I recently moved to an apartment near the ocean and the air is more humid/moist than any of my previous homes. I've noticed that at night a few silverfish always come out in my bathroom (linoleum floors) and when I try to catch them, the would often escape through the crack between the wall and the floor.

I did some research and found that diatamaceous earth is a non-toxic material that helps with the control of these little guys. I bought some and laid down this fine dust along the floor boards of my bathroom. However, this didn't do that much to control the silverfish.

I recently found a couple of babies inside a framed print! I've also seen some on the carpet in the apartment (I might see more, but the carpet camouflages them a bit!).

What is the best way to control these pests short of fumigating the whole place?

(n.b. I have a cat and a newborn in the apartment)

  • 1
    My experience is that silverfish are like cockroaches. If you put down poison, they may leave for a while and live at your neighbour's place. But once the poison goes away (as they all will) they return.
    – shufler
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:01
  • Amen to that @shufler.
    – milesmeow
    Dec 1, 2011 at 1:40
  • @shufler In that case maybe a more thorough application, or an application in different places, of diatomaceous earth might be best. It's not a poison that will dissipate, so it'll always be there. Jun 15, 2016 at 5:57
  • @pacoverflow sure, that would work better than poison. What i'm saying is if you don't get them all they will be back and even though you are treating your residence they could be living elsewhere, far from your pest control methods.
    – shufler
    Jun 15, 2016 at 19:31

5 Answers 5


Silverfish like cool, damp locations and feed on paper and other starchy materials. If the source of your silverfish problem is a crawlspace you might improve things by laying down heavy plastic sheeting over the ground and making sure it's properly vented to reduce moisture a little. Otherwise, silverfish are very annoying but basically harmless (except to your valuable books/documents- keep them sealed up).


I'd fill the crack(s) with caulking first off. Depending how damp it is, a dehumidifier may dry things out and make it less desirable.

Make sure you aren't leaving wet towels and rags around, especially on the floor.

If they are getting in your carpet, make sure you are vacuuming regularly.


My experience is this. One exterminator said getting rid of them "is a process". Another told me they need to come out on a regular basis to get rid of them. iirc, that was every six months. The cost was maybe $100.

Another exterminator told me the attic is the best hiding place for them and that needs to have a bomb placed there so the powder gets into everything to kill them. Then the corners of the room need to be sprayed. The poison itself is not really dangerous to humans and even drinking it would only give you an upset stomach.

None of the diy baiting things with borax/sugar worked for me. I recently bought a small home to be used as an office and I will be calling someone out to work on this after we get some remodeling done.

In case anyone is concerned, silverfish do not carry any diseases.

EDIT: Since making this answer, I found a solution that is the only one that has worked for me. Nuvan Pro Strips. Available online, I put three of these in my attic and have not had any issues with silverfish for three years.

  • What is this poison that you could drink with only a mild adverse effect? Jun 15, 2016 at 5:59
  • @pacoverflow I don't know. Whatever that exterminator used.
    – Rob
    Jun 15, 2016 at 11:30
  • Hot Shot No-Pest Strips might be a cheaper alternative to Nuvan, and they have the exact same active ingredient. May 7, 2019 at 6:06
  • Sadly the Hot Shot No-Pest Strips have failed. Two months after putting them in my attic, I still see silverfish. Aug 2, 2020 at 5:54
  • @pacoverflow See my edit about the Nuvan Pro Strips. Eight years later, I still have no silverfish. Or any other bugs in the attic for that matter.
    – Rob
    Aug 2, 2020 at 12:32

I've tried poison to no avail and it's expensive but I've also used a paper trap with some sort of adhesive. I suppose the silverfish should stick on it and die of hunger. I've bought a couple of the traps and I think it was cheaper and probably it's more sustainable but I also think that you cannot terminate them all because of the crack.


I recommend you purchase (Silverfish Paks). Ask your pest control person to get you a box or get them online. They are cheap ($8.50 for a box) and I have personally used them in my own house when the wife said she was seeing Silverfish in our pots and pan cabinet. We just put a couple of the packs in the cabinet and waited one week. We have not seen one in the last 6 months. I was optimistic that they would work because I have been in pest control for 23 years and I am surprised they worked so well.

  • 1
    A couple months ago, I saw a couple silverfish on the floor in the bathroom. I put one of those Dekko silverfish packs on the floor where I saw them. That pack has not been touched by a silverfish at all, and there are silverfish crawling on the floor, walls, and ceiling daily. Aug 3, 2016 at 7:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.