The Silverfish

The silverfish is a really interesting insect. Commonly found in urban areas, silverfish are known to invade homes and apartments often. Although they’re not very dangerous, you may want to understand more about these pests if you’re faced with a silverfish infestation.


How to get rid of silverfish

How to identify Silverfish. By Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Silverfishes are tiny, wingless insects with a grayish silver body color. Their appearance is very similar to that of a fish, hence the name. These are nocturnal insects, meaning they are super active during the nights and almost completely unseen during the daytime.

The tapering abdomens are the primary reason why they resemble fishes and while the newborns appear whitish in complexion, they develop the metallic hue gradually as they grow older.

Although they are not blessed with wings, Silverfish have been given the facility of an antenna which helps them to understand different motions and vibrations nearby.


Silverfishes favor a humid climate and are generally found in metropolitan as well as other areas. They require a relative humidity of concentrations ranging from 75% to 95% to thrive and prosper and prefer regions which receive a good amount of rainfall throughout the year.

The moisture-laden atmosphere caters to the living conditions of this insect and these tiny little beings would generally be found in bathrooms, sinks, kitchen cabinets, old books, shower areas or any place in your house which is facilitated with a  good amount of water.

Regions with a highly humid, tropical climate are consumed with the rampant inclusion of silverfishes. In fact, any damp, dark, crummy place in one’s house can attract the admittance of these insects. This will then inhabit your house and cause a ruckus with its annoying habits.


What causes silverfish

What causes silverfish. By Siga – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Even though silverfishes are not a source of danger to human health, they do bring in unhygienic conditions and a sense of fright and disgust to whoever sees it. One of the best ways to get rid of these insects is the use of organic chemicals.

Diatomaceous Earth works wonders in this case. Often, certain homeowners repel the idea of using pesticides or insecticides to get rid of these species.

Hence the recommendation to use diatomaceous earth which is essentially a white powder that kills and dehydrates these insects once they come in contact with it. Diatomaceous earth does not pose any threat to human or animal health even though they are highly lethal for silverfish.

The other most common way of removing silverfish is to call in the experts. Local exterminators are specialized in the task of removing any kind of pests from a household.

Since sometimes it’s difficult to understand an infestation as these are nocturnal insects that prefer to do their activity in secret, you would not even be able to notice the source of their habitation unless they decided to play a little peek-a-boo!

Hence the exterminators would be able to understand the actual root cause of the infestation, remove all the traces of this pest from your household and take measures which ensure that it does not relapse in the near future. All this just to keep your house spick and span!


Just as humans go through the entire ordeal beginning with dating an individual to joining in holy matrimony, Silverfishes carry out a similar procedure with their opposite sex (though it does not last as long as the human’s do).

The entire dating process is divided into three ritualistic phases. First, the male and the female silverfish have a stand-off face to face by quivering their antenna and moving back and forth only to return to the original position.

In the second phase, the man plays hard to get and flees from that position only to be chased by the female. In the third and final phase, the male silverfish lays his specimen capsule which the female silverfish insert it into her body in order to start the process of reproduction.

The female silverfish lay less than 60 eggs at once and wait for a period of between 2 weeks and 2 months to hatch. The babies appear white in color until they undergo their first molt which transforms them into grown adults within a period of 3 months to 3 years.

Silverfishes go through almost 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime and these are one of the very few insects which go through this process of molting even after reaching adulthood.


While they are considered a nuisance among humans, Silverfish living in the wild render ecological importance to the flora of our ecosystem. Since its main source of food includes polysaccharides, which are essentially starches and dextrin-comprising substances, leaf litter is categorized with a high degree of starch content and thus, silverfishes tend to consume the degradable plant waste so as to clean out the litter from the forest environment.

So ultimately, we can understand that Silverfish help majorly in the process of nutrient recycling, the derivatives of which are consumed by the forest environment itself.

Facts About Silverfish

Now enough with the nitty-gritty about this insect, let’s learn some fascinating facts about Silverfish!

  • Reports suggest that silverfish are one of the most ancient creatures on this planet even dating back to the age of dinosaurs. Imagine the number of generations created by this insect and also the determination to stay on this planet!
  • Even though Silverfishes have never evolved to develop wings, their lack of flight abilities has been made up for their incomprehensible speed. This advantage of speed helps them to engage in evasive action when threatened.
  • Unlike other insects, silverfishes tend to have a larger life span than their fellow species and can live up to three to six years. In fact, if the conditions in which they inhabit are ideal for their growth, they can live up to eight years, something which is unimaginable for a tiny little being such as this.

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