annoying silverfishhome remedy for silverfish bugs

How to Get Rid of Silverfish Bugs

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By Johnny Bevers

Facts About Silverfish Bugs

Silverfish bugs can be easily identified by their scaly silver exoskeleton and antennas. They have scales that cover nearly the entirety of their body and are only an inch in size at most. Nearly unidentifiable by the naked eye, they can be hard to get rid of once they’ve invaded your home. They prefer a dark and damp habitat, but they are resilient. They live for an average of three years and can go for an entire year without food and adapt to essentially any habitat.

Silverfish can bring down the value of a home. They can damage your foundation, nest in your food, and destroy wallpaper. Their food of choice is glue and starch. When they eat they leave behind yellow stains and holes where they were feeding. These stains are hard to clean up and the holes destroy your property.

What Happens If A Silverfish Bug Bites You?

Silverfish bites are almost unheard of. They will destroy your clothing, books, and other cloth-like products, but they are not poisonous. Silverfish, because of their similar appearance, are often mistaken for centipedes and fire brats which can be poisonous. It is important to recognize the difference between a Silverfish bug and the lookalikes. Here is how to identify which one is in your home:


  • Size: Half inch to one inch.
  • Habitat: Dark, warm, damp places. Oftentimes hiding in clothing near food sources or in bathrooms where it’s moist.
  • Do NOT bite and are NOT poisonous.


  • Size: One to two inches.
  • Greyish yellow coloring.
  • 15 sets of legs.
  • They feed on silverfish.
  • CAN be poisonous.

Fire Brats

  • One to one and a half centimeters, much smaller than Silverfish bugs.
  • Brown coloring with a greyish tint.
  • Like warm temperatures, like Silverfish bugs.
  • Can be found in warm rooms, same habitat as Silverfish.
  • Poisonous! They eat anything in sight making them nothing more than a poisonous pouch of venom. Steer clear.

How To Kill Them

silverfish remedies pic of lady applying bug spray

To say killing Silverfish bugs is difficult is an understatement to say the least. Years of evolution have been kind to these slimy creatures, and they are built to last. In order to kill them you must learn about their habitat, reproduction patterns, and how to identify them. Identification is easy if you can locate the tiny creature. Their scaly appearance and slimy texture makes them easy to pick out, but their small bodies make it easy for them to hide.

Trying to chase them down is futile. They are very fast when traveling short distances and quick to find crevices to hide in. The best bet is to either find their nests and spray them or call a professional exterminator. If you choose to spray them yourself it is a good idea to use Proxopur, a widely available insecticide. It can be obtained at hardware stores or garden supply markets. The Proxopur should be applied to the bottom corners of room and crevices in furniture. It will not kill the eggs but it will decrease numbers and eventually kill the bugs as they hatch.

Proxopur is highly abrasive and operates by destroying the Silverfish bug’s outer coating. Its strong wax-like coating is what holds in water. Like all other animals, the Silverfish bug needs water to survive. Without its coating it can no longer retain water, killing it by way of dehydration. A professional exterminator will do essentially the same exact thing, but it’s going to run you a pretty penny. Try to get rid of them yourself if you have the ability. However, if you cannot solve the problem alone, the price of an exterminator is well worth saving the value of your home.

How To Get Rid Of Silverfish Bugs Naturally

silverfish home remedy

Natural and organic methods are a preferable extermination method and preventative measure for a lot of people. There are ecofriendly ways of preventing and exterminating the infestation of Silverfish bugs:

  • Keep a clean home: This point cannot be stressed enough, a clean home will mean nowhere for the bugs to settle and nest. This is the best measure you can possibly take. In addition it does no damage to the environment.
  • Get rid of their food: Loose paper and books are what these bugs seek out. Throw all unneeded paper away. If keeping these items is absolutely necessary, put them in a plastic bag out of the reach of the bugs.
  • Keep the house dry: Clean up spills and use a dehumidifier to dry up the rooms in your house. Wipe off plumbing around the toilet, sink, and bath and fix any leaks as they are found.
  • Plants can keep them away: A few plants are known for deterring silverfish infestations. These plants act as natural insecticides and do no harm to the ecosystem. The plants include camphor, dried rosemary, costmary sprigs, and cucumber peels.
  • See out professional help: There are several eco-friendly exterminators should you not be able to get rid of the bugs yourself.

How To Prevent Them From Entering Your Home

Because Silverfish bugs prefer a damp, dark area, the key to keeping your house free of silverfish bugs is to make your house inhospitable to them. They can survive almost anywhere but seek out places close to their food source (paper, glue, wood, etc.) They tend to nest in linens, hiding during the daytime and scavenging at night. Keeping a clean house will help clear the infestation because the bugs will have less places to hide. Seal up cracks and cover floorboards. Make sure everything is dry and there are no linens lying about.


A few good preventative measures are:

  • Keeping the house clean, sanitation is the key to keeping Silverfish bugs at bay. These sneaky animals will find the smallest crevice and make it their home.
  • Remove their food sources; while you need to keep your clothes and can’t remove wallpaper, hanging your clothes and keeping junk off the floor (clothes, crumbs, food) is a good start.
  • Keep your house dry. Try using a dehumidifier to dry up damp rooms.
  • Vacuum often! Eggs can be all over your floor and you wouldn’t see them. Vacuuming will remove and kill them before they hatch.

Silverfish bugs can also be outsmarted with traps. You can buy them at the store or make them yourself. To make one take a wide mouthed bottle, a mug, or a jar and put masking tape on it with a few bread crumbs sprinkled around the tape. They will climb the jar, fall in, and be unable to get back out of the trap. You can also buy store bought “sticky” traps that have a formula to attract the Silverfish bugs. These are generally very cheap and effective.


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