What are silverfish?

Silverfish are harmless insects which are commonly found throughout the world. They get their name due to their shining silver/grey scales, lack of wings and three bristles to the tail.

Silverfish like damp conditions, so are often found in kitchens and bathrooms. Silverfish can walk up surfaces that are rough, such as wallpaper, but are unable to walk up smooth surfaces such as glass. Because of this they can often be found trapped in baths and basins.

Silverfish are nocturnal and dislike the light. During the day they hide in cracks, behind wallpaper and under floor coverings.

Life cycle

A female silverfish can lay up to 100 eggs, usually in cracks and under objects. These are white and smooth at first, but then become brown and wrinkled. The young silverfish are white in colour, but at three months grow scales and turn silver. A typical silverfish can live up to three and a half years.

Can silverfish cause any damage?

Silverfish cause very little harm, although their presence can be upsetting. They can feed off wallpaper paste, or dried food in damp cupboards.

Date of last review: 01 September 2015