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How to Get Rid of Silverfish

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

If you’ve found a silverfish bug in your home, it’s not just in for a visit; that one and others most likely are living there with you.

Great, right?

But hey, set worry aside because these silvery bugs are pretty easy to get rid of with a little patience and the right remedy put in place. Let’s learn now.

Covered below is the “all-you-need-to-know” lowdown for how to get rid of silverfish.

You’ll learn a little bit more about what a silverfish bug is (don’t worry, nothing too gross – you surely already know about that part!).

We’ll also cover what to do to make these strange silver bugs vanish, along with some tips to keep them from coming back.

Here are the 3 Steps to removal that we’ll cover:

  1. Get a highly effective poison trap that is 100% safe for your household
  2. Place the bait strategically around your house (more on this below)
  3. Give it time to work its magic
  4. Take some important measures to prevent silver fish bugs from coming back

What is a Silverfish Bug?

Silverfish crawling on book

If you haven’t already confirmed it, a silverfish (or fishmoth) is a wingless insect that gets its household name from its appearance.

With its metallic gray (silver) body that tapers from head to tail, a silverfish slithers across surfaces in speedy steps and quick turns – like a fish under water.

They are nocturnal, and you’ll usually find them hiding under objects if they aren’t already crawling around the floor in plain site.

You’ll find them in many sizes, from baby silverfish to larger adult ones.

What do they eat? Carbohydrates.

Starch and fiber are their food of choice, and nothing is better than cardboard, books, newspaper, starchy foods and powders, cotton and most linens besides wool and fur.

This is why you often find them in your kitchen hanging out in old grain and cereal or cake mixture boxes.

To boot, they also prefer environments with higher humidity and lots of dark places to hide, making the kitchen a great habitat.

Bathrooms, basements, crawlspaces and attics also provide ideal climates for silverfish bugs.

Are Silverfish Harmful?

These little bugs are pretty much harmless to us humans and our pets. They aren’t known to be carriers of harmful diseases, unlike other, larger unhealthy pests say like a pigeon.

They will pretty much leave us alone. Although, some have reported silverfish bites if they end up in your bed for example.

Interestingly enough, silverfish bugs have relatively long life spans, ranging from a couple years to five or more.

They lay eggs, which of course can hatch dozens of new generations.

Babies are smaller and a brighter gray, darkening a little and taking on the familiar shine as they mature.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish Insects

Believe it or not, the predators of silverfish bugs are spiders and earwigs. Just get a few more spiders to solve your problem, right?

Fortunately, there is an easier, more dependable and permanent way to go about it.

The best approach for how to kill silverfish is to lay out a bait made specifically for this type of bug. Something that attracts them and kills them once they consume it.

A company called Dekko has created bait packs just for silverfish bugs.

Silverfish poison
Dekko Silverfish Bait: See Reviews on Amazon

How does it work?

You simply place these small packs around where you see most of these bugs, give it some time, and the problem goes away in most cases.

This is much better than spraying or spreading poisons like gels or boric acid dust, which can end up getting in places you don’t want, especially when you’re dealing with food areas.

It’s also pretty economical as compared to other, riskier controls or expensive exterminators.

How to Use the Silverfish Bait Packs:

The following is a helpful list of steps along with some tips on how to best use this product. Additionally, always follow directions included to help give you the best chance for your staving off your infestation.

Place in the Correct Spots

Place silverfish bait packs in closets, drawers, bookcases, basements, pantries, kitchen cabinets and so on; anywhere you see silverfish bugs.

Dekko sells these in boxes of 24 packs; and so for best results, place 2-3 in each area, not just one.

Be sure to space them at least a foot apart, but no more than three feet apart.

Outsmart Silverfish Intruders

Be creative with your placement if necessary.

For example, silverfish like dark, moist places like bathrooms.

So put some packs behind toilets, bathroom cabinets, under water heaters, washers, near hot water pipes, basement corners, etc.

A Little Patience Goes a Long Way

Have patience! One thing users of these packs complain about is that the problem with silverfish in their house didn’t go away quickly.

Dekko recommends waiting a few weeks before seeing results such as finding dead ones or seeing fewer; but ultimately, it could realistically take up to six months depending on how many you have or how easy it is for these bugs to enter your home.

Think Long Term

Your treatments should include a long-term maintenance plan of both using the treatment and a plan to prevent sliverfish bugs in your house.

