Silverfish Identification and Biology

By DoMyOwn staff

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Physical Appearance

  • Silverfish have long, slender, flat silvery bodies
  • Body is broad near the head, gradually tapering near the tail
  • Silverfish do not have wings
  • Silverfish are about ½ to 1 inch long
  • Color is brown or silver-gray
  • Abdomen has three filaments extending from it

Behavior & Habitat

Silverfish normally live outdoors under rocks, bark, and leaves. When silverfish are found indoors, they prefer moist places such as basements, bathtubs, laundry rooms, sinks and kitchens. However, they may also be found near food sources including book shelves, behind baseboards and wallpaper, and around window and door frames.

Feeding Habits

Silverfish will eat almost anything, including wallpaper paste, flour, starch, dried beef, gum, paper, glue, rayon, sugar, cotton, linen, silk, breakfast cereal, and mold.

Life Cycle

Adult silverfish lay small groups of up to 50 eggs carefully hidden within cracks and crevices. Silverfish eggs normally hatch within two weeks, but may also take as long as two months. It takes several years before young silverfish are sexually mature, and then a female silverfish lays less than 100 eggs in her lifetime of two to eight years. Therefore, silverfish populations do not grow very rapidly.


Silverfish are pests mostly because of their diet. While silverfish can not physically harm humans or animals, they will damage wallpaper, book bindings, paper goods and some dry food. Silverfish may also eat small holes in fabrics including linen, cotton, and silk.


  • Practice good sanitation to help prevent further silverfish population growth
  • Use of a residual pesticide such as Suspend SC will help control silverfish
  • Remove old papers, books, boxes, and clothes from storage areas. This will aid the control process by removing food sources and hiding places.

Professional Products for Silverfish Control:

For more detailed information on Silverfish prevention and control, see How To Get Rid of Silverfish

View all Silverfish Control products


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