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Are Silverfish Dangerous?

What Is A Silverfish?

If you are seeing these creepy, stranger-than-strange looking creatures lurking in warm, dark places in your home, such as near your oven or furnace, or by your dryer or inside your bathroom, you may be wondering about whether or not they are dangerous. The answer is yes, and no.

Silverfish get their name because of their often silver, and perhaps because of the way they slither across surfaces is reminiscent of the way a fish moves through water. Silverfish are flat, have a teardrop shape, and have three thread-like tails at the top of their abdomen. They are also covered in slippery, flexible scales that serve to protect these creepy insects from other insects.

a silverfish crawling on a surface inside of a home in pennsylvania

How Are Silverfish Dangerous?

These slimy creatures are dangerous to old photos. If you have photos stored away in a box somewhere, and you have silverfish, those photos could be in danger and, subsequently, you could be in danger of losing the memories that those old photos hold.


These creepy insects love to eat the glue that holds wallpaper to walls. This means that they are dangerous to wallpaper. And if you do not appreciate unsightly areas of deterioration, and you end up having to re-wallpaper, or paint, silverfish will also be dangerous to your wallet.


Silverfish won't differentiate between a book you don't particularly care about, and treasured or expensive books that you have stored away in your home. It is no fun to discover that treasured keepsakes have been damaged by insects that will eat away at the glue that holds them together. If you have books that you value, it is not a good idea to allow silverfish to remain in your home.


These alien-looking insects love to  feed on fabrics, whether it is a favorite blouse or antique wedding dress or bedding such as blankets and pillow cases. Silverfish love to nibble on fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk, and they have been known to eat certain synthetic fibers, and even leather. They are especially drawn to adhesives and starches found in clothing. as well as clothing that has food stains or spills. If you would rather not find holes in your fabric items, then having silverfish removed is important.


While these slimy critters aren't likely to contaminate foods, they can be damaging to paper and cardboard packaging. Some foods they are drawn to include coffee, sugar and any food that is high in carbohydrates. And while eating a silverfish won't kill you, it is probably something you would prefer to avoid.

Silverfish Are Not Directly Harmful To Humans

These scary-looking insects do not crawl in people's ears and lay eggs, as earwigs are rumored to do. They will not burrow into people's brains, as earwigs are also rumored to do (This is a myth, by the way). Moreover, silverfish do not bite or sting or carry diseases, but they do, however, crawl on people in order to eat dandruff; this is not a pleasant experience, for sure.

If you would rather not have to deal with eradicating silverfish, consider the following prevention tips:

  • Seal up any gaps and cracks found in your foundation or outside walls by using a caulking gun or other patching material.

  • Seal up around windows and doors and where pipes, wires, air conditioning units or other items enter through your foundation or walls.

  • Replace mulch with dry materials such as crushed rock. Silverfish love moist materials.

  • Replace or install door sweeps and make certain that they make a good connection all the way across.

  • Check for water-damaged areas on your home and have them properly repaired. It doesn't take much of a gap for silverfish to get in.

  • Make sure your gutters are working properly, not clogged, and channeling water well away from your home.

While keeping silverfish and other household pests out of your home can be done using do-it-yourself methods, the best course of action is to employ reliable pest control services from a professional pest control company. If you are seeing silverfish inside your home or business, reach out to Moyer Pest Control for immediate assistance.

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