Silverfish normally live outdoors in the soil, but they may occasionally enter homes and buildings in search of food. These insects are known to cause damage to household items such as books, paper products, and clothing. They can also contaminate food and cause allergies in some people.

Because silverfish move extremely fast and can hide in tight spaces, they are quite difficult to catch.


Lepisma saccharinum

Silverfish are primitive, wingless insects that get their name from their silvery-gray color and their fish-like wiggling motions.

These pests are mostly active at night. During the day, they like to hide in warm, concealed areas with high humidity.

Silverfish can feed on a variety of materials and foods, but they are particularly voracious when it comes to items containing starches, glue, and cellulose (like papers, books, and wallpaper). This makes them a common pest in schools, libraries, and museums.


Size: 1/2″ – 1″ long (13 – 25 mm); about the length of a grape

Color: Silvery-gray or brown

Shape: Carrot-shaped body with long antennae, 6 short legs, and 3 tail-like appendages

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 short legs; moves extremely quickly with wiggling, fish-like motions

Antennae: Thin, flexible antennae that are as long as its body

Head: Wide head with 2 small compound eyes on opposite sides

Body: Elongated carrot-shaped body covered in silvery scales that tapers at the rear; look for its 3 thin, tail-like appendages