The Best Way to Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish (or fishmoth) are wingless insects that are called fish because of the way they move. They are very common household pets that usually infest wooden cabinets or wardrobes.

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Silverfish or Firebrats?

Commonly mistaken for the silverfish is the firebrat (Thermobia domestica).

Though not the same species, proper identification can be difficult.

Getting rid of silverfish requires you to determine whether what you are seeing is actually silverfish or just firebrats.

  • Silverfish are solid silver, blue gray or green; they are found in areas where the temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Firebrats are mottled grayish orange (sometime either white or black) and have more hair; they like places where the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (they are usually found near furnaces, boilers, or ovens).

How to Get Rid of Silverfish?

The key to getting rid of silverfish is to change the environment in which they live and prevent them from easily accessing a source of food.

1 – The warmer you make it, the better they like it. By cooling the infested area to 60°F or lower, egg production of both species can be seriously slowed or even stopped.

2 – Water is the key element for silverfish survival. Silverfish live in moist areas such as: in piles of mulch, piles of leaves, attics, kitchens, bathrooms, leaks and sinks. Silverfish also thrive in books, bookshelves, water heaters, stoves and laundry rooms, because they like it in places where the humidity level is high

Solution: Remove water sources.

a) Ventilate attics and basements.
b) Invest in dehumidifiers and fans.
c) Replace or fix leaky pipes and faucets.
d) Place silica gel in corners, holes, cracks, and in the cupboard under the sink.

3 – If you want to get rid of Silverfish find out where they are. You can also, find these insects in old, dark and damp places like cupboard corners or kitchen cabinets. In addition, they can be found in between news papers and old books.

Silverfish consume carbohydrates and sugars as their main diet and the cellulose in wood and paper serve as nutrition for them.

Solution: First of all get rid of all your old books and news papers. If you find them living inside a cupboard, a very effective methods is to use fumigation inside the cabinet. Also you can find several sprays that will kill the Silverfish.

4 –Silverfish are always near some food. You can catch them in starches, sugars and protein. Starch is a silverfish favorite, so watch your stock carefully. You can also find silverfish in synthetic fibers, cereals, silk, starched fabrics, wallpaper pastes and glues.


Removing their food sources is the key, but you can’t get rid of your clothes, wallpaper and books. Taking these items off the floor is a good start though, especially to avoid damage.

-Sanitation is a key to preventing silverfish in your home, clean often to remove food stuffs and crumbs from your home or the area in question. Vacuuming often to remove egg clutches/masses helps to prevent further silverfish.

-When killing silverfish, you can’t go wrong with poison. “Borax”, “diatomaceous earth” and “insecticidal dusts”, works wonders. The insecticide is sprayed around the baseboards of rooms and behind appliances (common silverfish areas).

While chemical methods as above are effective, they are dangerous to humans too. To avoid all that, best go for an ultrasonic pest repellent device. It works by emitting high frequency pulses that irritate the silverfish and thereby drive them out.

Natural Silverfish Control:

– A desiccant made from natural Pyrethrins and diatomaceous earth (food grade only!), Diatect V Organic Control is safe for people and pets. Diatomaceous earth scratches the insect or its breathing structure and causes dehydration.

– Silverfish supposedly don’t like the smell of cloves. You can help deter them by placing whole cloves in places where they are likely to be found.

– Boric acid powder is a natural insecticide that sticks to the legs of silverfish and is taken back to the nest.

– A natural product for getting rid of silverfish is Orange guard – uses d-Limonene, a component of the oil that is squeezed out of the rind of citrus fruits, to kill and repel silverfish.

– Jar trap – First, scrub a canning jar and make sure it’s squeaky clean. After this, cover the outside using masking tape. This will make it easier for the silverfish to climb. Place your home-made jar trap in the infested area. Once the silverfish climb up the jar, they will all fall inside it. Since the interiors of the trap jar are smooth, the silverfish will not be able to climb out and escape

– Sticky roach traps have always been useful and efficient when it comes to trapping firebrats and silverfish. Since you cannot make a sticky roach trap yourself, visit your local hardware store and purchase one.

– Common silverfish do not like heat or light. They prefer temps between 70 and 80° F. If you can tolerate it, heat the infested room to above 80°F or cool it to 60°F. Use light to force them into areas where they are easier to control.

– You can use traps that you can buy are the general sticky traps that attract the silverfish and then they get stuck. Simple yet effective traps.

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