Learning What Attracts Silverfish

What Attracts Silverfish?

Silverfish aren’t your average household pest. They are ancient creepy crawlers with a reputation for being a challenge to control. They are speedy, sneaky, and not attracted to the typical alluring sugars and oils other pesky bugs are fond of. So, what attracts silverfish to your home?

If they aren’t there for the fruits beautifully displayed on your countertops or the sugar cookie crumbs your toddler left behind, what are they there for?

James River Pest Solutions answers precisely that. Continue reading to learn what attracts silverfish and other intriguing facts about this not-so-average pest. Discover what inside your home may invite silverfish indoors.

Fascinating Facts About Silverfish

Silverfish are common household pests. Yet, most people know little about them. You may know several facts about cockroaches, flies, and spiders. But how much do you know about the silverfish?

The following facts are some of the unique qualities of this fascinating insect.

Silverfish Predate Dinosaurs

100 million years before dinosaurs even existed, silverfish were crawling around. They are one of the oldest insects on the planet, along with dragonflies and millipedes.

Silverfish Live Longer than Most Insects

Many bugs live less than a year. Some of the lifespans of insects are merely weeks. But the silverfish can live from 3 to 6 years on average. They’ve even been known to live for a long 8 years!

Silverfish are Resilient

Most poisons and other pest control methods do not phase the resilient silverfish. Because it has been around for so long, they have built an incredible immunity to our common efforts to get rid of them.

A Year without Food is Nothing for Silverfish

If you have a silverfish problem at home, one of the first things you may do is ensure you have no exposed foods, especially sweets. However, they can live an entire year without a single meal. Plus, silverfish aren’t attracted to sugars like many other pests. They prefer paper, glue, cardboard, and pasta. YUM.

Fight or Flight?

Silverfish have no other defense against predators other than their extreme speed. Despite being small and nonaggressive, they have survived for millions of years because of this refined skill.

Debris and moisture and a silverfish

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

Now you know a little more about this unbelievable pest, it is important to be able to identify them inside your home. Its scaly, silver body gives the silverfish its name. And to top it all off, the insect has quick, fish-like movements.

Here are the other key identifiers of silverfish:

  • Size- ½ inch to 1 inch
  • Shape- Narrow, carrot-like body
  • Legs- 6
  • Three tail-like appendages
  • Antennae

What Attracts Silverfish?

It’s very common to spot silverfish in your home. This pest does not only infest filthy homes. They can be found in the cleanest of homes and ones in terrible condition. All the silverfish is looking for is shelter, moisture, and something to eat. And as mentioned before, silverfish eat all kinds of household items, like newspapers and cardboard boxes. They aren’t particularly after spills and syrups.

So, what attracts silverfish? The following are some of the most alluring things for these unique pests:

  • High humidity
  • Damp areas
  • Leaking plumbing fixtures
  • Condensation collecting on windows
  • Starches
  • Proteins
  • Some sugars
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Fabrics

Let’s dive deeper into the main things that attract silverfish to your home, like moisture, starches, and ideal hiding spots.


Silverfish need high levels of humidity to survive indoors and outside. If you live in an area where the outdoor humidity levels are above 75%, you can suspect silverfish are scurrying around.

However, the typical humidity level in our homes does not usually exceed 75%. So, how can they possibly last indoors?

More likely than not, your first spotting of a silverfish in your home would be in the laundry room, bathroom, attic, garages, basement, crawl space, kitchen, or another damp room. Here, silverfish can find the moisture they need and thrive.

Outdoor conditions can also affect the likelihood of silverfish making their way into your house. The following elements can increase your chance of a silverfish infestation:

  • Mulch- Notorious for holding moisture, mulch is excellent for reducing water loss around your plants and bushes. However, it also attracts all kinds of pests fond of damp environments, including silverfish.
  • Vegetation Near the Home’s Structure- Shaded areas from bushes and trees bordering your home’s exterior cause excess moisture. When it rains in these locations, the soil will dry much slower than in other spots in your yard. Silverfish are attracted to these areas, giving them easy access to any cracks or openings in the structure of your home. In no time, they’ll find their way inside.
  • Poor Drainage- when your gutters are spilling water or stopped up by leaves and other debris, flooding is likely. These are favorable conditions for the silverfish.

