Updated: June 9, 2023

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that are commonly found in homes and other buildings. They are known for their silvery appearance and their ability to move quickly across surfaces. Understanding the life cycle of silverfish can help homeowners identify and prevent infestations.

Egg Stage

The life cycle of a silverfish begins when a female lays her eggs. Silverfish females lay their eggs in small crevices and cracks, such as behind baseboards or in the folds of wallpaper. The eggs are small, white, and oval-shaped. It takes approximately two weeks for the eggs to hatch into nymphs.

Nymph Stage

When the silverfish eggs hatch, they emerge as nymphs. Nymphs are miniature versions of adult silverfish, but they lack wings and reproductive organs. They have soft bodies and are white in color, but they soon develop their characteristic silvery scales as they grow older.

During the nymph stage, silverfish molt several times as they grow larger. Molting is the process by which an insect sheds its exoskeleton. After molting, the new exoskeleton hardens over the course of several hours. Silverfish nymphs can molt up to 60 times before they reach adulthood.

Adult Stage

After several months, silverfish reach adulthood. Adult silverfish have a distinctive teardrop-shaped body that measures approximately ½ inch long. They are light gray or silver in color and have two long antennae on their heads. Adult silverfish have six legs and two long bristles at the end of their abdomens.

Once they reach adulthood, silverfish can live for up to three years. During this time, they continue to breed and lay eggs, perpetuating the life cycle of the species.

Environmental Factors

The life cycle of silverfish is influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, and food availability. Silverfish prefer warm, humid environments and are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. They feed on a variety of materials, including paper, glue, fabrics, and starches.

If the environment is favorable, silverfish can reproduce quickly and infestations can become a problem. Homeowners can take steps to prevent silverfish infestations by keeping their homes clean and dry, sealing cracks and crevices where silverfish may enter, and storing food items in airtight containers.


In conclusion, the life cycle of silverfish is a fascinating process that highlights the resilience of these insects. From egg to adult, silverfish undergo several stages of development that are influenced by environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and food availability. By understanding the life cycle of silverfish, homeowners can take steps to prevent infestations and protect their homes from damage.