Guide Other pests

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7. Silverfish


Silverfish are slender, wingless insects, shiny silver in appearance and can grow up to 20mm in length (from antennae to tail). They have three long bristle tails at the end of their body and a female can lay around 100 eggs over a two month period in cracks and crevices. They can be found in moist places such as kitchens and bathrooms, underneath floors, sinks, in cupboards, and along pipes where they hide during the day and feed during the night. They are extremely fast runners and are sometimes seen trapped in wash hand basins or baths where they are unable to climb out.


Silverfish are not considered a nuisance pest and are not a risk to human health. They may on occasion reach unacceptable numbers and are capable of damage by feeding on protein rich gums and binding pastes of books and wallpaper as well as fine textiles and leather. Damage often appears as irregular patches removed from wallpaper or irregular and notched edges on books and other paper products. Signs of silverfish activity include scales, excrement, or yellowish stains on paper or fabric.

How do I get rid of them?

  • You can prevent silverfish by making sure damp doesn't become an issue in your property; repair any leaks and ensure no moisture is trapped under flooring or exterior walls.
  • Clear up areas where there are old papers, magazines, books and cardboard boxes.
  • Restrict silverfish from moving to other areas by sealing any holes, cracks or gaps in places where they have been sighted.  
  • Apply an insecticide for crawling insects in and around the areas where silverfish are active and particular effort should be made to treat any cracks and crevices were silverfish may rest during the day.