Learning about silverfish – or any insect for that matter – will not only help make them less scary, but also help you keep them out of your home. Knowing why they act the way they do takes some of the mystery out of the equation. It also doesn’t hurt that some of the following silverfish facts are actually pretty interesting.


  • Silverfish are one of the most ancient insects on the planet. They even predate the dinosaurs by 100 million years, meaning they’ve been crawling around for more than 400 million years.
  • Even though they’ve been around for all that time, silverfish never developed wings. They make up for this lack of flight with their extreme speed. Their speed helps them dart for cover when exposed, keeping them safe from predators (like spiders) or even your shoe. They stay even safer by being most active at night.
  • When silverfish run, their bodies wiggle, resembling the swimming motion of a fish. This, and the fact that they have fish-like scales, is probably why this insect’s name sounds more like a fish.
  • Unlike most insects, silverfish continue to shed their skin well into adult life. This is why you can find their metallic-looking, silver scales in areas where they are most active. The scales are very thin, making them almost opaque. They stick to just about any surface, a great secondary sign of a silverfish problem – provided you know what you are looking for.
  • If you’re looking for silverfish, you’ll find them in moist, humid areas with little foot traffic and lots of food sources. These insects don’t require much water, but do need proteins, sugars and starches, which are mostly derived from things like newspapers, books, wallpaper, fabrics and even dead insects. In fact, outdoors, silverfish are important decomposers, helping with the natural circle of life in the ecosystem.
  • If you’re not looking for silverfish, you might stumble across them in the bathtub or sink. These places attract silverfish who are looking for a water source. Though it might seem like they are waiting for you or coming up the drain, porcelain (and similar bathroom surfaces) are hard for silverfish to climb up. Since they don’t have wings, they get stuck when they crawl in.
  • While it can take up to two years for a juvenile silverfish to become an adult, the insect has a relatively long lifespan when compared to other insects. Typically, silverfish live between three and six years, but can live up to eight if conditions are right.
  • Once a female silverfish reaches her adult stage, she can produce between two and 20 eggs every day for the rest of her life. These eggs are typically laid in protected areas, such as crevices, cracks and under carpeting or rugs.

Unfortunately, one fact about silverfish that isn’t fun is that they are fairly resistant to many insecticides. This is likely because they’ve been around for so long and have built up various tolerances. Regardless of what materials they can survive, one fact you can count on is that Terminix® knows how to get rid of silverfish. It takes a long history to beat an ancient insect like silverfish. Lucky for you, Terminix has just that.