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How To Deter Silverfish Naturally

Silverfish 2

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum) are small insects known for their silvery light grey color and fish-like appearance when they move. These nocturnal pests can cause various types of damage in your home, from destroying your favorite book to ruining your silk curtains. If you’re dealing with a silverfish infestation, you might be looking for natural, non-toxic ways to get rid of these pests. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need on how to deter silverfish naturally.


To deter silverfish naturally, you can use several methods: sprinkle diatomaceous earth or borax in areas where you’ve seen silverfish, place cinnamon, citrus peels, cucumber peels, or crushed dried bay leaves in infested areas, spread cedar shavings or cedar oil, or spray essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or basil mixed with water. Prevention is key, so maintain low humidity levels, keep your home clean and clutter-free, and seal any cracks in your home.

What are Silverfish?

Silverfish are wingless insects that measure between 13–25 mm (0.5–1.0 in) in length. They are attracted to carbohydrates such as sugar or starches and thrive in damp and humid environments. They’re often found behind furniture, in bookshelves, or damp basements.

Signs of a Silverfish Infestation

Being aware of the signs of a silverfish infestation can help you tackle the problem early. These signs can include seeing silverfish scurrying around, finding their small, round, black droppings, discovering their shed skin, noticing yellow stains or dust, and finding damage to household items like paper products, fabrics, and food items.

Potential Damages Caused by Silverfish

Silverfish can cause significant damage to your belongings and property. They can destroy fabrics, damage paper products, infest stored cereals, eat starched linens, and even cause allergic reactions in some people. If you see silverfish in your home, it could be a warning sign of water damage that is getting worse.

Natural Remedies to Deter Silverfish

Fortunately, there are several natural methods to deter silverfish from your home:

  1. Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle this substance around your baseboards, behind appliances, and beneath sinks to dehydrate and kill silverfish.
  2. Cinnamon: Place cinnamon in areas where you’ve seen silverfish. They are repelled by its presence.
  3. Citrus fruits: Place orange and lemon peels in infested areas and replace them regularly.
  4. Cucumber peels: Place cucumber peels in areas where you suspect silverfish might enter your house.
  5. Cedar shavings or cedar oil: Spread cedar shavings or oil in infested areas.
  6. Essential oils: Spray essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or basil mixed with water in areas where silverfish are active.
  7. Dried bay leaves: Crush bay leaves and place them in paths frequented by silverfish.
  8. Borax: Sprinkle borax in areas where you’ve seen silverfish to dehydrate and kill them.

Prevention is Key

To prevent a silverfish infestation in the first place, maintain low humidity levels, seal cracks and repair damage, keep your home clean and clutter-free, store dry food in sealed containers, remove items with adhesive, store clothes in a dry environment, and set up traps.

When to Seek Professional Help

If natural deterrents don’t work or if the infestation is severe, you might need to consider chemical control, professional pest control services, or using insecticides. However, remember to eliminate moisture and dampness in your home, as silverfish thrive in such environments.

In conclusion, dealing with a silverfish infestation can be a challenging task. However, by using these natural remedies and preventative measures, you can effectively deter silverfish from your home. Remember, the best defense against silverfish is a good offense. By maintaining a clean, dry, and clutter-free home, you can prevent these pests from taking up residence in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do silverfish eat?

Silverfish are primarily attracted to carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches. They can consume a variety of things such as book bindings, wallpaper glue, fabrics, carpets, and even some foods like cereals and sugar.

Are silverfish harmful to humans?

Silverfish are not known to cause harm to humans. They don’t bite or sting, and they are not known to transmit diseases. However, some people might have allergic reactions to silverfish. Plus, they can cause significant damage to your belongings and property.

Can silverfish swim?

Despite their name, silverfish cannot swim. The term “silverfish” is derived from their silvery light grey color and the fish-like appearance of their movements.

How long do silverfish live?

Silverfish can live for a long time compared to other insects. On average, they can live between 2 to 8 years.

What attracts silverfish to my home?

Silverfish are attracted to damp, humid environments. They can be found in areas of the home that are often moist, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements. They are also attracted to paper and damp clothing.

Can I use vinegar to kill silverfish?

Yes, you can use vinegar to kill silverfish. A mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can be sprayed directly onto silverfish to kill them. However, vinegar is a contact killer, which means it only kills silverfish that it directly touches. It won’t eliminate a silverfish infestation.

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