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Where do silverfish come from?

Question: We have what I think are “silverfish.” How can I get rid of them forever? And where do they come from?

Answer: The household silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is rarely found in a natural setting. Usually, they live indoors. They are introduced to the environment in a number of ways, but can survive no matter what area of a house they end up in. Silverfish prefer to eat starchy foods, so it’s not a surprise to see them in the kitchen.

Silverfish picture

They don’t do much damage indoors, but they can be a nuisance and annoy people by their presence. They don’t carry any disease organisms, they don’t bite, and they generally stay out of the way.

It isn’t easy to control household silverfish. They move around a lot, which makes spraying less effective than treating for other household pests; thus, applying insecticides is not always effective.

I would recommend calling your local Orkin Branch Office. A highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist will inspect and assess the situation. The Specialist will develop a customized solution backed by science that best meets your needs.

Silverfish Illustration

Silverfish Illustration

Orkin used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by users:

  • Question: I put all my children’s papers from school in a plastic bin with a cover and kept it in my office. I just opened it and there are little tiny white flat bugs. I also sometimes find them in between papers on my desk, especially in things that have not been touched for a while. Are they just bugs that like the dark and like to hide?

  • Question: Please tell me what silverfish do to wallpaper and walls. My wallpaper is off the wall at all corners of the seams of my first floor bathroom and open at the seams, and now the corners of the kitchen wallpaper seams which is the room on the opposite side of that bathroom are lifting up. Thank you for help.

    Answer: They used to be a pest of wallpaper, but with modern glues (inorganic vs. the old wheat paste) silverfish don’t attack wallpaper very much anymore. There may be silverfish in these locations, but most likely there because of the harborage … they are there simply because it is a place to hide … not likely to consume the paste, unless it was the old-style paste—the new stuff is not a food source.

  • Question: What kind of bug looks like a little silver worm?

  • Question: I keep seeing these flat silver bugs in and around my bathroom what are they?

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