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How to get rid of silverfish

Information, facts and resources to help you deal with an infestation of silverfish and, if the worst happens, how to destroy the silver fish and prevent this household pests return.


What does a Silverfish look like?



silver fish

Silver Fish

Silver Fish Description

  • Silverfish are silver-grey in colour, torpedo shaped, and about 12mm long.

  • Silverfish have long antennae, no wings and prefer the dark.

  • Silverfish bodies taper from head to tail and there are two long antennae on the head and three similar filaments at the rear end.

  • When disturbed silverfish make short, darting movements similar to fish, hence the name Silver Fish.

Where do Silverfish live?

  • Silverfish normally live outdoors where they like moist places.

  • Indoors they are usually found in moist areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Silver Fish can often be seen in an empty bathtub and around the edges of sinks and wash-stands.

  • Silverfish are harmless to humans.

What are the signs of Silverfish infestation?

  • Sightings of Silverfish.

  • Silverfish are typically spotted skittering around in sinks and baths, and other damp places, just after the light has been switched on.

  • Infested articles will have the surface eaten off in irregular patches by wingless insects ranging in size from 4 mm to 10 mm.

What do Silverfish eat?

  • Silverfish favourite foods are damp wallpaper, moulds, and starchy food.

  • Silverfish can feed on book bindings, papers, boxes and starched clothing.

  • Silverfish thrive on foods that are in damp conditions. Silverfish will eat slightly damp flour and paper so keeping everything dry and/ or airtight is an effective dterrent to silver fish.

Why must Silverfish be controlled?

  • Silverfish are indicative of damp conditions and poor hygiene.

How can I get rid of Silverfish?

  • Since silverfish prefer moist conditions, curing dampness will make the house unattractive to them.

  • In addition an insecticide dust which may be bought from a garden centre or chemist may be used. Choose one which says on the label that it is suitable for crawling insects including silverfish. Apply this under the edges of carpets, under skirtings and under base of the sink unit. Follow the instructions on the container carefully.

  • Remember pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty containers safely.

  • Thourough vaccuming is an effective control method for silverfish. Repeat regularly.

How can I prevent Silverfish from returning?

  • Good hygiene.

  • Remove damp conditions which encourage silver fish.
  • Dry up spilled water and open windows of rooms to allow air in and condensation and moisture out.

Silverfish Poisons and Silverfish Pesticides

  • When using pesticides always follow the instructions on the label.

  • All major DIY stores have a selection of Silverfish Poisons and Silverfish Pesticides.

  • Silver Fish Powder can be spread around carpet edges and boundaries and used as an effective barrier once damp conditions are removed.

The "Green Option" - Environmentally friendly control of Silverfish

  • Silver fish are not harmful to human health and safety so consider tolerating them.

  • For long term control of silverfish remove damp conditions and environments.

  • Seal cracks and gaps around pipes and fittings with silicon sealant.

  • Traps made of cardboard painted with a thin coat of honey, placed around sinks, drains, taps and in baths may be effective against silverfish.

  • A small glass jar with the outside covered in masking tape will allow the silverfish to climb up the outside and once they fall in they will be unable to climb out of the slippery inside of the glass jar. Bait is not needed as the silverfish will explore the jar anyway.

  • Spiders are effective predators against silverfish so it is worth encouraging them, or at the very least, tolerate some spiders in the home.

  • Consider fumigating your house on a hot day by closing windows and doors for an afternoon and use central heating and additioanl heaters to get the temperature to 50 Centigrade for 3 hours. This is also an effective control against other household pests such as cockroaches.

  • Pyrethrum is a good natural poison for silver fish and csn be sprayed where they are found.

  • Thourough vaccuming is an effective control method for silverfish. Repeat regularly.

Silverfish : Household Pests

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