What attracts silverfish?

silverfish in the house

Silverfish, just like any other living beings, are just trying to survive in this cold, cruel world. And your home, coincidentally, consists of all the things they need, including a way in or as we call them, entry points. However, if you do have silverfish or any other moisture pest, it means that those entry points have been created through some sort of water damage. Certain areas might develop mildew, mould, fungi, and many other natural organisms that will soften the wood in your walls and create the perfect doorway to many pests.

Still, the reasons are various and in this article, we will take a look at all the main things that will attract silverfish in a house or any other property.

Image by: Ryan Hodnett / License: CC BY SA 2.0

Carbohydrates and protein

One of the silverfish’s favourite meals are carbohydrates such as oats, flours, starch, paper, glue, insulation, old cardboard boxes and even book bindings. And as such small insects, they don’t need that much to get properly fed and rest for the day. They also feed on proteins like other dead insects and dried out beef.


Moisture plays a key part not only in providing an entry to the silverfish but in creating a cosy space for them to live in. Similar to scorpions and spiders, silverfish tend to hang out in the damp corners of your kitchen, bathroom, attic, kitchen cabinets, garages, laundry rooms, etc. Keeping in mind that they are a species that procreates quite fast, silverfish are always on the lookout for other moist areas in order to accommodate their offspring.

Locate the dampest places in your home and try to ventilate them more often or buy a dehumidifier to speed up the process.

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Silverfish are a very defensive, peace-loving species that rarely invades lively, urban homes. So if you live in the middle of London, it’s very unlikely that you will have a silverfish problem. As we mentioned earlier, they are most active during the nighttime and tend to avoid confrontation. Let’s just say that you are way more likely to see a silverfish running for its life than one in attack mode.

And that is if you even get to see one. They are active only during the night and hide in very small crevices that are difficult to see. If they are in luck and you are not, you will probably not even notice that there is an infestation.

Dark places

So they gather food in the night, run around during the night and hide in small dark places away from people. With that in mind, we can conclude that silverfish don’t really like brightness or hot weather, even if they are fans of humid areas and temperatures. You are more likely to find them in a gloomy basement than in a hot attic, especially during the summer.

Take a look and see where exactly in your house are those humid, somsomber

ber places and look for entry points close to the windows, baseboards, door trims and any holes in the walls. You can use expandable foam, spackle or caulking to fill these gaps.

What damage do silverfish cause?

The main entry points come from water damaged walls, sills, so having silverfish will mean that those points will grow bigger and cause problems in the future. These insects also feed on starch that is found in wallpaper, damage book bindings and all sorts of paper. They make holes in upholstered furniture and old clothing.

Even if your food is not necessarily their food, they can still get in contact with it while they are eating your cereal cardboard box or while sleeping in a dark kitchen cabinet. Dead silverfish can be just as dangerous as the live ones so we suggest that you regularly clean up all places where you store your food.

Silverfish are not the most dangerous insect, but people with allergies can still be quite sensitive to their presence due to the allergen Tropomyosin, which is also found in shellfish and shrimps. However, this is the biggest problem silverfish can cause, as they do not transmit any diseases whatsoever.

Silverfish are not the only insects that feed on others like them. Having a full-on infestation can lead to bigger crawlies coming to your property, freeing you from the silverfish but still bringing a lot more serious trouble.

Silverfish Are A Warning Sign Of Other Damage

Having silverfish is scary not because of the creature itself but because they often bring a ton of other problems along with them. They cannot create their entry points by themselves, they need to find one and, as we mentioned above, they mostly enter through water damaged areas that could also become a doorway to other insects and rodents.

If you are invaded by silverfish, you shouldn’t worry that much about the direct damage you might suffer, but be aware of a potential one. Think of the future and take the chance to prevent a much bigger disaster from happening such as a full nest of mice in your walls or a swarm of cockroaches.


  • Store your food and old clothes in plastic containers as they cannot be penetrated by silverfish.
  • Carefully look for all possible entry points and seal them quickly to prevent other pests from coming in.
  • If the situation is going out of control, you can always book a professional silverfish exterminator with Fantastic Pest Control and save your family and home from the pesky silverfish.

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Consider that we give information about the possible reasons for silverfish to prefer your property but there might be many more that are less common.

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