Pest Problems

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in Drains

At first glance, silverfish seem like they came from outer space. They have the typical shape of an invader from a space opera, and if you are squeamish to bugs, it’s going to be unpleasant even looking at them. Silverfish might seem like they come out in certain seasons, but the truth is they are an all-year-round pest. If your house offers the right conditions (and in most times it does), your place will be constantly infested.

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In this blog post, the Fantastic Services team will explain why your house has become a breeding ground for these pesky insects, where you could find them and how to get rid of silverfish for good. They usually come into the house from the drains. So, this is for all of you who have noticed a silverfish emerging from the drain.

What are silverfish?

Another name for silverfish is “fishmoth”. They have nothing in common with fish though. Their colour varies from pale to dark silver and they have antennae and prongs on their tails.  Silverfish breed very fast, so if you notice one, you can be sure there are a lot more hiding from view.

What attracts silverfish to your place?

The things that mostly attract silverfish to your property is moisture and starch. They adore dark and damp places, which is why it’s very common to see them emerging from the drains. A bathroom is humid, so your bathtub drain, your sink drain, and your shower drain are a welcoming entrance into your house.

Are silverfish harmful?

Fortunately for you, silverfish are completely harmless. They aren’t known to spread any diseases to humans, or pets. They don’t bite or spray any toxins. They like to nibble on starchy materials but aren’t known to cause any property damage as moths do for example. All in all, they’re only a nuisance.

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Signs of silverfish

It’s not hard to realise you have a silverfish infestation. Depending on the size of their colony, you’ll notice the following signs.

  • Silverfish droppings. If you have silverfish in your drain, you might be able to notice their droppings in the bathroom and around the kitchen sink. They resemble tiny specks of pepper and can easily be missed if the infestation is too small.
  • Shed skin. Silverfish shed their skin and it’s not impossible to spot their discarded shells. You would have to take it into your hand and examine it properly though. That’s not for the squeamish ones.
  • Live silverfish. In the end, the best way to know you have a silverfish infestation is to spot a live one. They’re easy to recognise, as very few bugs crawl with their speed.

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How to get rid of silverfish in drains

Now that you know silverfish are coming out of your drains, it’s time to do something about it. Here are the most effective ways to get rid of a silverfish infestation.

  1. Fix leaky pipes

    Broken drains and leaky pipes attract silverfish the most. Make sure to inspect your piping system regularly and fix whenever you notice a problem. Not only will you keep the silverfish away, but you’ll also extend the life of your piping system, which would spare you an array of other maintenance problems.

  2. Add sticky traps around drains and pipes

    You can make your own silverfish trap with sticky tape, or you can buy a silverfish trap from your local home improvement store. The silverfish will walk onto the trap and die. After that, you should immediately dispose of it and replace it with a new one.

  3. Use insecticides

    Spray a commercial anti-pest product around the drains and pipes. Make sure the surface is not wet, otherwise the substance will get pasty and the silverfish will avoid it. Do the same around cracks and crevices that would be an easy spot for the silverfish to hide.

  4. Use diatomaceous earth around the drains

    Diatomaceous Earth is a white crumbly powder consisting of the fossilized remains of diatoms. When silverfish come in contact with diatomaceous earth, they lose the waxy coating of their exoskeleton, become dehydrated and die. And once the environment becomes this hostile, you can be sure the rest will slowly leave your place.

Where else can you spot silverfish

  • In the basement. Basements are dark and humid places, so the silverfish love them.
  • In the kitchen. The drain offers an easy entry point to the kitchen which is also a source of starchy food.
  • In the attic. Most attics are full of clutter, many of which are cardboard boxes, so silverfish won’t miss the chance to invade.

How to prevent silverfish from coming back

If you ever notice silverfish in other places, you should immediately do something about it so you don’t let their colony grow. Or if you managed to drive them away, you should make sure they won’t come back. After all, if your house is an unpleasant habitat, they won’t set foot in it.

  1. Dehumidify your home. Your best bet is to reduce the humidity of your home. If you don’t already own a dehumidifier, then this is a good reason to buy one. Protecting you from a new silverfish infestation is just one of the benefits you will get.
  2. Caulk all cracks and crevices. Make a thorough inspection of your walls. If you see cracks or any other crevice that is big enough to hide a single silverfish, caulk it. This way you’ll be eliminating their hiding spots. When silverfish have nowhere to hide, they will avoid your place at all cost.
  3. Don’t leave food out in the open. Silverfish not only enjoy free food like any other animal but also the more food you leave outside, the more cluttered the environment becomes. And they love it. So, always wash your dishes, don’t keep anything starchy out in the open and make sure there are no food crumbs left around.
  4. Put away paper and cardboard. If you have a pile of books in your attic or any old cardboard boxes you put away for your next move, you can be sure the silverfish would go for them. Place them in a vacuum-tight plastic bags, or you can always give them away to friends or family.
  5. Check your wallpapers. Old wallpaper that seems to be peeling from the wall is a great spot for silverfish to hide. This might be the time to change it, or better yet, remove it altogether and repaint your room.
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Rely on professional pest controllers

As you’ve learned already, silverfish don’t a present danger to your health or home, but if their population grows, they can become a serious nuisance. The ones that only lived in your drains would probably find other hiding spots and breed uncontrollably until there is no room without them present.

If this happens, you will need to employ professionals to put the situation under control. The reliable pest control team from Fantastic Services is always here to aid you!

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  • Silverfish invade your home because they have found a nice dark and damp place for a breeding ground;
  • Silverfish not only use your drains to thrive, but the pipes also provide them with easy access to your bathroom and especially the kitchen, where they can find food;
  • To get rid of silverfish in your drains, you need to make some traps and rely heavily on prevention methods.

Bug infestations of any kind are an unpleasant sight, so it’s important to do something about them as soon as you notice the first signs. Prevention is always the best medicine, so don’t wait until the situation goes out of control. Or, if you don’t have the time or desire for it, you can always rely on professional pest controllers.


Have you ever had a silverfish infestation? How did you manage it? Or do you have one now? Ask your questions in the comments!

Image source: Shutterstock / JorgeOrtiz_1976

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