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Silverfish don't have a very good reputation with most people. They are perceived as annoying and disgusting. But are the urine insects that have inhabited our planet for more than 300 million years also dangerous? Do they even bite? And what are the causes of a silverfish infestation? In this guide you will receive clear and detailed answers to the important questions.


Causes of Silverfish Visiting

If you meet a single little fish every now and then, it usually doesn't mean anything. Nevertheless, it is advisable to check the characteristics of various parameters and, if necessary, to take countermeasures. Silverfish like two things in particular: warmth and moisture.


Too warm rooms

Like humans, the silverfish prefers to be in pleasantly warm areas. Constant temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius offer the insect good conditions for foraging and reproduction. In this respect, one should be careful not to overdo the heating. Then there is a good chance that the little fish will stay away.


Too humid rooms

In addition to heat, moisture also plays an essential role. Silverfish depend on humid zones to feel comfortable and to be able to reproduce. That's why they prefer to appear in the bathroom, the toilet or in the kitchen. It is important to ventilate all rooms regularly in order to conduct moisture to the outside and to prevent insects from moving in and/or multiplying.

lack of hygiene

Lack of hygiene

Silverfish are happy if there is an increased amount of dust, hair, dander or mites in the household. The elements mentioned are among the revered favorite foods of insects. Insects are attracted to unsanitary conditions. Accordingly, you should always use vacuum cleaners, Swiffer and Co. to keep your home clean.


Cracks and leaking walls

Silverfish measure just two centimeters - including the characteristic antennae at the front and back. They easily fit through small cracks. Even leaky walls, which are typical in old buildings, do not pose any serious obstacles for the crawling silverlings. Anyone who discovers holes in joints should seal them with silicone as quickly as possible.

Notice: Such holes also serve as a retreat for the light-shy little fish during the day and as breeding grounds for their eggs.

Seal cracks to prevent silverfish from entering


In fact, it can also be pure coincidence that a little fish got lost in your home of all places. Possibly it "originally" came from the neighbor and came to you through leaky walls or old pipes to see what's there. If it doesn't find what it is longing for in your home, you will certainly get rid of the insect very quickly.

Notice: “Piping” is a good keyword. Silverfish in Central Europe only settle in the sewers, which they often use to gain access to houses. Outside it would be too cold for the insects.


Silverfish - not dangerous, but harmful

The causes of silverfish in your home can therefore be of different nature. Of course, the question inevitably arises as to whether the insects and their eggs are in any way dangerous or even poisonous. No, that's not the case, we can anticipate that much right away. Nevertheless, you should be on your guard, because other types of damage are conceivable.

No health hazard

Silverfish do not pose a health risk to humans or pets such as cats and dogs. Scientific research has shown that the insects do not transmit pathogens. They don't bite either. In this respect, you do not have to worry too much if you come across a shiny silver animal when you go to the toilet at night or if you even come into direct contact with it.

However, the little fish are not absolutely harmless either. It is true that they cannot directly harm people or pets. But they have the ability and desire to make some possessions of it their own.

Clothing and books for fodder

Unlike most other creatures, silverfish are able to digest cellulose, which is contained in the fabrics of clothing or wallpaper, for example. In this respect, the insects really like nibbling on your T-shirts, blouses, shirts, trousers and skirts. It doesn't matter whether the item of clothing is made of cotton, linen or silk: every fabric tastes good - but only if it's in a damp bathroom or washroom.

Tip: You can tell that a silverfish has probably attacked your clothing by the black traces of faeces and yellowish discolouration, which you cannot explain in any other way.

Unfortunately, silverfish also enjoy literature and eat paper

Paper also contains cellulose. Accordingly, silverfish do not shy away from books by well-known authors. They tamper with it unashamedly and destroy the pages or - most preferably - the cover. However, the insects only enjoy their precious literature if it has had to spend a longer period of time in a damp environment and reveals corresponding traces. Otherwise, the little fish are less interested in the art of writing.

Interest in sugary foods

However, silverfish are not entirely satisfied with strange fare such as clothing, wallpaper and books. They also target certain "right" foods. Products containing sugar and starch should be given priority. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that a silverfish will occasionally sneak into your pantry to look for suitable food. The little fish also sometimes like the food in the bowl of dogs and cats.

Usefulness of the Silverfish

Silverfish - harmful, but also useful

Despite their uncharming behavior towards appetizing human-possessed clothing, books, and food, it would be wrong to clearly label silverfish as vermin. In fact, the animals also have some useful properties that can even be beneficial to human health.

Dust mites don't stand a chance

Dust mites are high on the silverfish diet. This is an advantage for people who are allergic to the mites or their droppings. In addition, the little fish clean the ground to a certain extent by eating the hair and dead skin of the two-legged inhabitants that have fallen off.

Little mold fighters

If you have mold on your walls, you can also “benefit” from silverfish. The insects find the mushroom extremely tasty and thus reduce any mold infestation, which can be proven to be harmful to the health of Homo sapiens.

Silverfish as a warning signal

In connection with the silverfish's enthusiasm for mold, an increased occurrence of the small insects can also be interpreted as a warning signal. In other words: if you suddenly have a lot of little fish in your home, this often indicates a mold infestation. As a result, you should check your walls for signs of mold and, if necessary, hire a professional company to remove the fungus.


Be careful with countermeasures

Especially when there is an increased occurrence of silverfish, one logically strives to put an end to the unwanted activities as quickly as possible. For this purpose there are now a number of remedies that promise quick help against the adult insects and their laid eggs. However, these are usually chemicals that are not always the best choice. If you have cats or dogs at home, you should definitely refrain from using such utensils.

Bait cans harm pets

Insect sprays and bait cans can now be found in numerous supermarkets and drugstores - including those that are supposed to help against silverfish. However, these products contain chemical substances, some of which also attract dogs and cats, encourage them to lick and bite, and can harm beloved pets because they are poisonous. It is therefore advisable to refrain from using chemical clubs if you share your home with four-legged friends. The same applies if you have small, incompetent children in the house.

Safe alternatives

There are enough alternatives available that are chemical-free and can therefore be used without hesitation. In this article we describe many home remedies that have proven themselves in the fight against the fish.

Proven home remedies to control silverfish


The most important information is that silverfish are basically not dangerous. Nevertheless, you should get to the bottom of a stronger plague of fish - possibly a harmful mold is behind it. In some cases it may even make sense to tolerate one or two silverfish - for example in the case of an allergy to house dust mites.

If you want to get rid of the shiny silver insects, it is advisable not to use chemical agents such as insect sprays or bait cans - especially if you live with pets and/or small children. Instead, use a variant that is as harmless as possible for everyone involved in order to keep the little fish away from your living space in the future.

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