Are Silverfish Harmful To You Or Your Home?

Have you ever moved something in your bathroom, only to have a few silverfish run out? These silver coloured creepy crawlies would make many people feel uneasy if you encounter them in your house. But are silverfish harmful to us or our homes? Learn more about silverfish here and what you can do about them. Silverfish can be very difficult to control. This is especially true if you have an older home that is prone to mould or dampness from condensation.


What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are thought to be one of the oldest insects in the world. There has been proof that they have been around for 100 million years. This means that they were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth.


are silverfish harmful


These insects are normally a shiny grey or silver colour and will be around one inch long. Unlike most other insects, silverfish actually shed their skins through their lives. Silverfish are actually also more active at night. This is why they normally freak you out when you’re headed to the bathroom to brush your teeth.


Are Silverfish Harmful To Humans?

You’ll want to know if silverfish harmful to humans. Because of their appearance, many people question are silverfish harmful to humans. Here’s the good news. Silverfish have never been found to be harmful. So the answer to are silverfish harmful to humans is no. Yes, silverfish bite, but they won’t bite you.

Are silverfish harmful in other ways? Silverfish, unlike many other pests, are not known to carry any pathogens or diseases. However, are silverfish harmful if you have severe allergies? The answer to that one would be yes. Silverfish shed their skins much like cockroaches. When they do this, they leave behind scales. Some people can be highly allergic to the dust that is created from dropped scales.


Can They Harm Your Home?

Now there’s a bit of bad news. Silverfish may not be harmful to people, but they can do damage to your home and belongings. A silverfish diet is filled with sugars and carbohydrates. So they will literally feast on everything from cereals to your favourite books, wallpaper, insulation and clothing. In fact, there’s one very famous case of silverfish eating some very old and very expensive wallpaper.


silverfish eat books


Silverfish will also enjoy munching on tissue, newspaper and cardboard. Silverfish are quite disgusting for the fact they love eating human hair and dandruff from hair brushes and on the ground.

Whilst you may not be too upset that silverfish have had a nibble of old newspapers destined for the recycling bin, you probably don’t want to find holes in your clothing or family photos. Silverfish can very quickly ruin a family photo album if left to their own devices.

Silverfish are very common insects in many UK homes. Unfortunately, getting rid of silverfish can be a difficult task. They have very flat bodies and move very quickly, making them brilliant at hiding. And the fact that they only really come out at night doesn’t make them any easier to treat.


How To Prevent Silverfish

You don’t have to let silverfish rule your home and destroy your belongings. Knowing what causes silverfish can help you prevent them. Here are our top tips you can take to prevent silverfish and make your home less attractive for them.

  • Limit the food sources around your home. Anything that is dry goods should be kept in airtight and sealed containers. This could be anything like cereals, grains, pastas, rice and beans. Make sure all of these are stored properly in your cupboards.
  • Vacuum on a regular basis. Carpets, flooring and upholstery should all be hoovered to remove any fallen food debris there. This removes another food source for silverfish.
  • Use a dehumidifier in damp areas around your home. If you have a cellar, this could be particularly important. This will help to remove the moisture that silverfish are very attracted to.



Photo © Your Best Digs


  • Have proper ventilation around your home to let any humidity escape. Your bathroom should have the correct ventilation to stop moisture building up from baths and showers.
  • Keep your gutters cleaned out. This will help to ensure that water drains away from your home. Any pooling and standing water will attract silverfish very quickly.
  • Look around your home for any gaps and cracks. This could be outside or inside. The place where utilities enter your home should be checked thoroughly for holes. You should also look around your windows and baseboards to check they are properly sealed.
  • Fix any leaky plumbing in your bathroom. Silverfish are very common in the bathroom. So having leaky pipes or dripping taps creates that moisture that they crave.


How To Get Rid Of Silverfish

Are you already experiencing a silverfish infestation? Because it can be so tough to control a silverfish problem, it’s best to control the trained pest controllers. DIY methods won’t be as effective as having an experienced pest controller identify and treat the silverfish infestation.

Don’t let silverfish take over your home. Invest in expert residential and commercial insect control for silverfish from Empire Pest Control.