Debris and moisture and a silverfish


There are many objects in your home that may attract silverfish. More specifically, these sneaky pests are fond of the following:

  • Fabrics- Silverfish enjoy all kinds of materials, like cotton, linen, silk, and leather. If the fabric has some food spilled or adhesives, it might as well be a meal from a five-star restaurant.
  • Books- When you spot silverfish roaming indoors, you may want to inspect your precious books. These pests love getting into books to eat away at the pages, especially the glue holding them together.
  • Wallpaper- Walls decorated in floral or geometric patterned wallpaper can be stunning and bring interest to blank spaces. Unfortunately, silverfish love the wallpaper in your home, too. All too easily, they can find their way behind your expensive wallpaper and gnaw at the paste holding it to the surface. This causes your wallpaper to sag and peel, leading to the need to replace an entire section. Perhaps, at this point, you’ll ditch the adorable wallpaper for a coat of paint.

The Perfect Hiding Places

Silverfish prefer dark and damp places. Any nook or cranny in your home is a potential ideal home for silverfish. When suspecting a silverfish infestation, be sure to check out the following common hiding spots:

  • In the Bathroom- Silverfish are often seen crawling in and out of the sink, bathtub, and shower drains. They may also hide away under the cabinet or behind the toilet.
  • In the Kitchen– These speedy pests are found in your kitchen sink, cabinets, and near other plumbing fixtures in the kitchen. You may also spot one- or a few- behind the refrigerator or under the gaps of appliances like an oven.
  • Outdoors- If you have piles of yard waste you have ignored, silverfish may have already made a home of it. These areas are sheltered, often moist and dark. It’s a paradise for silverfish. Also, you may find silverfish under rocks and outdoor decks.

Are Silverfish Dangerous?

Fortunately, silverfish are not considered a danger to humans. They do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases like other home invaders, such as cockroaches and flies. And the damage they do is typically minor. They may chew at books, fabrics, and pantry products, but they won’t inflict substantial damage to the structure of your house, like termites or carpenter ants. Nevertheless, they are still a nuisance.

For some people, the presence of silverfish can irritate allergies. They have fine scales that are shed regularly. These tiny scales can cause typical allergy symptoms for some individuals, like coughing, a stuffy nose, or itchy skin and eyes. However, this is more likely to occur when there is a large number of silverfish in the home.

How Can You Prevent Silverfish?

Silverfish are resilient pests, immune to many poisons used to exterminate other infestations. The best thing to do is contact your local pest experts with the experience, knowledge, and tools to rid your home of these stubborn pests.

In the meantime, implement silverfish prevention measures to keep them from thriving indoors:

  • Make Necessary Repairs to your home’s structure. Silverfish and other common pests often enter the home through tiny gaps and openings in walls, doors, and windows.
  • Keep the damp areas of your home, like the kitchen and bathroom, as dry as possible. Use exhaust fans to suck the humidity out of these moisture hot spots and address plumbing leaks immediately.
  • Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%.
  • Dispose of unnecessary paper products and fabrics.
  • Use tightly sealed containers for pantry products.

James River Pest Solutions Will Get Rid of What Attracts Silverfish

At James River, there’s no pest we cannot handle. Silverfish are no exception. Our years of experience and skilled staff will eliminate the sneaky silverfish lurking in the corners of your home in no time. Then, we’ll guide you through the tips and tricks to keep them from returning.

Reach out to James River Pest Solutions to get rid of pesky silverfish today.


We’re Licensed through the State of Virginia and certified by The Department Of Agriculture.
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