Updated: May 30, 2023

Silverfish are a common household pest that can be found in most parts of the world. These insects are known for their distinctive appearance and their ability to move quickly and effortlessly. However, many people wonder whether silverfish pose any danger to humans. In this article, we’ll explore the potential harm that silverfish can cause and what you should do if you encounter them.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that are silver or gray in color and have a distinct teardrop-shaped body. They are typically around 1/2 inch long and have two long antennae on their head and three long tail-like appendages on the end of their body. They are known for their quick movements, which allow them to easily evade predators.

Silverfish are nocturnal insects that prefer to live in dark, damp environments. They are commonly found in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the home where moisture is present. They feed on a variety of materials, including paper, glue, fabrics, and starchy foods.

Are Silverfish Harmful?

While silverfish may be unsightly and a nuisance to homeowners, they are generally not harmful to humans. Unlike other household pests like cockroaches or ants, silverfish do not carry disease or pose any significant health risks.

However, silverfish can cause damage to books, papers, and other items made of cellulose-based materials. They also have a tendency to chew on synthetic fabrics and carpets, which can result in unsightly damage. For these reasons, it’s important to take steps to prevent silverfish infestations in your home.

How to Prevent Silverfish Infestations

Preventing silverfish infestations is relatively easy if you take the right precautions. Here are some tips for keeping these pests out of your home:

  • Reduce humidity: Silverfish thrive in moist environments, so it’s important to keep your home dry. Use a dehumidifier in areas that tend to be damp, such as basements and bathrooms.
  • Seal cracks and gaps: Silverfish can enter your home through tiny cracks and gaps in the walls and floors. Seal these openings with caulk or weatherstripping to keep them out.
  • Store food properly: Silverfish are attracted to starchy foods like flour and cereal. Keep these items in airtight containers to prevent infestations.
  • Declutter your home: Silverfish love to hide in cluttered areas, so it’s important to keep your home tidy and organized.

If you do find silverfish in your home, there are several ways to get rid of them. You can use sticky traps or insecticides to eliminate them, or hire a professional pest control company to take care of the problem.


In summary, silverfish are generally not harmful to humans. While they can cause damage to household items, they do not carry disease or pose any significant health risks. However, it’s important to take steps to prevent silverfish infestations in your home by reducing humidity, sealing cracks and gaps, and storing food properly. If you do encounter silverfish, there are several methods for getting rid of them, including sticky traps and insecticides. By taking these precautions, you can keep your home free of these pesky insects and enjoy a healthier living environment.