple Silverfish provide warmth and humidity that helps the egg to hatch faster. 

One female Silverfish can quickly reproduce 2000 offspring in her lifetime.

How To Get Rid Of Silverfish From Your Home?

Silverfish in bathroom

Now that you know that silverfish are harmful to many things in your home, it’s time to get rid of them.

Getting rid of silverfish is pretty straightforward.

You don’t need a pest controller for it.

Here’s how to get rid of silverfish in your home in 8 steps –

Step#1 – De-clutter Your Home

Silverfish love clutter. It provides them hiding places.

Step#2 – Seal The Gaps And Cracks To Stop Silverfish From Crawling Inside

Now that you know, silverfish exploit the gaps and cracks on your walls, windows, and doors to get inside your home, so seal those gaps.

It’d be best to use a silicon-based sealant to seal those gaps.

Those sealants are strong, reliable, last long (at least for a decade), and bugs can’t chew through them.

Step#3 – Vacuum Clean The Soft Furnishings To Remove Hiding Silverfish

Silverfish can easily hide in soft furnishings like carpets, rugs, and sofa.

Vacuum cleaning them will remove any silverfish hiding in the folds of these soft furnishings.

Step#4 – Discard Old Books, Cardboard Boxes, And Newspapers

Silverfish hide and feed on these products. If you don’t need your old books, cardboard boxes, and newspapers, throw them away.

Step#5 – Fix Any Water Leakages To Reduce Moisture In Your Home

As we mentioned earlier, silverfish are moisture-seeking bugs.

As long as there’s dampness in your home, silverfish will try to sneak inside, especially when the temperature outdoors becomes unbearable for them.

So, fix any water leakages in your kitchen, bathroom, and basement.

Also, find out if there’s any water leakage in and around your home’s foundation.

If there’s any, fix those leakages. Water leakages in the home’s foundation make homes the dampest.

The dampness can even get to the walls.

Refrain from overwatering your yard and don’t let water to gather in the potholes. Both of them increase the damp areas in your yard or garden.

That provides silverfish their ideal habitat to live and breed.

Step#6 – Keep The Tash Bins Of Your Home And Yard Clean

Trash bins in the kitchen and bathroom attract both roaches and silverfish.

Clean them, disinfect them with a disinfectant, and keep the lid on the trash cans closed.

In your kitchen, keep cereals, grains, sugar, salt, flour in airtight jars and containers to prevent silverfish from eating them.

Also, don’t let your pet’s food lying around in the open. Uncovered pet food also attracts Silverfish.

Step#7 – Scatter Diatomaceous Earth In Your Yard Or Garden

Diatomaceous earth is an excellent bug killer. It penetrates the exoskeleton of bugs and kills them, including silverfish.

So, sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the damp and probable hiding places of silverfish in your yard. It’ll kill the silverfish hiding there.

Step#8 – Wash your clothes and other fabrics

If you’ve spotted silverfish in your closet or wardrobe, then merely cleaning them won’t work.

Silverfish might have laid eggs there, which emit a smell that attracts other silverfish.

So, empty your closet, wash all your clothes before you re-organize your closet.

Washing the clothes will get rid of any smell coming out of your clothes. 

Conclusion

Yes, silverfish are bad for your home. But they don’t cause any severe damages to your home.

Nor do they pose any health risks.

But given their food habits, silverfish are quite a risk to your books, fabric, and stored food.

In this guide you’ve also found out how to get rid of silverfish yourself without fail.

But there are lot of bugs that resemble silverfish. They look long thin and dark.

What are these silverfish look-alikes? Find out here in our post on 3 long skinny black bugs in house.