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Silverfish Infestation: Causes, Signs & Natural Home Remedies

Silverfish Infestation: Causes, Signs & Natural Home Remedies

You’re folding linens in the laundry room and you suddenly notice a weird-looking shiny little thing slithering across the rug. You have no idea what it is, but it moves like a fish. What on earth could it be? Could this be an household pest? The answer is yes. You’ve just seen one of the common household pests known as a silverfish, and if you’ve seen one you could have an entire silverfish infestation. This is why you need to act fast because a whole nest of silverfish could seriously damage your home.

Recognizing Silverfish

These creepy little pests are also referred to as fish moths or carpet sharks because of how they look and move. These long silver-colored bugs have three legs on each side and two antennae. Adult silverfish have a very noticeable metallic shine, but the immature ones are a dull white. It’s nice to know that silverfish pose no health risks to humans or pets, but they can seriously threaten your house.

The problem is they eat anything containing starch, which includes the caulking in bathrooms and kitchens, all kinds of adhesives, and even book bindings. Silverfish have been blamed for ruining carpets, rugs, and anything made of leather. The sooner you get the infestation under control, the better chance you have of minimizing the damage.

Where to Look

An infestation of silverfish is difficult to find because they lurk where there is very little human traffic. They like to hide in warm humid places like heating vents, furnaces, attics and laundry rooms. If you go outdoors, you might find them slithering around your porch lights. Because they are nocturnal, there is very little chance of spotting them during daytime.

The only chance you have of finding an infestation is to look for the telltale signs. If a silverfish has been chewing the adhesive in your books, you’ll see tiny markings in the bindings. If you see tiny yellow stains and microscopic black droppings, this may be their waste.

Getting Rid of An Infestation

There are a number of natural remedies to try before using chemical pesticides, which could be harmful to your family’s health as well as your pets. Natural pest control solutions are not nearly as dangerous as chemicals and can be just as effective. Here are some options:

  • Cedar Shavings

Silverfish hate the smell of cedar, so if you spread some cedar shavings around all possible entry points, and where you suspect their nest to be, they will leave. You can find cedar shavings being sold in bulk in pet supply stores if you check the small animal section.

  • Lavender Oil

Silverfish also hate the smell of lavender oil. Fill a spray bottle with water and pour in a few drops of lavender oil and shake. Spray the solution wherever you’ve seen evidence of silverfish, the grout between tiles and on caulking. This is an excellent non-lethal way of getting these pests to leave your home.

  • Diatomaceous Earth

If the non-lethal deterrents mentioned above don’t work you can always try diatomaceous earth. This poses health risks, so you will need to block off the entire area, so your kids and pets won’t ingest any. Sprinkle this around the area of the infestation and leave it for a day. The following day it’s important that you vacuum all the powder up, along with the dead silverfish.

Preventive Measures

It is always best to do everything you can to prevent an infestation of silverfish. In doing this you should look around your home to see if there are any leaking pipes or unnecessary water sources that could cause humidity. Also, it would be wise to keep books and magazines stored in sealed containers so they can’t be used as a food source.


If you suspect that you have silverfish slithering around your home, it’s important to quickly do what you can to get rid of them before they do any serious damage. If you’ve tried the natural methods discussed above and still can’t seem to rid your home of silverfish, you may have to explore involving a professional pest control company.

David Lewis

David Lewis

What started out as an intention to keep pests away from my home has turned into a mission to share my research with as many people as possible. For the majority of common household pests, there are many simple yet effective do-it-yourself pest control methods to help you eliminate and keep them away.

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