Just a Note of Caution

While poison in these packs is not highly toxic to humans, by all means do not make these easily accessible to small children and pets.

If necessary, you can tape packs to the backs of toilets or to the tops of cabinets to get them out of reach of little ones.

You’ll Need New Bait Eventually

Replace packs over time, especially if it’s taking more than a few months to get rid of the silverfish bugs.

Remember the Big Picture

Some people report this product will take care of small infestations only. If you have a big problem, it may require a major clean-up of your home first.

Throw away old food in cabinets, recycle old newspapers, magazines and books, take care of moisture leaks or excessive humidity, do a deep cleaning of all surfaces, etc.

In other words, don’t expect these to solve really large infestations where there are bigger things at play than just a few munchies for these bugs laying around your house.

Look for Your Kill

You’ll know your treatment is working if you start to see dead silverfish. Keep in mind you may not end up finding dead ones, but rather just noticing them disappear over time.

Kudos to Dekko

Dekko has great customer service and is there to help you if you have specific questions or are having trouble using their product with success.

If all else fails, they will even give you your money back, but it’s good to know you can work with them first before giving up.

You can buy just one box of these if you want to try them out. However, to make sure you have them on hand for future or maintenance treatments in the coming year and beyond, you can get the 2-pack at cheaper cost than buying three separate boxes. This is a great way to save money in the long run.

Preventing Silverfish

Silverfish eating old paper

The best ways for keeping silverfish from coming inside in the first place is to seal things up, remove or at least make food sources hard to reach.

And according to recommendations from the EPA when it comes to pests, some simple steps can go a long way. You have to find a balance, since you can’t take the “bubble boy” approach to everything in your home.

Here are few tips to keep in mind, which can help reduce the potential of getting these bugs in the first place.

Start Treating Early

Use the Dekko silverfish traps described above early on. Don’t wait until you see dozens of these bugs; start treating your home after you see only a couple.

This way, you can actually stop any real infestation threat.

Change Your Storage Habits

Since these bugs thrive on paper and clothing products, check what you’re storing in damp basements or attics.

Don’t use cardboard boxes for your old books, files or clothing. If you’re hanging on to this stuff, it must be important to you, so invest in some plastic tubs or containers with snap-on lids.

Not only are they easily stackable and last longer, you can seal them up better and keep out silverfish.

If you have to, get more organized to make this happen. Consolidate these items in containers and keep them safe. You can even use these containers in closets for linens, towels and clothing you don’t use as often.

Time to Let Wallpaper Go…or Keep it Dry

Silverfish bugs also like wallpaper and even the paste that sticks wallpaper to the wall. Keep areas where you have wallpaper dry and treat by laying packs along baseboards for these walls.

Be the TSA of Your Home

Watch for what comes into your home from deliveries.

Without realizing it, you could be bringing silverfish into your house inside packing materials and/or cardboard boxes that may have just come from dark, damp warehouses.

Check all packaging carefully and throw it away or recycle it as soon as possible.

Sealing Up Always Helps

As with sealing out any insect such as tiny ants and clever flies, try to seal cracks and gaps around baseboards, plumbing and windows. It’s the first way in for many critters like silverfish bugs to get in.

Finally, if you want to learn a whole lot more about this mysterious creature, check out this informative video:


Should I Worry if I See One Silverfish?


One silverfish most likely means there are more somewhere in your home.

Silverfish like to live in humid, wet, and dark environments so check bathrooms, kitchen pantries, bedding, the basement, attics, and around the foundation of your house to check for more silverfish that are most likely there.

What Kills Silverfish Instantly?

Boric acid will kill any and all silverfish on contact.

You can get it in a spray or powder form that you can then spray or sprinkle directly onto wherever the silverfish are.

Silverfish also do not like cinnamon or cedarwood oil.

So, if you enjoy the scent, you can create a spray with water and use it in areas to both kill silverfish and help prevent them from coming back.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Silverfish?

Silverfish are generally quick to get rid of and keep from coming back using the methods covered in this article.

Once you get rid of all silverfish that you can see, vacuum up the boric acid powder (if you used this) and any dead silverfish and repeat for a few days.

Next, continue to use a silverfish bait (either the traps above, boric acid or diatomaceous earth, to lure them out of the walls and other places.

If you combine the bait with cleaning up any water or spilled food, you should be rid silverfish in about 2 -3 weeks.

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