Silverfish - How to get rid of them

Do you occasionally encounter silverfish in your home? Or are they a constant nuisance?

If you've noticed these tiny silvery insects lurking in your home, they're probably silverfish, wingless insects that tend to live in paper, soap residue and dusty environments. While silverfish infestations can be annoying, there are several home remedies you can use to eliminate them for good.


Products to fight silverfish

We recommend the following products to combat silverfish in the home:


What are silverfish?

Silverfish are small, nocturnal insects that can become household pests. Their name comes from their silver-grey color and their fish-like movements, characterized by tapered tails and antennae. They are fast creatures that are often able to escape their enemies and prefer to live in dark, hidden areas. Silverfish are notorious for destroying things and thrive on a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates, often found in paper, soap residue and dust.



1. Silverfish belong to the group of bristletails, making them primitive, wingless insects.
2. They thrive in households where they feed on sugar, starch, paper, soap residue and dust, often preferring slightly damp environments such as bathrooms and kitchens.
3. Silverfish are named after their fish-like movements and silvery scales.
4. They have silvery bodies, two long antennae and three tail bristles, and their tiny scales can fall off on contact.
5. Silverfish's natural enemies include earwigs, centipedes and spiders, so consider leaving the house spiders alone in the corner.


Are silverfish dangerous or harmful?

Silverfish pose no direct health risk to humans, but they can destroy books, old papers, wallpaper, carpets and clothing due to their excrement. They also tend to make unsealed pasta, oat and cereal boxes their home, necessitating a quick elimination.


What attracts silverfish?

Silverfish are attracted to the following:

1. food sources such as fiber, sugar, textiles, grains, dried goods, animal feed and pasta.
2. Warm, hidden places behind furniture, in bookshelves or damp basements.
3. Secure corners where they can lay their eggs, typically dark, damp, hidden areas of the home.
4. Areas with high moisture levels, such as behind furniture or near sinks, where they seek refuge. Keeping these areas dry and clean discourages them, as does regular vacuuming to remove potential attractants such as food debris and dust.


Where do silverfish settle?

Silverfish often nest in dark, damp places where moisture is abundant, including attics, basements, garages and kitchens. They feed on dust, unsealed dried food and clutter, especially paper.


Signs of silverfish presence

Signs that silverfish are present are yellow stains on clothing made from synthetic fabrics, small holes and excrement on old paper and wallpaper. They can also burrow into unsealed packages of dried food.


Are silverfish a sign of a dirty home?

Silverfish thrive in humid environments, making their presence a sign of moisture problems in the home. This could indicate that they have entered due to water damage, such as a small leak letting in rainwater. They are also attracted to dusty and dirty areas, necessitating a thorough cleaning of the affected areas.


How to remove silverfish permanently

In case of severe infestations, consult a pest control expert, advises Natalie Bungay, Technical Officer at the British Pest Control Association. Professionals use approved insecticides and specialized knowledge to solve the problem effectively.

If you prefer natural remedies, consider these options:

1. cedar shavings or oil: Repels silverfish because they don't like the smell of wood.
2. Cinnamon: Silverfish don't like the smell of cinnamon, so placing it in infested areas can help.
3. citrus fruits: The citrus scent of orange and lemon peels repels silverfish.
4. Cucumber peels: Silverfish don't like the smell of cucumber.
5. Cloves: Dried cloves contain eugenol, which repels silverfish.
6. Salt: Silverfish are attracted to salt, but if they eat it, they dehydrate and die. Salt also absorbs moisture in the area.
7. Boric acid (caution): A toxic substance that can be harmful to children, pets and adults if inhaled, but boric acid can be diluted and sprayed into infested areas for more effective results.


Preventing the return of silverfish

To prevent silverfish from returning, try the following:

1. Fix moisture problems by repairing leaky pipes, improving ventilation, using dehumidifiers and opening windows regularly.
2. Vacuum carpets, remove clutter such as magazines and papers, and dust regularly.
3. Store dried foods in airtight containers to prevent access.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively eliminate silverfish and prevent them from returning to your home.


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