Silverfish get their name from their silver-colored bodies and fishlike motion as they dart across the floor. Often mistaken for cockroaches due to their nighttime activities and quick movement when discovered, these pests enter homes during dry weather in search of moisture. Once inside, silverfish feed on a wide range of items, from cereals to fabric. However, they're best known for feeding on papers and glues used on book bindings. Silverfish may live for several years.

Silverfish Identification

Silverfish have flat, elongated bodies covered in silvery metallic scales. Typically less than 3/4 inch long, the bodies taper from head to tail like a carrot. Silverfish have two long antennae on their heads and three long, tail-like projections that inspire their second common name: bristletails. Silverfish nymphs hatch from eggs and go through several stages that look like adults, only smaller. Firebrats are close relatives denoted by their mottled brown color.

Signs or Damage of Silverfish

Silverfish are active at night and hide during the day. They move very quickly when disturbed, so they often avoid being seen. Find them in dark, damp, cool areas, such as basements, closets and humid bathrooms. Silverfish feed by scraping rather than biting, leaving irregular, scrape-surrounded holes and excrement-stained pages in books.

How to Control Silverfish

Effective silverfish control focuses on preventing these pests from entering your home through foundation openings. GardenTech brand offers highly effective options to kill silverfish and safeguard your home:

  • Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate provides a simple, economical way to treat foundations, lawns and gardens and kill silverfish by contact for up to three months. Use with a pump-style sprayer and cover all surfaces thoroughly. Pay extra attention to cracks and crevices where silverfish may hide or slip inside. Treat foundations up to a maximum height of 3 feet.
  • Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a common garden hose to measure and mix automatically as you spray. Cover all surfaces thoroughly, including foundation plantings, groundcover and mulch areas where silverfish may hide or pass through on their way inside. Treat home perimeters and foundations up to a height of 3 feet to kill by contact and protect against silverfish for up to three months.
  • Sevin Insect Killer Dust Ready to Use starts killing silverfish immediately upon contact. Use the convenient shaker container to apply a thin, uniform layer of dust to treat lawns, ornamental and flower gardens, and outdoor areas around your home.

Silverfish Control Tip: Silverfish often reside between wall partitions where moisture is found. Repair plumbing leaks promptly and reduce moisture with dehumidifiers and fans to make your home less hospitable to these pests.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequency and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.


"Silverfish" by Chris licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

"Small blue silverfish (Lepisma saccharina)" by Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series ( licensed under CC BY 3.0 US

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