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Everything You Need To Know About Silverfish In Washington DC, Maryland & Virginia


The Guide To Silverfish In Washington DC, Maryland & Northern VA

Are you tired of seeing silverfish in your house? Sick of them damaging your clothing and paper items? Wondering how they got inside to begin with? Keep reading to learn more about silverfish, and what you can do about them.


Silverfish, also known as bristletails or fish-moths, are small insects with slender, flattened, teardrop-shaped bodies and three long tail-like appendages bristles arising from the tip of their abdomen. Silverfish are approximately ½ an inch to 1 inch in length and is white to brown-grey or bluish-silver in color. Silverfish have chewing mouthparts, long antennae, and the body is nearly always covered with scales.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Silverfish are known for their destructive feeding habits, oftentimes ruining papers, clothing and wallpaper. If you have silverfish in your home, there is little doubt that they will find the food they are looking for, since the average home has a wide selection of tasty things for silverfish to feed on. These occasional invaders feed on carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches. Cellulose, glue in books, linen, silk clothing, and dead insects may be food sources, as well as wallpaper, old photos, curtains, and tapestries. They have even been found in unopened food packages.

Where Do Silverfish Live?

Silverfish are capable of thriving in most climates. Silverfish prefer to dwell in warm, dark, damp areas such as basement utility rooms, attics, kitchens, and upstairs bathrooms. They are especially attracted to paper and damp clothing. Silverfish are frequently found in stored boxes in garages and sheds.

Silverfish Prefer Plentiful Moisture And High Humidity

Silverfish can survive in almost any environment, but they definitely prefer areas with high humidity and moisture. Silverfish nymphs mature and develop faster in areas that are humid. One of the best ways to prevent an infestation of silverfish is to control the humidity inside the structure you're trying to protect.

Silverfish Are Nocturnal And Secretive

Silverfish are nocturnal, and they can move relatively fast for their small size. They are secretive, which means that an infestation of silverfish may go unnoticed for a while, allowing them to complete multiple life cycles before detection. Silverfish can reproduce quickly, so an infestation can get out of hand shortly after the first silverfish is spotted and identified.

How Quickly Can Silverfish Reproduce?

The egg numbers and egg laying habits of female silverfish vary, depending on the specific species of silverfish you are dealing with. One common species lays a few eggs a day, whereas another common species lays clusters of 2 to 20 eggs at a time. Silverfish undergo love dances prior to mating. Males lay spermatophores, which are taken into the ovipositor of female specimens.

Why Are Silverfish Drawn To Homes?

Silverfish enter homes in search of shelter and food, because they don't know the difference between your home and any other object found in nature. As you see more and more silverfish, you may start noticing a pattern in where you see them: they tend to be found in warm areas with high humidity and moisture, such as the bathroom (especially upstairs), laundry rooms, or basement utility rooms. This is because silverfish need the moisture to survive.

Silverfish will enter homes through cracks in the foundation, torn screens, and gaps around doors. They can also climb the walls of your home, and may enter directly into the attic through the gap in the soffit, where the siding of your home meets the eaves.

Just as silverfish prefer warm, humid places inside, they also prefer warm, humid places outside of the home. Anything that traps or accumulates moisture around the home encourages nearby silverfish to congregate. Here are some of the most common things that can attract silverfish:

  • Leaf piles, especially when they are close to the home
  • Thick weeds and/or thatch
  • Piles of wood or other items such as firewood and/or construction materials, especially when they're directly on the ground
  • Anything that can prevent the ground from drying, such as large rocks, tarps, and toys
  • Mulch
  • Leaky spigots
  • Clogged or broken gutters

Once silverfish are on your property, and up close to your home, it's just a matter of time until they find ways into your home. Any gaps, cracks, or holes on the exterior of your home are potential entry points for silverfish.

How Do Silverfish Get Inside My Home?

Not only can silverfish get inside homes by invading from around the outside of your home, but homeowners and other residents often bring silverfish indoors on accident. When silverfish are brought inside the home, cardboard boxes and other moving containers recently stored inside infested areas can allow silverfish to spread and become a nuisance.

Because of their affinity to moisture and humidity, silverfish are potentially a warning sign that your home has developed entry points that have been caused by water damage. While silverfish are definitely something that most people don't want inside their home, they are sometimes an indication of an even larger problem. If having silverfish leads you to discovering water or other property damage, those issues must be addressed, or you will likely continue to have issues with silverfish, not to mention the potential for mold, mildew, fungus, algae, and other unwelcome organisms.

Getting Rid Of Silverfish

Traps and insecticides sold in stores will only kill individual pests, and cannot address the source of the silverfish, or the rest of the infestation. Properly addressing a silverfish infestation requires getting rid of adult silverfish, treating their harborages, and correcting any conducive conditions lending to their presence. Most do-it-yourself remedies prove ineffective over time, as treating silverfish yourself frequently results in brief periods of respite, followed by renewed pest activity. If you're seeing silverfish in your home or business, we recommend hiring a professional pest control company.

There is a wide variety of silverfish traps available for purchase. These traps do not get rid of silverfish at the source, and only catch individual silverfish as they are traveling through an area, so they do not get rid of entire silverfish populations. Some people try to use cinnamon or essential oils to get rid of or repel silverfish, but these typically will not kill silverfish unless applied directly to them.

What Can People Do To Help Prevent A Silverfish Infestation?

  • Control the humidity inside your home or business - the dryer the air inside, the less likely you are to have an issue with silverfish.
  • Ensure your roof and gutters are free from leaves and other build up, and in good repair.
  • Inspect the outside of your home and seal up any gaps, cracks, or holes you find, using an appropriately labeled sealant.
  • Replace the mulch around your home with a material that doesn't retain as much moisture, such as crushed rock.
  • Maintain a 2 to 3 foot vegetation free zone around the perimeter of the structure you're trying to protect.
  • Store firewood and construction materials away from the structure.
  • Remove piles of leaves from around your property.

Miche Pest Control Gets Rid Of Silverfish In Washington DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia

Miche Pest Control is a family owned and operated pest control company that provides extermination services for silverfish in Washington DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia. Our expert technicians get rid of pest infestations fast, and use preventative methods to keep pests from coming back after they’ve been eliminated. Miche Pest Control has a 4.9 star rating and over 1,000 reviews online - give us a call today!