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Debunking Myths: Separating Fact From Fiction About Silverfish

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Silverfish—those small, wriggly bugs that sneak around in the shadows of our basements and bathrooms. As a homeowner or tenant, you might have spotted these silvery pests and wondered just how much trouble they’re causing in your cozy nook.

Are they munching through your cherished books? Could they harm Fluffy the cat?.

Here’s one thing to set straight: despite their creepy appearance, silverfish (lepisma saccharina for the science buffs) aren’t out to get us. They don’t bite, nor are they plotting against our pets.

In this blog post, we’ll shine a light on what’s myth versus reality when it comes to these nocturnal critters and offer practical tips—you don’t need an exterminator’s license—to send them packing.

Ready for some peace of mind? Let’s dive into the world of silverfish without any fuss or fluff—and say goodbye to unwelcome guests!

Common Misconceptions About Silverfish

Silverfish, those mysterious, slithery pests often spotted in our homes—what do we really know about them? Let’s clear the air and address some of the myths floating around that may have more fiction than fact baked into them.

Attracted to dampness/moisture

They love wet places. Keep an eye on your bathroom, kitchen, and basement – these spots often have what silverfish want. Humidity makes them happy; that’s why they hang out there. If you keep these areas dry, you can make them less inviting for these pests.

Using dehumidifiers helps a lot to cut down the moisture in your home. This will chase silverfish away because they need dampness to stick around. Seal up leaks and use fans to air things out—simple steps like these make a big difference in controlling humidity levels.

Harmful to pets

Silverfish love damp places, but what about their effect on your furry friends? No need to worry—your pets are safe. Unlike pests like ticks and mosquitoes that can harm animals, silverfish don’t bite or spread diseases to pets.

Some bugs make you cautious about your pet’s health; however, these critters aren’t a threat in that way.

Sure, finding them might give your cat or dog something curious to sniff at. But they’re not food for them either. Pest control around the home is still important though—you’d use things like diatomaceous earth and sticky traps to keep numbers down without risking harm to pets.

If issues persist, professional pest control can help manage the situation safely with methods like integrated pest management (IPM).

Can cause damage to household items

Silverfish love to munch on starchy foods. They often find these in our homes. Books, papers, and clothing can get holes because silverfish like the glue or fibers in them. These bugs might also go after wallpaper and stored items in cardboard boxes.

To keep our things safe, we should use airtight containers for storage. It’s smart to check old books and paper piles sometimes too. If you see tiny pepper-like droppings or small yellow stains, silverfish may be visiting your stuff! But don’t worry—these pests usually prefer hidden spots and don’t often cause big damage.

Still, keeping our homes dry helps stop them from getting cozy among our belongings.

The Truth About Silverfish

In dispelling the myths, let’s dive into what science says about these ancient, nocturnal crawlers. Silverfish may skitter through our homes under the cloak of darkness, but understanding their true nature and habits illuminates a path to coexistence—not fear.

Require humidity to survive

Silverfish love damp spots. These scurrying bugs need moisture to live. They often hide where it’s wet, like bathrooms and kitchens. To keep them away, dry out those areas. Use dehumidifiers or fans and fix leaky pipes.

It’s smart – silverfish can’t thrive without enough humidity.

Keeping your home less humid is a good step. Seal cracks with caulk to stop these pests from coming back in too. Remember, they’re hunting for moist places! If you cut off their water source, you make your space less welcoming for them.

Do not harm pets

Pets are safe around silverfish. These little bugs might seem creepy, but they won’t hurt your cat or dog. They don’t bite or carry diseases that could harm your furry friends. So even if you spot a silverfish near your pet’s food dish or bed, no need to worry – your pets will be just fine.

It’s always smart to keep an eye out for any pest in the house, but with silverfish, there’s no risk to animal safety.

Can cause damage, but rarely do so

Silverfish love to munch on starchy stuff like glue, paper, and clothing. Now and then, they might nibble on wallpaper or books. But let’s be real—they’re not big-time destroyers.

Your home won’t crumble because of them.

Sure, finding holes in a favorite shirt can be a bummer. Yet these critters don’t chow down on household items all the time. They sneak around at night, so spotting one doesn’t mean your place is falling apart.

Keep things dry and clean—you’ll make it tough for silverfish to feel at home.


Alright, let’s clear things up about silverfish. They need wet places to live, but they don’t harm our pets or chew through our stuff often. Remember, simple steps can keep them away—like using a dehumidifier and sealing cracks.

If you spot one, no panic needed; they’re mostly harmless night crawlers just doing their thing!


1. Can silverfish be kept away with essential oils like linalool?

Sure, some folks believe essential oils can repel household pests, and linalool is one such scent said to keep silverfish at bay—though scientific proof is iffy.

2. Are silverfish active all night or do they sleep?

Those little insects are night owls! Silverfish prefer the dark and are most active during the night; that’s when they go out and about.

3. Do spiders eat silverfish or just ignore them?

Oh, spiders definitely don’t ignore them. They would happily snack on silverfish—considering them tasty prey!

4. What’s this about silverfish marking their territories… Do they really?

Nope, not at all! Unlike animals that use scent for territorial marking—like feline friends with their litter boxes—silverfish don’t mark their territories.

5. I heard something weird—that silverfish have telepathic powers—is it true?

Ha! That’s a wild one but nope, absolutely false; telepathy isn’t in a bug’s toolkit of tricks… It’s pure fiction!

6. So can pyrethrin-based pesticides knock out a silverfish problem?

Yes! Pyrethrin as an insecticidal agent can be quite effective against these pests along with other creepy crawlies like cockroaches and earwigs.