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Occasional Invaders

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Color of Silverfish

Silvery to gunmetal-colored, silver-gray, some with dark lines along length of body.


A real fish out of water, as they're not even fish. They are, in fact, nocturnal, wingless insects. Their bodies are flattened and tapered from head to rear, and covered with scales. There are 3 long bristle-type appendages at the end of the body. Antennae are long and threadlike, while eyes are compound, small and widely-spaced.

Where Found

Much like silver and fish, they make their way around the world.


Silverfish aren't picky houseguests; they'll take any vacant room in the house. They're flexible in breeding sites as well, such as wall voids, floors and attics. Keeping the house at room temperature and high humidity makes them very happy critters.


Beware of cannibals. Along with themselves, they will also eat paper, and in the case of some species, linen, tissues and even cellulose. Faced with the option, silverfish will opt for protein over carbs.

All that aside, they can go without food or water for weeks, but once they find it, will stick close.


Knock first. Breeding can take place in almost any room of the house. Eggs are laid in cracks, and cannot hatch below 70 degrees F. Nymphs molt a number of times, and nymphs and adults can survive between 32 and 112 degrees F.


Mostly they just ruin your paper, especially glazed paper, wallpaper and books.


Cardboard cartons of books and papers are the perfect vehicle for silverfish and bristletails.

Good Riddance

You're going to have to prepare to rid this pest from your home. Lower cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms should be emptied, as well as floors of closets and storage areas. You should also make a residual treatment in cracks and crevices, where eggs are laid. A general treatment along the edges in closets and linen storage areas is also recommended. If necessary, attics and basements should be inspected. Use of residual liquid pesticides or dusts is recommended, and continued monitoring and possible additional treatments may be necessary. Contacting the insects with the material is essential to control. When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions.

Next Steps

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