Identifying and Treating a Silverfish Infestation

Curious creatures they may be, but an infestation of silverfish can cause a serious pest control problem for commercial and residential properties alike.

Silverfish are tiny wingless insects which mainly inhabit warm humid environments such as bathrooms. They prefer the dark and damp and are predominantly nocturnal which – combined with their rapid movement – means a silverfish infestation can go unnoticed for some time.

Silverfish get their name from their teardrop shape, blue-silver scales, and the wiggling motion of their movement. Whilst only around 20 mm in length, these tiny creatures may seem harmless enough however, they can cause serious damage to plaster walls, books, paintings, photographs and household items that contain starch or cellulose – as they feed on carbohydrates.

Silverfish are rapid breeders and can lay up to 20 eggs each day once their cycle has begun. It is therefore important to identify and treat an infestation of these creatures as soon as possible.


The easiest way to identify a silverfish infestation is by seeing them with your own eyes. As they are nocturnal, this is most likely to happen if you go to the toilet at night, or when having a pre-bedtime bath or shower. If you are seeing them regularly, it probably means there is an established infestation present.


Small holes and scrapes in books, magazines, and other paper based products can also indicate a silverfish infestation. You should especially keep an eye on wallpaper for any signs of consumption as they eat wallpaper paste and glue. Silverfish can also leave yellow stains on synthetic fibres, so if any of your clothes are marked, you may have an issue.

While silverfish may prefer humid environments such as bathrooms, they can often be found in kitchens as well. Check any containers of cereal, pasta, or rice, as they are drawn to the starchy foods inside.

Improved housekeeping

Now you have identified a possible infestation of silverfish, you are no doubt looking for some pest control advice on how to tackle the problem. Thankfully there are a few practical steps you can take to dissuade the pests from hanging around, using a little knowledge.

Prevention is the best cure, so try and make your home as unattractive to these pests as possible. Thoroughly ventilate your bathroom each time you shower or bathe to reduce the humidity. The best tactic is to open the window while you are still in the shower, as this helps prevent the steam from turning into condensations on the walls.

Silverfish are also shy creatures, so reduce the amount of junk or clutter you have lying around to give them fewer places to hide. Regular and thorough vacuuming – especially in often ignored nooks and crannies will further reduce the number of places these insects can remain undisturbed.

It may be the infestation is simply too severe for improved housekeeping alone. In this case, the advice of a professional pest control company would be advised.

If you have any doubts, or simply want to consult a professional regarding an infestation of silverfish, Safeguard Pest Control has over 30 years’ experience in the pest control business.

Please get in touch today and one of our friendly staff will be happy to advise you.

You may also enjoy these articles