what are silverfish

Have you ever woken up to a silverfish in your bathroom sink? Or have you ever moved something and a silverfish darted across your floor? Though small, silverfish are fast and creepy enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

But what exactly are silverfish and can they cause harm? Learn more about this interesting insect and what to do if you see them in your home.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that get their name from a silvery light grey coloring and fish-like appearance when they move. These insects are nocturnal and prefer hiding in dark places. They typically grow between 0.5-1.0 inch long with a lifespan of two to eight years.

Silverfish have two long antennae on their head and three long bristles in on their rear. They move quickly in a wiggling motion on flat surfaces resembling a fish. These insects can survive in almost any environment but prefer dark areas with high moisture and humidity.

Are Silverfish Harmful to Humans or Property?


While the presence of a silverfish can be alarming, there is no evidence that they are poisonous or carry harmful diseases. However, silverfish can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Throughout adulthood, silverfish shed their skin (i.e. molting) and leave behind scales. The dust created by the dropped scales could cause an allergic reaction.


Silverfish prefer a diet of carbohydrates and sugar. They will munch on books, wallpaper, clothing, insulation, newspaper, cereal boxes, and even eat human hair they find on the ground. While finding holes in recyclable materials may not seem like a big deal, finding holes in clothing or family photo albums is not something anyone wants to discover.

How Do I Prevent Silverfish?

Silverfish are common insects found in homes. But unfortunately, they can be difficult to get rid of due to their rapid speed and nocturnal habits.

Luckily, there are precautions you can take to avoid unknowingly inviting them into your home:

  • Vacuum floors regularly to remove fallen food crumbs.
  • Limit their food sources by storing cereals and grains in plastic containers.
  • Use a dehumidifier in basements or damp areas.
  • Open vents in crawl spaces to reduce moisture accumulation.
  • Keep your gutters clean and water flowing away from your home.
  • Search for cracks in the foundation that are small enough for insects to enter and seal them up.
  • Seal or caulk around doors, windows, and trim to eliminate further entry points.

How Can I Get Rid of Silverfish?

While taking proper precautions is a great start, silverfish are difficult to get rid of when you have an infestation. Due to their nocturnal nature and ability to move and reproduce quickly, an infestation could go unnoticed for long periods of time.

Silverfish infestations require professional pest control methods and treatments to get rid of the problem. While DIY remedies may offer brief relief, they prove ineffective over time and do not kill the source: their eggs. At the first sign of silverfish, call your local pest control experts to find the source of the problem and establish a treatment plan.

Are you experiencing trouble with silverfish in your Tennessee home? Contact Inman-Murphy Termite & Pest Control for a free estimate today.

Pest Identification: What is a Silverfish Bug? Serving Mid-South | Millington TN | Memphis Metro Area

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