Provincial Pest Control

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Silverfish infestation in a home


Key Takeaways

  • Silverfish are small, wingless insects with a fish-like appearance, feeding on paper and paper products due to their high starch content.
  • Signs of a silverfish infestation include irregular holes in paper, yellow stains from molting, skin molts, and sightings of live silverfish.
  • Prevention measures for silverfish infestations include maintaining cleanliness, storing dry food in airtight containers, and eliminating moisture sources.
  • Cutting off access to food sources high in carbohydrates and moisture helps deter silverfish infestations.
  • For effective silverfish extermination, it’s advisable to seek professional pest control services like Provincial Pest Control (PPC) in Canada.


Have you been finding irregular holes on the pages of your books and other paper products you keep in your building? These holes may be caused by silverfish. Sometimes called bristletails or paper fish, these insects are a nightmare for homes and offices where books and other paper products are kept due to their feeding habits. While silverfish could not harm you directly, their presence in your building could cause damage to your belongings.

Keep reading to find out more about these insect pests, including signs of silverfish infestations and silverfish prevention and control.

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum) are small, wingless insects about one-half to one inch long. They are silver or gray with a body covered in tiny scales and an abdomen with three long appendages. The body is broadest at the head, and the abdomen tapers at the posterior end, giving the insect a fish-like look. In addition, the insects’ wiggling motion when moving around is somewhat similar to the movement of a fish. Thus, these insects’ silvery scales and appearance, coupled with their fish-like movement, inspire its common name.

The ‘saccharium’ in the scientific name of silverfish (as written in the former paragraph) speaks a volume about the insect’s diet consisting of saccharides (carbohydrate such as sugar and starches). With this in mind, silverfish love feasting on diets high in starches. They love making a meal out of paper and paper products and have voracious appetites for books, boxes, and other household materials with high starch content. Silverfish are nocturnal and can live for long (sometimes up to eight years).

What are the Signs of a Silverfish Infestation?

Silverfish leave behind evidence and damage that indicate their infestations inside homes or other buildings. So if you’re wondering if these destructive insect pests have invaded your space, you might want to check for the following signs for certainty:

  • Irregular holes in paper and paper products

Silverfish (also known as paper fish) love eating foods high in starch. In particular, they love feeding on paper, leaving fairly large holes on pages of books and smaller holes scattering around the edge of the larger hole they create.

They also cause significant damage to other paper products like newspapers, documents, comic books, and starchy items, including wallpaper, linens, clothing, and cardboard. Having holes on these items might indicate a silverfish infestation in your building.

  • Yellow stains on household materials

Silverfish tend to leave behind yellow dust or stains on infested areas in your building as they molt. You can look out for these yellow stains in books, papers, cardboard boxes, clothing, or other household materials that silverfish love to eat. They also leave behind their droppings or excrements (tiny, black pepper-like specks) around the areas they like to frequent. For example, Silverfish often dwell in the backs of furniture or the spaces beneath cupboards.

  • Skin molts

Silverfish go through several molts (shedding of skins) in their lifetime as they continue to grow, even after reaching adulthood. So finding silverfish’s skin molts (small, delicate, and transparent outer shells) around areas, they love to frequent is a good indication of their infestation in your building.

  • Seeing live and active silverfish

Stumbling upon a live silverfish in your building is the most obvious evidence that you have a silverfish infestation. While seeing a live silverfish could be difficult due to the insect’s nocturnal nature, you may get to find one if you know the right place to check (if already in your space).


Silverfish are known to live near a source of moisture and could often be found in areas in your building such as the sink, faucet, toilet, or bathtub. They are good hiders, and their small size allows them to quickly hide in narrow openings (like cracks and crevices) and easily slide under any object that could hide them away from being sighted by humans. However, a thorough inspection of their possible hideouts in your building could expose them and allow you to see them.

How Can I Prevent and Control a Silverfish Infestation?

There are a few helpful tips to prevent silverfish infestation on your belongings and in your building. The prevention tips could even help remove silverfish from home if the infestation is still in its early stage. The tips include:

  • Keep your home clean

A clean environment helps expose all the possible hiding places of all kinds of pests, including silverfish. When you keep a clean home, you’ll get to inspect for common signs of a silverfish infestation that’s about to occur in your home and do the needful. Frequent vacuuming or dusting of your home and household materials is a good practice for silverfish removal at the beginning of an infestation.

  • Keep your dry food and pet food in airtight containers

You already know that silverfish are voracious eaters and love to consume starchy products. Naturally, therefore, they come into your space primarily to search for food to survive.

Silverfish could also eat through boxes and some other household materials that people use to store their foods. If you keep items or foods they love to eat in your building; it’s best to secure them in airtight containers or plastic bags. Silverfish would find it hard to get into food stored in airtight items and could not eat through containers and plastic bags because these are not starchy products.

Since silverfish have an extraordinary appetite for paper and paper products, try to keep all paper and paper products you may have on a metal shelf. This would help keep your belongings safe from being fed on by silverfish.

  • Cut off access to their food sources

Silverfish majorly consume items that are high in carbohydrates. If you keep materials like old newspapers, piles of papers, wallpaper, and cardboard boxes in your home, it’s best to dispose of them quickly. Eliminating all possible silverfish food sources would help make your building less inviting to silverfish in search of food to eat. Also, try to eliminate piles of brush, dead plants, woodpiles, and leaves around your perimeter, as these can serve as external food sources to silverfish.

  • Cut off their access to moisture sources

Silverfish thrive well in moist areas or on wet clothing. Thus, denying them access to moisture in your building could help contain their infestation and population. Fix your leaky pipes and use air conditioners, heaters, fans, or dehumidifiers to dry out moist areas in your building consistently are reasonable preventive measures to take.

  • Call a pest control professional

Once the signs of a silverfish infestation are more evident in your building, it’s best to immediately involve a reliable pest control company. At this time, DIY tips found in many DIY sites might prove futile to handle your silverfish problem because a full-blown infestation is imminent. Therefore, Silverfish extermination is best left to a silverfish pest control company for the most effective results.Do you have pavement ant problems?

Silverfish Exterminator Near Me (Canada)

If you’re in Canada and need to remove silverfish from your home or office permanently, you should contact Provincial Pest Control (PPC).

Provincial Pest Control (PPC) is a reliable pest control company based in Canada. We provide effective silverfish bug treatment, silverfish removal, silverfish control, and customized treatment for silverfish in a home. We have pest control experts in Toronto, Ottawa, and other cities across Canada who have a firm understanding of the biology of silverfish and know the natural way to kill silverfish.

Moreover, we offer free pest inspection of over 30 pests in homes and commercial property, and same-day pest control recommendations on how best to treat your pest infestation problems. Call us for a free silverfish inspection of your residential or commercial building and same-day deployment of a customized treatment plan that’ll end your silverfish nightmare. Request for your free pest inspection here.


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