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How to Get Rid of Silverfish

These tiny silver-gray wingless insects grow to 1/2 inch long and seek dark, warm, moist environments, such as attics, closets, and baseboards and around bathroom fixtures. Named for their coating of tiny, silvery scales, these bugs like to eat starch from wallpaper, books, and fabric. Signs of silverfish damage include uneven holes in paper as well as small yellow stains on fabric.


Treat the cracks and crevices wherever the pests seem to be entering. Never apply pesticides or other chemicals directly to paper or textiles, which could be damaged.

Ant and roach sprays are an effective treatment; follow manufacturer's instructions.

Boric acid dust, which is long lasting and low in toxicity, can also be helpful, but is not as easy to apply to crevices as a spray. It is available at hardware stores and home centers.

Isolate valuable objects until you are sure they are completely free of infestation. For example, wrap books or textiles in clear polyethylene sheeting and carefully seal them with tape. If after two or three weeks no evidence of insect activity is present, the object can be displayed or stored with the rest of your collection.