What Do Silverfish Eat?

Silverfish Diet

These insects feed on many different materials and often enter homes in search of food. Silverfish eat starches and protein-rich items, including grains, vegetables, fibers, sugars and fabrics. The pests also feed on stored cereals and pet food. In fact, infesting these types of products is often how they are brought inside the house.

silverfish illustration

Problems for Collectors

While silverfish can infest any home, residents with book collections or vintage clothing and antiques are at high risk. The silverfish diet includes paper, glue, silk, and other textiles. When eating these items, the insects cause damage in the following ways:

  • Feeding - Any material within the silverfish diet is at risk. The pests leave dark stains and small holes in the items they eat.
  • Grazing - The insects often leave light gray spots when their jaws scrape across surfaces.
  • Mold - Fungal growth often leaves dark brown stains on objects with silverfish damage.
  • Debris - While feeding, the pests leave scales and waste inside books and fabric folds.

Climate and Location

The silverfish diet dictates where these pests live in homes. Because they prefer paper, fabric, and dry goods, they often hide in bookcases, boxes of paper and books, closets, and pantries. Homeowners who find silverfish damage should contact Orkin before an infestation can take hold and become large and widespread.