What Does Silverfish Damage Look Like?

09 May 2024 · 3 min read


I Think I Found a Silverfish in My Home!

If you have ever encountered a silverfish in your living space, you’ll remember it! These insects are so creepy and prehistoric looking that they can make you jump 5 feet in the air. Read on to learn more about silverfish and what they look like. In particular, you’ll learn what silverfish damage looks like so you can identify if you have an infestation.

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

Silverfish got their name due to their metallic-like appearance. They are silver-brown in color and they move in a fish-like manner, which makes them look like they are swimming. Silverfish love warm and humid environments (hello, Florida!) and they tend to hide from humans, often going unnoticed for long periods of time, which means they can cause damage to books and clothes without you knowing.

Silverfish typically grow to ½- ¾ inch in length, and they have long antennae similar to those American roaches. Although they cannot fly,  they can run fast and can escape if you try to squash them with your shoe.

Silverfish are nocturnal so they may come out at night while you are sleeping and cause damage to precious items.

What does a silverfish look like
Silverfish Ctenolepisma longicaudatum isolated on a white interior wall of a home. Common household pests destructive to textiles and paper products. Firebrat and fishmoth are other common names.

How Do Silverfish Get in My House?

Silverfish are generally found in dark and undisturbed places like attics, storage rooms, and crawl spaces. They usually enter a home from the outside to avoid bad weather,  lay eggs, or to find dinner.

It’s important to inspect your home once per year, (especially areas where you don’t go often) to look for silverfish damage or an infestation. Luckily, these insects breed quite slowly so an infestation does not come about as quickly as other pests. However,  you will want to eliminate any silverfish in your home to avoid damage to books, clothes, wallpaper, and other items. Silverfish are often brought into the home by hitchhiking in cereal boxes, packets of grains, and in sugary products. Therefore, It is important to inspect items that you bring into the home to look for pests, like silverfish and German roaches.

What Does Silverfish Damage Look Like?

Silverfish can cause damage to household items, making it important to stop a widespread infestation. Here are the signs of damage:

  1. Yellow stains on books, pictures, and on clothing.
  2. Holes in clothes, book pages, or pictures.
  3. Holes in food packages. 
  4. Holes in wallpaper.
  5. Holes and yellow marks on linens.
  6. Yellow stains on walls.

Clues that you have an infestation can also include silverfish sightings, silverfish skin that has been shed, and silverfish droppings that are small,  black, and round-shaped. 

Getting rid of silverfish requires a particular type of bait. We recommend you hire a professional pest company, such as Greenhouse, to get rid of them. A severe infestation can take more than one visit to eradicate the silverfish problem.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Unfortunately, silverfish eat a huge variety of food, including:

  • Paper
  • Wallpaper
  • Books and binding
  • Clothing
  • Toothpaste
  • Other dead insects
  • Glue
  • Grains – rice & pasta
  • Sugar and sugary products
  • Coffee
  • Vegetables

Silverfish are not eating your books to get smart, they are eating the glue and other fibers as they need starch to survive.

How Do I Prevent Silverfish? 

Since silverfish prefer to go unnoticed, it is important to avoid having areas of your home that are rarely visited! Try to avoid accumulating junk and furniture that is unused as these are perfect places for silverfish to hide and breed.

Store items in well-sealed plastic bins to prevent silverfish from eating stored items.

We recommend regular pest control treatment, as a professional pest technician may be able to spot an issue before you even know you have it! At Greenhouse, our trained technicians look for pest issues in places that you wouldn’t normally look. We would be delighted to solve your silverfish pest control issue.




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