Do you love books? So do silverfish. In fact, they literally consume them. And while they’re difficult to see – and even harder to catch – there are, in fact, a few different types of silverfish that could be chewing through your library, letters and paperwork right now.


  • Lepisma saccharina is better known as the ‟common silverfish” and can be found near moisture in the lower floors of your home, particularly in basements and crawl spaces. They love high humidity and temperatures in the 70 to 80 degree Fahrenheit range. They have no unique markings to speak of, but are instead a uniform, silvery color thanks to their shiny, metallic scales. Common silverfish prefer proteins to carbohydrates and measure about one-half of an inch in length.
  • Ctenolepisma longicaudata is also known as the ‟gray silverfish.” It roams your entire house, from top to bottom, especially loving areas that have little foot traffic, such as basements, attics, closets and storage spaces. It’s no coincidence that many books and papers are stored in these spaces. These silverfish are more dullish-gray than silver, and measure approximately three-quarters of an inch in length. They are less particular in their choice of humidity than the common silverfish, but enjoy hotter environments, particularly between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. These types of silverfish feed on both animal and plant materials and are thought to obtain their moisture from the material they consume, rather than by drinking water.
  • Finally, Ctenollepisma quadriseriata is better known as the ‟four-lined silverfish.” This insect differs from other silverfish types in that it is tannish-gray in color and has four distinct lines made up of black (or sometimes dark and light gray) scales running down its back. Measuring one-half of an inch in length, the four-lined silverfish also enjoys a wide range of humidity, temperatures in the mid ‛80s, and roams throughout your entire home, preferring many of the same areas as the gray silverfish.

Many types of silverfish can live for years, sometimes surviving for weeks without food or water. Stop the presses on these book-munching insects, even if you’re only seeing the damage they leave behind. Call Terminix® and let the professionals with more than 85 years of experience controlling pests close the book on silverfish in your home.